Alert at Lincoln Center as church threatens to picket Juilliard

Alert at Lincoln Center as church threatens to picket Juilliard


norman lebrecht

November 02, 2016

Staff at the NY arts hub have been warned to expect a picket by a Baptist group, denouncing the Juilliard School as a hub of pride and vanity.

(They are not wrong, but still…)

According to Wikipedia, ‘Westboro Baptist Church is a Baptist church which is known for its hate speech, especially against LGBT people, Catholics, Orthodox Christians, Muslims, Jews, American soldiers and politicians.’

UPDATE: Student response here.

Here’s the Church notice:

1/5/16 12:30-3:00 PM -- Chicago, IL, USA Juilliard School visit to the Nord Anglia Chicago Campus in Lincoln Park © Todd Rosenberg Photography 2016


The Juilliard School in New York, NY    November 3, 2016  8:00 AM – 9:00 AM


 Juilliard School, located in the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, touts that it:

  “…trains about 850 undergraduate and graduate students in dance, drama, and music. It is widely regarded as one of the world’s leading music schools, with some of the most prestigious arts programs. In 2016, QS Quacquarelli Symonds ranked it as the world’s best institution for Performing Arts in their inaugural global ranking of the discipline.”


Oh the vanity of it all!


For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.” Gal. 6:3 


Too many words to cover the awful sin of this “institution of higher learning.” Sum it up like this:  You have made your children to be good for absolutely nothing except full, final and awful destruction!


Then I went to Euphrates, and digged…the girdle from the place where I had hid it: and, behold, the girdle was marred, it was profitable for nothing.  Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,  Thus saith the LORD, After this manner will I mar the…great pride of Jerusalem [America].   This evil people, which refuse to hear my words, which walk in the imagination of their heart, and walk after other gods, to serve them, and to worship them, shall even be as this girdle, which is good for nothing.” Jeremiah 13:7-10


If you had taught those children to invest 5% of the energy they use for the vanity called “The Arts”, America would not be leading the world in racing to destruction. Clarifying, God will not ever have idolatry, fornication, adultery, divorce and remarriage (which Christ said is adultery, at Luke 16:18, and other places) sodomy, same-sex marriage, murder, lying, stealing and all the rest of your proud sin, including your awful pride.  That wisdom “descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.” But seek that wisdom that is from above, which “is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” James 3.  


God said:  “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” 1 John 2:15


And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.  And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird?  “For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.  Reward her…double according to her works:… How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.”  Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.  (Revelation 18 – PLEASE, read every word America, it is for YOU!)


We beg of you, while you still have the breath of life: 






  • NYMike says:

    Typical of the religious insanity permeating the US. What rubbish!

    • John Nemaric says:

      I was told this anecdote by somebody very close to this church.

      God entered the Church and…he was asked to leave immediately.

      Why? He asked.

      Because you are not religious enough for US.

      • Eric says:

        Maybe he wasn’t dressed well enough and his hair was too long!

        • not a chance mate says:

          I heard that someone had been thrown out of their church and was sitting across the road having a coffee feeling rejected when this bearded guy with long hair walked up and they had a chat. “Why are you sitting here looking sad?” the bearded guy asked? “Oh, I tried to get into that church over there and they told me God hates me and threw me out.” – the bearded guy laughs… “oh, what? Westboro Baptist? I’m Jesus and I’ve been trying to get in there for decades…. not a chance, mate.”

    • Michael Korstick says:

      Holy crap, literally. Imbeciles of all countries, unite!

    • Tom Quill says:

      lol no, they are not typical of anything, I promise

  • Bruce says:

    One thing people should know about this group is that they have a couple of members who are lawyers. They try to provoke people to anger, and then press charges for assault against the individual and for negligence against the institution that “allowed” the assault to take place. Laughter is the best (i.e. most offensive) defense, for example or

  • Pablo says:

    So the Talibans are not the only madmen around…

    • M2N2K says:

      Of course not, but there is no equivalence either. These hatemongers are despicable and disgusting, but at least they don’t chop people’s heads off.

  • Daniel F. says:

    The blog-keeper should not take a gratuitous parenthetical snipe at Juilliard at this perilous time. Whether he is right in his sense of the institution (from a lot of miles away) or wrong or making an attempt at humor is not the issue. Given the awfulness of the views of those in opposition, we should all be doing our best to rally round. “And then they came for….”

