Students and parents walking, driving or taking the bus home from Battle Ground High School last Wednesday were met by four sign-waving religious radicals trolling the sidewalks and two parking lot entrances along North Parkway Avenue on the east side of the campus.
The black signs held by the unspecified religious radicals had religious statements written on them in white including: “God Knows Your Secret Sins,” “Warning: Flee From the Wrath to Come” and “Time is Running Out: Repent or Perish.” Other signs had snippets of bible verses and questions such as “Are You Right With God?”
Two of the sign wavers were fashioned with megaphones and their message of repentance or damnation boomed through the parking lot and the surrounding area.
A similar group of protesters with like signs were at Camas High School on Nov. 7. In that instance, The Columbian reported at the time, they were protesting the school’s production of “The Laramie Project,” a play about the murder of Matthew Shepard, a gay University of Wyoming student, and the aftermath of his death.
“They were telling us individually that we’re sinners,” said Morgann (her mother asked that their last name not be used), a sophomore at Battle Ground High School. “If someone went up to them, they would say that we’re sinners and that we’re going to hell.”
Morgann said that one of her friends from school who is gay confronted them about their rhetoric and was told they were sinners and would die in hell for being gay.
“There was a better way they could have gotten their word across besides turning up their speakers really loud and yelling in people’s faces when people are right next to them,” Morgann said. “We couldn’t even hear anything else because the megaphones were so loud.”
Gunnar Harlan, a senior, witnessed much of the same. He said he supports their use of free speech, but the presentation was wrong.
“They’re a bit extreme and could do it a different way,” he said.
A video sent to The Reflector by Harlan also shows one of his friends, a Mormon, trying to give one of the radicals a Book of Mormon. He was told through a megaphone that the book was an abomination and that it would “damn your soul.”
Battle Ground Principal Mike Hamilton was not on campus that day, but district spokesperson Rita Sanders said they had received several reports of the incident, but because the sidewalk is on public land, they did not intervene. School security, she said, monitored the situation but did not see anything they needed to take action on at the time.