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PRESS RELEASE for immediate release
Permission to reprint granted.
Forward to relevant persons.

Fred Phelps, well-known anti-gay activist, the Reverend of the Westboro Baptist Church, and the mind behind the very controversial website http://www.GodHatesFags.com has decided to bring his hateful propoganda to Oberlin College. Oberlin, situated in northeastern Ohio, is known for being among the first colleges in America to let women and African-Americans through its doors, and famous for its progressive attitudes toward minorities of nearly all kinds. Phelps and his congregation, which consists mostly of his family, will come to Oberlin+s Tappan Square at the corner of Main and Lorain Streets on May 9th.

They intend to protest the college+s hiring of openly gay athletic director, Michael Muska, as well as Oberlin+s generally liberal views on the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered communities. Many of Oberlin+s have joined together in response to this by planning a party in the Square on that day. Food and drink will be served under the slogan "Fun, Not Phelps". Many bands, some from the college+s world-famous Conservatory of Music, and other performers will be there.

The following is excerpted from the website: http://www.GodHatesFags.com : April 26, 2000

WBC to picket Oberlin College in Ohio in religious protest/warning that God Hates Fags, May 9 at noon

This college in Oberlin, Ohio (near Cleveland), has hired a filthy fag (Mike Muska) as Athletic Director. The story below, taken from a fag magazine in Phoenix, demonstrates how the sodomites are crowing about it. For 40 years (1835 to 1875) Oberlin's president was the great Bible preacher and revivalist, Charles G. Finney. Pastor Finney must be spinning in his grave, that Oberlin college has now been overrun by semen-drinking sodomites. Under pro-gay president Nancy Dye, the dog is eating his own vomit and sows wallowing in feces. 2 Peter 2:22.

Oberlin touts filthy, destructive lifestyle

The show of their countenance doth witness against them, and they declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not. Isa. 3:9. Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? Nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush. Jer. 6:15. Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, giving themselves over to fornication and going after strange flesh, are set forth an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. Jude 7. Shame on Oberlin -- a vile stinky leper colony.

WBC warns anal/oral copulating Oberlin

The mission team from Westboro Baptist Church will conduct this religious street service to educate and warn Oberlin to repent and flee God+s wrath to come (Lk. 3:7) at Lorraine & Main, 12:30 p.m.

Beelzebub, King of Sodom Chancellor of Oberlin College

The college+s official response on this matter, from President Nancy Dye, is below.

This is the message received by Oberlin College students over e-mail:

This message is being sent out at the request of the President's Office. Please do not reply directly to this message.


May 5, 2000

To The Oberlin College Community

I write to let you know that about a dozen members of a Topeka, Kansas, group that calls itself the Westboro Baptist Church and is headed by Fred Phelps, have announced that they are coming to Oberlin on Tuesday, May 9, from 12:00-1:00pm. The purpose of their visit is to demonstrate against Oberlin College's openness to and acceptance of homosexuality. This protest will occur only on the public sidewalk at the northeast corner of Tappan Square.

The group, which reportedly has no connection or formal relationship to any Christian denomination, has protested at many other colleges and universities over the past few years. While its members have been generally law-abiding, their protests include hateful messages and provocative language in an attempt to incite onlookers to lose their tempers and assult the Westboro Church members. I urge all members of the Oberlin community not to attempt to engage the demonstrators: this is exactly what they want you to do, so please keep cool!

The Dean of Students Office and the Office of Chaplains have been in conversation with students and others about an appropriate response should this event take place. At this writing, I understand that the Chaplains' Office, the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered Union, and the Multicultural Resource Center are sponsoring a picnic and music at the bandstand on Tappan Square during the noon hour on May 9. Members of the Dean of Students Office, the Chaplains' Office, and staff of the Counseling Center will be available at the event to speak with anyone who wishes, and will be in Wilder Hall at 1:00pm to speak with interested members of the coummunity.

Let's use this occasion to celebrate our diverse community, every one of whose members is cherished.

Nancy S. Dye

College's Official Statement:
for immediate release

On Tuesday, May 9, Fred Phelps creator of the "God Hates Fags" website, will visit Oberlin College and speak on Tappan Square. Mr. Phelps is a professional hatemonger who makes a profit from goading opponents into action and then suing them. He is at Oberlin to make good on a protest against the hiring of our openly gay athletic director. We, the Oberlin Community, recognize the First Amendment right of Fred Phelps to spread his message of hate and oppression. We are under no obligation to listen to, hear, or otherwise give credence to his views. The Christian community at Oberlin views it as a special affront. Rev. Steve Hammond has this to say: I find it particularly painful that Rev. Phelps calls himself a Christian.

I hope everyone in the community, especially the people who are the targets of his hate, will realize that his message has nothing to do with Christianity. People from our congregation and other churches in town will be on Tappan Square to express our opposition to Fred Phelps' distorted view of the gospel. Rev. Hammond will join the community of Oberlin, both college and town, on Tuesday in a day of peace and love on Tappan Square, as a visible protest against the rhetoric of hate and violence. Our goal is not to engage Mr. Phelps but instead to provide a positive alternative that allows LGBT people and their allies to show their support for a hate-free environment. There will be no anti-Phelps protest but instead games, music, and performance art designed to discredit Mr. Phelps and his message. We feel the best way to combat hatred is through this kind of positive action. The First Baptist Church at 44 E Lorain St and pastored by Steve and Mary Hammond will be open from 11:30 to 12:30 for prayer and meditation.

Allison Moon at allison.moon@oberlin.edu
Channing Joseph at channing.joseph@oberlin.edu
Tori McReynolds at tori.mcreynolds@oberlin.edu


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