    • Alan R. Kay says:

      You are so right. I was offended by that inappropriately placed snide remark (“They are not wrong, but still…”). Whatever Juilliard is, it pales next to the vile antics of the despicable Westboro group. If you’re going to talk about Juilliard’s vanity, do it in another context.

      • Steven Holloway says:

        Such snippets of editorializing, plus a few other tricks of the trade, are ubiquitous in SD posts. It is one of the ways of perpetuating the silly myth that the writer knows everything and everyone, although, simultaneously, the almost as ubiquitous gaffes left to readers to correct give the lie to that facade. I say it’s a silly business because it really isn’t necessary and fools no one.

  • Josh Grumeaux says:

    It is completely lazy, irresponsible, and misleading to lead this blog by naming the provocateurs a “church” in the headline and a “Baptist group” in the first sentence, before finally calling out the name of this hate group in the third paragraph. The WBC has nothing more in common with churches or Baptists than the KKK. I am not religious whatsoever, but this merely inflames anti-religious and anti-American rhetoric in the comments.
    It is unfortunate that this blog redistributes this bile, especially without any context. It is as if Norman has never heard of the WBC, a group that has been protesting classical music concerts for years, and couldn’t be bothered to spend more than two minutes looking up a cursory Wikipedia definition. They deserve zero attention, not even for the apparent purpose of getting in a dig at Juilliard.

  • Laurence Dale says:

    So please publish what the Bundy Family think about Juilliard…. or is that equally insignificant?
    Surely there are more important stories to publish and discuss?

  • Blair tindall says:

    Westboro is not formally affiliated with Baptist or any other religion. It is a hate group with tax-exempt nonprofit status. For those across the pond, it’s famous in the US for disrupting funerals of war veterans and could be described as an anti-LGBT Ku Klux Klan.

    • Dan P. says:

      To just add a little bit to what Blair said, the Westboro folks are not a church but merely a small hate group composed of members of Fred Phelps’ family. I think they first attained notoriety when they attempted in 1998 to disrupt the funeral of Matthew Shepard, the young gay man from Wyoming who was the victim of a hate crime by a couple of locals. They then moved on to show their hate for pretty much everyone else exhibiting a spark of decency and humanity. They’re a pretty despicable group but besides their theatrics and hateful spew, they don’t present a physical threat to anyone. They’re just a bunch of nuts.

      • Blair Tindall says:

        Dan P. is correct on all counts. It could be hilarious as performing artists are resourceful and will probably upstage them in a way that Juilliard PR will appreciate.

        • Dan Plante says:

          Their presence will surely make things interesting at Juilliard, that’s for sure. Perhaps an impromptu performance of the slow movement of Eine kleine Nachtmusik might settle them down a bit. When I was a student at Juilliard in the early 70s the only comparable excitement was a demonstration across the street in front of the newly fashioned Embassy of the People’s Republic of China facing what was then Juilliard’s 67th Street entrance. Even that amounted to little more than a few eggs tossed at the former motel and a bit of noise. What was more curious to us, though, was watching these representatives of “the people” sunbathing on the roof of their Embassy while we were chuckling at them in music history class.

        • JL says:

          I’m hoping the brass students will stage an impromptu outdoors concert consisting entirely of Mahler and Wagner excerpts.

      • Steven Holloway says:

        And also picketed military funerals, claiming that God let American soldiers die as a punishment for America accepting homosexuality. This ‘church’ is indeed little more than one family without a brain cell between the lot of them — picketing military funerals is a fast route to uniting the whole country against you.

  • Dario says:

    Standard MO for the WBC. I’ve been picketed by them before during my time at KU – once for a KUSO concert, once at graduation (though I think they were there for the Law School’s ceremony after mine).

    Not really post worthy, all you’re doing is giving them the attention they crave.

  • Stereo says:

    I’ve always said religion is the curse of the modern world.

  • Cynthia Katsarelis says:

    “a hub of pride…” Because we all know that real humility is being a mediocre, hateful, jerk.

    In all seriousness, this could be threatening to the more vulnerable students, especially LGBT. So chin up, it gets better. Those people are going extinct.

