A Christian Response to the Westboro Baptist Church’s Visit to Harvard

The Poster from the Campaign

The Poster from the Campaign

On March 20, 2009, members of the Westboro Baptist Church plan to stage a protest at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. For several years, the Westboro Baptist Church’s anti-homosexual and anti-America protests at military funerals and elsewhere have received significant attention from around the world.

The Westboro Baptist Church claims to derive its beliefs from Christian and biblical principles. As such, its practices potentially reflect upon all Christians and even upon Christianity itself.

We, the Christian community at Harvard – Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox, liberal, moderate, and conservative – believe it is our responsibility to address the activities of the Westboro Baptist Church, especially those directed against the gay community.

Our opinions concerning LGBT issues vary along theological, doctrinal, and political grounds. Nevertheless, we are united in our commitment to love and respect LGBT people as much as we love and respect anyone else. Any word or deed which does not reflect this commitment is fundamentally un-Christian.

The Scriptures teach that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans iii.23). This message is one of human brokenness, but it is also one of profound equality. The ground is level at the foot of the cross. We all need God’s mercy – and God’s mercy is graciously offered to every person.

Accordingly, Christians are called to love all people – regardless of sexual orientation – because we see that what connects us to every human being inevitably transcends that which divides us.

Though we cannot support the beliefs and practices of the Westboro Baptist Church, it is our duty to love and to forgive its members, just as we were once loved and forgiven.

G.K. Chesterton said, “Love means loving the unlovable – or it is no virtue at all.” As the Harvard Christian community prepares for the arrival of the Westboro Baptist Church’s members, we shall seek always to respond to hatred with love and to “overcome evil with good” (Romans xii.21). This is the example Jesus has given us.

While we do not agree with the message of the protests of the Westboro Baptist Church, we hope and pray that God will use even these protests to manifest His great glory to the world.

To co-sign this statement as an individual, please follow the instructions at the bottom of this page. To co-sign as an organization, please write to ichthus [at] hcs [dot] harvard [dot] edu.

The Harvard Ichthus

Harvard College Alpha Omega
Harvard-Radcliffe Asian-American Christian Fellowship
Harvard-Radcliffe Christian Fellowship
LCMS Lutherans at Harvard College
Rev. Jonathan C. Page, Epps Fellow of The Memorial Church
Rev. Benjamin King, Episcopal Chaplain
Fr. Bill Murphy, Catholic Chaplain to Undergraduates
Rev. Russell J. Schlecht, Foursquare Chaplain to Harvard University
Adrian Tam, InterVarsity Chaplain, 2006
Rev. Rob Mark, McDonald Fellow of the Memorial Church
Daniel Cho, Asian Baptist Student Koinonia Staff, 1996
Carson Weitnauer, InterVarsity staff
Esther Eng, InterVarsity Staff
Samir Paul, 2010, Ichthus Editor-in-Chief
J. Joseph Porter, 2012, Ichthus Features Editor
KC Moore, 2010
Richard Kelley, 2010
Collin Jones, 2012
Horatio Thomas, 2011
Caroline Kovaleski, 2010
Katie Coulson, 2011
Helen Tsim, 2010
Penelope Smith, 2011
Victoria Mendoza, 2011
Judith Huang, 2009, Ichthus Fiction/Poetry Editor
Douglas Duquette, 2009
James Watts, 2010
Danny Kim, 2010
Amanda Klimczuk, 2010
Dany Thorpe, 2011
Andrés Castro Samayoa, 2010
Julia Fifer, 2011
Monique Wilson, 2009
Tzu-Ying Chuang, 2010
Katie Grosteffon, 2009
Cortni Nucklos, 2011
Jacob Buchholz, 2009
Daniel Rogers, 2012
Matt Gibbons, Harvard Community Member, 2012
Kevin O’Herin, 2009
Natalie So, 2012, Ichthus Asst. Fiction/Poetry Editor
Nico Kirk-Giannini, 2011, Ichthus Managing Editor
Danielle Kim, 2012
Hannah Horowitz, 2011
Michael Silvestri, 2010
Will Ramsey, 2012
Rachel Hawkins, 2012
Kylee Clyatt, 2012
Jason Sandler, 2012
Carl Pillot, 2012
Beñat Idoyaga, 2012
Kevin Mechenbier, 2012
Chris Higgins, 2011
Fanny Chen, 2009
Roger Mercado, 2009, QSA Co-Chair
Jason McCoy, 2008, Harvard Staff
Yijing Sun, 2011
David Orama, 2012
Harker Rhodes, 2009
Heidi Liu, 2011
Kristin Unruh, 2010
Eric Lang, 2009
Amos Tai, GSAS 2012
Kelly McPherson, 2012
Anne Goetz, 2011, Ichthus Books/Arts Editor
Amanda Gable, 2009-11
Jonathan Roberts, 2009
Phil Mongiovi, 2009
Paula Bu, 2012
Brian Na, 2009
Ann Chao, 2009
Isaiah Peterson, 2012
Rachel Esplin, LDS Association President, 2009/2010
Alice Chung, 2011
Katherine Han, 2009
Won Hee Park, 2009
Michael Johnson, 2009
Chris Jensen, 2012
Nicholas Tabor, 2009
Eva Lam, 2010
Victoria Lo, 2011
Emily Mott, 2007
Jordan Hylden, Ichthus Founding Editor, 2006
Elena Chit, 2012
Tae-Eun Kim, 2011
Monica Jun, 2010
Debra Chang, 2012
Patrick Liu, GSAS 2009
Conrad Zhuang, 2009
Tiana Williams, 2007
Phoebe Kuo, 2011
Hyo-Jung Hong, 2012
Jennifer Wolahan, 2007
Elizabeth Spira, 2011
George Thampy, 2010
Caleb Weatherl, 2010
Morgan Pope, LDS Association VP, 2011
Kathleen Benitez, 2007
Jacintha Tagal, 2011
Grace Yeh, 2009
Tim Reckart, 2009
Derek Lietz, 2009
Antonia Fraker, 2009
Matt Cavedon, 2011
Marlena Smith, 2012
Ann Chi, 2008
Meghan Cleary, 2011
Lisa Ackerman, 2011
Nathan Nakatsuka, 2012
Tracy Meng, 2010
Ivy Wu, 2009
Jessamin Birdsall, 2010, HRCF Executive Team
Jessica Luna, 2010
Rachel Flynn, 2009
Jon Staff, 2010
James Fuller, 2010
Ali Ahmed, 2009
Shana Caro, 2011
Jennifer Delurey, 2012
Janet Li, 2009
Annie Wang, 2011, Ichthus Design Editor
Gena Haugen, 2009
Blessing Oyeniyi, 2010, Girlspot Co-Chair
Nico Lewine, 2010, Vice-President for Social Justice, H-R Catholic Student Association
Christina Giordano, 2010
Florence On, 2011
Lauren Schwartze, 2009
Anna Pritt, 2011
Allan Hernandez, 2012
Miles Canaday, 2010
Rusty Mason, 2010
Allison Frost, 2008, Ichthus alumnae
Rachel Wilson, 2012
Will Quinn, 2010
Patricia Gnazzo Pepper, Currier House Administrator
Jordan Monge, 2012
John Frame, 2009
Genesis Vergara, 2012
Seth Bannon, 2010
Patric Spence, 2012
Michelle Sirois, 2012
Richard Alt II, 2012
Hannah Wallace, 2010
Sarah Littlehale, 2011
Roisin Duffy-Gideon, 2012
Stephanie Woo, 2012