Repent America, one of the largest evangelistic organizations in the nation, brought its pro-life protests to the West Chester University campus last Friday, Oct. 5, as part of the tour of university campuses throughout Pennsylvania.Chanting songs and anchoring large, almost billboard-sized signs featuring passages from the Bible, pro-life slogans and photographs of aborted fetuses, members of Repent America, which is based in Philadelphia, drew the attention of students, faculty and anybody passing by Main Hall or Sykes Student Union. Public Safety was present at both locations to maintain the security of students, as well as the protestors.
Representing Repent America were protesters of all ages. Children, some not even 10-years old, stood next to their parents and distributed pamphlets, while elderly women held large signs, nearly as big as their bodies.
The goal of the group, according to its members, is to inform students of how they believe God views the act of an abortion.
“We’re here to reach as many students as possible,” Michael Marcavage, director of Repent America said. “Innocent bloodshed continues in this nation because of our tolerance, because of our silence. And we should be intolerant of abortion.”
Signs, like the one featured in the photo above, show the image of an aborted fetus covered in blood. Marcavage said the signs “present the reality of abortion” and said that it is necessary to show them because more than 4,000 babies are aborted every day in the United States.
“My mom and dad taught me [.] that’s what the scriptures say,” Josiah Murch, nine, said as he held a small handful of pro-life pamphlets. “[The scriptures] say that God hates the hands that shed innocent blood.”
The Repent America protesters were met by a sizeable counter-protest of dissenting students and members of the LGBTQA, who held up equally large signs and raised money for their cause.
Non-violent arguments took place between Repent America members and students who disagreed with their message.
“I think it’s a disgusting display of intolerance,” second-year student Katie Hallman said. “The manipulation of having the children here handing out propaganda; I think that is despicable. That is the most obscene form of manipulation I can imagine.”
Marcavage defended the children’s involvement and said, “The scripture teaches us that we need to train our children in the way that they should go. And that means that we should instruct them on what is right and what is wrong.”
Last Friday’s appearance by Repent America was not their first on WCU’s campus. The members of Repent America have demonstrated here for several years, including in 2005 when they filed a lawsuit against the university. In the past two months, Repent America has protested at such events as the “Philadelphia Phillies 5th Annual Gay Community Night,” American Idol auditions and the boardwalk in Atlantic City, N.J.
Jeff J. Simon is a third-year student majoring in communication studies with a minor in journalism. He can be reached at QuadEIC@wcupa.edu.