Westboro Baptist Church to Protest Gay-Friendly Ohio State University

The controversial Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) has announced plans to return to Ohio State University, the largest American university campus and one of the most gay-friendly, on Oct. 25 for the second time in two years, alleging that "God hates" the college for its inclusiveness.

The religious group, known for its flashy anti-gay protests and stunts at military funerals, among other controversial activity, previously visited OSU's campus on Oct. 4, 2010.

During that 2010 protest, WBC gave this reason for its visit:

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"These college students spend more time pursuing their drunken sins than their academic studies. Their professors happily teach them the ubiquitous lie that 'it's OK to be gay' and its [sic] just fine to flip off God and mock His servants."

This time, the group posted a more vague statement on its infamous website,

"You foolish smart guys have brought this nation to her knees with your lightness and lies and rebellion," the protest announcement states. "You think you are smarter than God, but he has turned your wisdom into foolishness. … God hates fags. God hates fag enablers! Therefore, God hates Ohio State University, the State of Ohio and the United States of Doomed america [sic]."

WBC declared it will greet the new class coming to the university. It referred again to the university's general tolerance and inclusiveness of gays.

Last year, OSU was declared one of the nation's top gay-friendly campuses by US News & World Report.

OSU spokesman Jim Lynch said in a statement that college campuses like Ohio State have long been a place for "crusaders who want to express their first amendment rights to free speech," reported campus newspaper The Lantern.

"Westboro Baptists have visited Ohio State several times and we are familiar with their efforts across the country," Lynch said.

He added that OSU students know they attend a very inclusive campus "that rejects any form of prejudice, exclusion or disrespect."

"A brief visit by this group will in no way sidetrack our university's long-standing values of diversity and inclusion," the statement read.

WBC's leader, Timothy Phelps, told The Lantern that the church is concerned about more states potentially following New York in legalizing gay marriage.

Meanwhile, New York's governor Andrew Cuomo signed a new law Monday, which will limit WBC's ability to protest at military funerals in that state. According to the new law, no protests will be allowed within 300 feet of a funeral taking place.

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