Why Would An Anti-Gay Church Picket Yeshiva University?

It’s ironic that a hate group that usually targets gays and lesbians, went -of all Jewish places- after Yeshiva University, that has been accused of being less than supportive of gay rights.


Why did protestors from Westboro Baptist Church choose to target Yeshiva University for a placard-waving protest? Shirley Phelps-Roper, the daughter of church founder Fred Phelps, put it simply: “That’s where the Jews are.”

It was an ironic moment. The church earned notoriety as a hate group because it usually targets gays and lesbians, not Jews, but Y.U. has also been accused of being less than supportive of gay rights.

Former student Joshua Tranen wrote in The Commentator that he left the university because of rabbis who “publicly called gay people an abomination” and promoted conversion therapy. In December, conservative Jewish pundit Ben Shapiro mocked transgender people as “mentally ill” in a speech on campus, inspiring cheers and later, criticism.

Westboro, based in Topeka, Kans., was founded in 1955 and lives online at Godhatesfags.com. The Southern Poverty Law Center has called it “arguably the most obnoxious and rabid hate group in America,” with its focus on gays and lesbians.

 The Y.U. picketing may signal that Westboro plans to target more liberal faith groups. But it’s unclear how the church picked Y.U., since it is certainly doesn’t represent a permissive strain of Judaism.

The visit to Y.U. — which featured a half-dozen protesters carrying placards reading “Jews Killed Jesus” along with other hateful slogans — was one of several diverse stops on the “God hates your idols preaching tour.” It included rallies at the Grammy awards in February, the Final Four NCAA tournament scheduled for next month at the University of Phoenix, Arizona, and numerous Catholic churches.

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