Anyone interested in picketing some picketers? We want to make sure the UK graduates know this day is about THEM and not about a hateful non-Christian message!! :)
Anti-gay church to picket graduation ceremony at Rupp
by Alice Haymon
Issue date: 4/30/07
In an effort to convince Kentuckians of America's damnation, members of an extreme religious organization plan to picket UK's graduation commencement ceremony on Sunday.The protesters from Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan. will be holding signs displaying messages such as "America is doomed," "God hates fags" and "Thank God for the shooter," in reference to the Virginia Tech attacks, said Shirley Phelps-Roper, a church representative. They have been peacefully picketing around the nation for the last 16 years because they are opposed to the message American Christians generally teach - the lesson that God loves everyone."We are trying to help this nation connect back," Phelps-Roper said. "These children have been taught defiance against God, and now these children are dying. That's why the shooting at Virginia Tech happened."The same group was in Kentucky at the end of December, protesting at a military funeral in Stanton. Before picketing UK, the group plans to picket the Kentucky Derby on Saturday."We've had a lot of dealings with Kentucky of late, and we know they're in some trouble," Phelps-Roper said.After hearing rumors of this demonstration late last week, UK administration met with Lexington Police, UK Police and Lexington Center administrators to set up a plan that will maintain order, UK spokeswoman Kathy Johnson said.The group will have a designated area outside Rupp Arena where it can protest out of the way of pedestrian traffic. Lexington and UK police will be present to keep things from getting out of hand."This group is not confrontational in and of itself, but they will try to get a response from people around them," Johnson said. "We would hope people would focus on the commencement and not the picketers. This day should be about the graduates, not about the picketers and their message."The message the group brings is one that will offend a lot of people, including homosexuals - who the group targets - and Christians who have a different interpretation of the Bible, said Susan Matsubara, the student director of UK's OUTsource."The group thrives on attention and they get it through their hateful message, which the media covers and chooses to acknowledge," said Matsubara, a gender and women's studies and political science senior. "The commencement is about the students, we should focus on the 2007 graduates and their accomplishments instead of allowing this disruptive group to destroy our day."The same group protested in Lexington in 2002 when the Cathedral of Christ the King baptized triplets who would be raised by two gay men. The Lexington community rallied against the protest at the Lexington Arts Place in a Hate-Free Lexington rally."Any hateful group or ideology can negatively impact a community, but that's why it is so important for our community to come together and show our strength and solidarity against hate," Matsubara said.Although there is nothing definite planned, Matsubara said there probably will be a response to the protest. She predicted it will be a celebration how the community can unite against hate.