Our View: Westboro’s weird ways

DKS Editors

We were happy to see the nonviolent response from Kent State’s student body Wednesday when the Westboro Baptist Church tweeted it would protest the university’s decision last week to suspend wrestler Sam Wheeler for making anti-gay comments on Twitter. Students banded together in a rally for LGBT rights even though the church never arrived.

Twitter clearly has developed a strange hold over the public — and it is especially clear looking at how little Westboro had to do. We were not surprised that Westboro did not show up at Kent State, but we were stunned that they bothered to post several very obviously Photoshopped photos on their Twitter account of their protesters “at” the protest.

We did not know prior to this controversy at Kent State that it seems from past Photoshopped tweets that Westboro almost never shows up in person to “protests” they claim to hold. Westboro appears to only show up to what they consider the most important events, such as the Missouri basketball game last weekend where Michael Sam was in attendance.

We are very surprised that they would go to the trouble of staging photos to gain support, but then again, it is clearly working for them. The church is widely known for controversial stances on gay marriage and LGBT individuals, and we have to admit that we were taken in just like everyone else to think the church was coming when it announced its protest of Kent State’s decision.

We still do not completely know what Westboro thinks it is accomplishing with photos that are so obviously faked, but its work does get people talking and raise awareness to their positions and protests. At any rate, the church’s hateful positions brought out admirable efforts by Kent State students to stand with the LGBT community, which we applaud. We just wish Westboro would reconsider inciting such responses with manipulated photos and empty threats.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.