All are Welcome here, but Hate is Not. 

Dear Editor,*

The most obnoxious and rabid hate group in America is scheduled to spew it’s structural (not physical) violence on the WIU campus on Saturday, Nov. 17, at 11:45 am, before a football game with Indiana State University.

This hate group goes by the name of Westboro Baptist (WBC), but they are not affiliated with the Baptists.  They are, at best, a hate group.  Because we now know that hate speech is connected to hate violence, some analysts have argued that the WBC qualifies as a domestic terrorist organization.

The WBC travels the country to spread a message of hatred towards a broad swath of the population: LGBTQA+ people, Jewish people, Muslim people, Siekhs, soldiers, Catholics, Amish, and veterans.

The WBC uses social media to embolden and praise domestic terrorists.  They praised the domestic terrorist who opened fire on a Sikh temple in Wisconsin.  They praised the domestic terrorist who killed 50 people in an Orlando night club.

When we study the social media pages of domestic terrorists, we often find that they followed hate groups like the WBC.  John Russell Houser, who shot 12 people in a Georgia cinema, followed and backed the WBC.

On Nov. 17, over a thousand advocates of love and acceptance are planning to participate in peaceful rally of love and acceptance for all the folks in the WIU and Macomb community, as well as our guests from Indiana.

I hope you will come to demonstrate love and acceptance of our community, but when you do, do not fall for WBC’s taunts and traps.  Do not engage the WBC; instead, focus on making WIU students, Indiana visitors, and Macomb Community members feel safe and wanted here.

I hate it that the WBC has chosen the grounds of my alma mater as one of the places from which this hate group will continue to knowingly embolden domestic terrorists and later praise the killings, but I love it that we have organized quickly to send a message:

All are welcome here, but hate is not.

*After the WIU and Macomb community learned that the Westboro Baptist is coming here, I sent a version of this letter to the McDonough County Voice, and they ran it yesterday.