  • Andrew Appel says:

    Speechless!!! I have felt attacked often by these people because I am gay. Have had to control my distaste bordering on hatred to try to be more human and kind than they. But now they are attacking me because of my harpsichord? Now that’s new.
    Pride? Anyone who makes efforts to accomplish the challenges presented by a late Beethoven sonata or the Goldbergs or even the simplest of Schubert songs knows humility. We can never live up to the potential of the scores we love, admire, and try to bring to life. We live in a battle between a feeling of incompetence and the drumming up of courage to advocate our art. And we come so close to the “creator spirit” when we live in the world of genius whose door is opened just a bit for us by our masters..Shakespeare, Bach, Balanchine.
    These perverted spirits belittle all religion yet they are warned against their own selves, their meanness, here and there in the bible…..But what do WE do or feel now if we have to walk through the barking and scowling of the hateful and ignorant? How should we respond? Should we hand out CDs of beautiful music? DVDS of Concerto Barocco? and welcome them to our place of learning and worship… our Juilliard?

    • Marg says:

      I like MIchelle Obama’s advice – when they go low, we go high. Hand them a CD of Handels Messiah and tell them it’s nothing but bible verses set to music. Perhaps they’ll enjoy it.

  • Tim Walton says:

    More crap from the God nuts in the USA. They are even worse than the Gun nuts.

    No wonder I would never want to visit the land of the Nuts.

    • Dan Plante says:

      As I said elsewhere, these are just a small family who like to make noise – as hateful as they are. They are not connected to any church, despite their name, and are considered a laughing stock except, perhaps, by the poor people who have to suffer under their nonsense. But, while it’s easy to do so, I think it’s a mistake to cast aspersions on an entire country of 300 million people because it has a relatively small number of nutty people living there. There are nutty people living everywhere, even if they don’t advertise themselves the way our nuts seem to like to do. I have to admit, though, it’s a huge embarrassment.

    • Roger says:

      Nuts period. God has nothing to do with it.

  • Robin says:

    I think they just wanted a tax-deductible trip to New York City! HOO-WEE!

  • Adrienne Fox says:

    There are always idiots in our midst. Masquerading as a ‘Church’ is an unintelligent way of trying to get noticed.

    • Nelson says:

      And, I must say, repeating such utter nonsense as click bait with very little context is equally unintellegent way of getting noticed. Judging from the comments from those taking this all at face value and/or using it as an excuse to brand it as typical of those “religious nuts” in the U.S….you are all falling into the trap of feeding the trolls and giving groups like Westboro just what they are looking for….attention and a reason to continue to exist. Just show a little more discernment, intelligence and research before spreading this supposed news….hit the delete button before publishing your knee-jerk outraged reportage …just ignore it!!

      • Blair tindall says:

        Not clickbait. Westboro is usually a major news story.

      • Cynthia Katsarelis says:

        This is a real thing, Nelson. It’s in Playbill. I don’t know if you are familiar with the Westboro “Baptist” people, but they do this stunt a lot, generally at funerals. Protesting Juilliard is stepping out for them. I think they just wanted to get out of Kansas and enjoy NYC… However, we have to be aware that their toxic message can impact some vulnerable people.

  • Tom Quill says:

    Hi, people from outside the USA!

    The WBC is essentially 50% scam and 50% publicity-seeking machine.

    They have perhaps two dozen members, most of whom are related to one another, who go all over the country protesting in the most offensive/incendiary/shocking way possible. Their business model is to provoke violent reactions and then sue the person so provoked. However, this hasn’t happened in a while because literally every single person in America has long since caught on.

    Saying “ugh, Americans!” in response to this story is like saying “ugh, Germans!” because you read that bizarre case of the German cannibal who met a willing victim on the internet and killed and ate him. The WBC is a bizarre outlier in American culture (which has LOTS of bizarre outliers!) and I would gently encourage people not to imagine they represent the views of anyone other than their practicing adult members.

    In fact, the WBC protests so often that virtually no news outlets will report on them, certainly not to draw attention to upcoming protests. Usually the people who call attention to the protesters are counterprotesters, who keep watch on WBC’s website and send people to ensure the WBC is outnumbered wherever they go (which is not hard because, again, there are like 20 of them.)

    To put out an “alert” that this is going to happen is exactly what the WBC wants. They want to “strike fear in the heart of liberals” even though they really, really don’t.

    So, uh, thanks for getting everybody concerned about this non-event.

  • Lenore says:

    Is anyone else really angered by the fact that this hateful cult is afforded tax-exempt status?

  • Eleanor says:

    Ha! This is the best thing ever. This made my day. I’m guessing one of their kids didn’t get accepted. I supposed those hymnals didn’t compensate for Liszt etudes. Hahaha!

  • Robert Holmén says:

    They’re picketing for mere “pride and vanity”?

