Westboro Baptist Church will protest Monday outside Hillel at 11:30 a.m., speaking out against Judaism and homosexuality.
The Kansas-based church — which maintains the web site godhatesfags.com — has held over 41,000 protests across the country, using the Bible to support its beliefs.
“Hillel was a cult leader, nothing more,” the site says with regard to the planned protest at Penn. “And now you have propped him up as your namesake to be admired.”
In response, Hillel will hang a banner stating, “We celebrate TOLERANCE,” with logos of supporting student groups, Hillel President and College senior Aviva Vogelstein said.
Within 24 hours, Vogelstein said she received requests from 100 organizations to feature their logos on the sign.
The banner is “a tactful way to deal with these hateful people,” she said. “We don’t want to give them undue attention.”
College sophomore Gregory Barber and his friends created a Facebook event to inform Penn students about the protest.
Barber said he sent out approximately 200 invitations at 3 a.m. Thursday. As of Thursday evening, the invitation had been forwarded to nearly 4,400 people.
Respecting Hillel’s decision not to actively demonstrate in response to WBC, Barber said he and his friends chose instead to let students decide how they will react during the protest.
“We felt the Penn community should be informed,” he said. “If they want to respond, they can because it’s their right.”
Fraternity Alpha Tau Omega will also hold a barbecue at their grill, located next to Hillel, beginning at 10 a.m. The Facebook event invites all students to attend and “overshadow” the WBC protest with “positive energy.”
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