Margie Phelps, daughter of Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church, is scheduled to appear on a panel at the Castle Board Room at the MSU College of Law on Thursday, November 18, from noon until 1:30 p.m. Click here to read the press release issued about the event. The panel is hosted by three three student groups: The Triangle Bar Association, the American Constitution Society and the Military Law Society.
As you will see, the panel will also include:
- Jay Kaplan – staff attorney for the ACLU
- Professor Frank Ravitch – Professor of Constitutional Law, Law and Religion
- Diane Waits – mother of a fallen Iraq War Specialist Andrew Waits, 101st Airborne
- Keli Bender- Iraq War veteran
- Professor Nancy Costello – Professor of Media Law
Many people have questioned why WBC has targeted Michigan and East Lansing High School. It appears that the original plan for Margie Phelps was to appear by webcam. However, it appears that the family now intends to protest at a Michigan soldier’s funeral tomorrow in Marine City. So WBC has now slated various protests around the state, including the Islamic Center in Deaborn, the Hillel Center and East Lansing High School. (Check back for updates.)
This statement was created and approved at a meeting of community leaders who met in East Lansing’s Unitarian Universalist Church tonight to discuss ways to deal with the impending protest by the Westboro Baptist Church on Thursday at East Lansing High School. Click here to sign the petition.The Greater Lansing Community stands unified in opposition to the message of hate brought to our community by the Westboro Baptist Church. We know that as a community our strength lies in our diversity â€“ religious, ethnic, gender, sexual orientation, race, social, political and more. This diversity is what creates a healthy thriving community. And such communities foster and participate in a market place of ideas.
We understand that the diversity of our community also allows for a diversity of ideas and that is part of our strength.Â This also means that we may not all agree on the best way to respond to WBC on Thursday.Â We Â ask that each participant, in planning their role in the response to WBC, consider that Westboro Â is only able to fund these trips by suing the people that respond to their provocations in confrontational or violent ways. If you feel inspired to join our efforts please help the rest of us respond to their hate with more dignity than they are showing us and our youth.
We are appalled that Westboro Baptist Church has decided to direct its vitriol at the students of East Lansing High School. Their hate stands in direct opposition to the values of our community and is an attempt to unfairly bully our youth into silence.
It has been reported the Westboro Baptist Church has targeted these youth because they have done that which we encourage as a community value â€“ theyâ€™ve engaged in the civic dialog and expressed a view with which Westboro disagrees. Instead of dialoging with the youth , and participating in the marketplace of ideas, Westboro has instead decided to attack, bully and harass our youth. We stand with our youth and applaud this engagement by them. We value participatory citizenship in which ideas are challenged through dialog over demagoguery and bullying.
Sadly, the Westboro Baptist Church protest serves to remind us that bullying is not isolated to our school hallways, but permeates our culture. We whole-heartedly reject bullying as the violence it isâ€”to individuals, to groups and to the community.
We believe the protest by Westboro Baptist Church shows our elected officials in the legislature that it is past time for them to lead and take action against bullying.
The irony that Westboro Baptist Church has come to divide us as a community, but has instead united us is not lost on this community.
Our faith leaders and community agree that the Westboro Baptist Church does not reflect our understanding of a place of worship. Houses of worship create, build, nurture and support community. Despite our diverse views of God, we are united in our belief that God is a loving creator.
We stand in opposition to Westboro Baptist Churchâ€™s intrusion into our community. At the same time, the tapestry of our community in all of its diversity are on full display, and demonstrates why the Greater Lansing Area is an amazing community in which to live, work and play.