    I’m guessing some of them are really just in town to see “Cats” and had to make it look like a church trip.

    • Steve Creswell says:

      They have already been collectively skewed into an alternate sense of reality by their hateful creed. If they can possibly behave in the Neil Simon Theater, by all means send them to multiple and everlasting viewings of Cats. It could soften them, for the good of all.

  • Kenneth Langley says:

    Andew Appel has described very well what it’s like to be a musician. “We can never live up to the potential of the scores we love….” I think that struggle is our motivaton to keep going with music. I’ve come away from many performances not with the self-satisfaction you might expect, but despondent that I wasn’t good enough or big enough to do justice to what the composer asked of me. Hence, “Once more into the breach…” seems to be our motto, even knowing we are doomed to failure in the end. Over and over. Pay no attention to the small-minded people, we have more important things to do.

  • Chris Van Hof says:

    “They’re not wrong, but still…”

    That is truly disgusting. We all know Westboro is a haven of hate and disinformation, but ripping on a bunch of teenagers and 20-somethings is really low. Are you saying these students are more deserving of Westboro’s hate than another music school? Why is the music school where I teach less prideful? Or any other music school?

    So in addition to stirring the Westboro pot (nice job giving them more free press, their lifeblood), you take a cheap shot at the young generation of artists who study at Julliard. Shameful.

    • norman lebrecht says:

      Where did you undergo the irony bypass?

    • Daniel F. says:

      I took issue with the blog-keeper’s gratutious aside, too, Chris (see above), but in the big picture I was very pleased that he let all of his readers know what was going on. I doubt that ANYONE in this forum found out about the doings of this awful group and its attack on the Juilliard School from a source OTHER than “Slipped Disc”. And the reason “SD” has so many readers is that the blog-keeper is tireless in his quest to find things out–sometimes very unpleasant things–and let us know.

      • Steven Holloway says:

        I fail to see how giving publicity to this bunch of fanatics’ picketing of Julliard helps anyone or anything — except the WBC. And taking his own editorial swipe at the school only makes things worse. This Julliard nonsense should have been ignored. What does need to be borne in mind is the WBC’s actions at military funerals and their visible support for the murder of gays — THAT is serious business. This is more like the WBC caricaturing itself. Note that it has fallen to commenters to remind the blogger and others not in the know of just what the WBC represents. To SD this is just click-bait. Were it not, the post would not have what the blogger bafflingly describes as “irony” stuck in it.

  • Tim Carter says:

    Surely, this whole thing is crock…a theater piece, right?

  • Daniel Plante says:

    I’m really surprised at the amount of interest and bile that this topic has engendered. My e-mail inbox just doesn’t stop. Personally, I just think they wanted to come here to see a show, visit the Statue of Liberty, and check out the local Appleby’s and felt that while we’re here, they might as well protest something. Perhaps they saw Juilliard on a tour bus and were offended by the new modernist design. I’d be willing to bet that all they know about Juilliard is what they might have been told on the bus. I’m pretty sure they don’t follow the careers of young musicians, much less know any music that was composed with pen and paper and isn’t sung. And do you think they could tell a viola from an English Horn?

  • Dave Weiner says:

    Like so many other groups that spew the same drivel, they just want attention. Ignore them and they will dry up and blow away.

  • TJoseph says:

    Let me get this straight – they plan to picket Julliard for pride and vanity, but Harvard and Yale get a free pass? 😉

    • Tom Quill says:

      Nope! I graduated from one of those places and they picketed my commencement, which I understand they do most years. They picket every commencement they can fit into their schedule, whether its Yale or the U of Michigan or the Air Force Academy, because as we all know, universities are dens of sodomy and are an affront to Christ.

  • Tony M. says:

    I have very much appreciated many of the comments made here. As one who identifies as a follower of Jesus Christ, I would like to add that I distance myself completely and wholeheartedly from the Westboro Baptist Church and its ideology of hatred toward many different kinds of people and causes that are outside their “good list”. They do not represent mainstream Christians, yet tarnish the reputation of everyone called by that name. It’s deeply troubling and distressing at best, and sadly destructive at its core.

    I have two family members who received an excellent education at Juilliard and certainly reflect the humility mentioned by many of you who have attempted to master and perform these great works. The Arts are not in themselves “a vanity”, as claimed by the group’s material, but rather a necessary part of who we are as human beings. We are not fully human without them.

    May we be able to engage in meaningful dialogue with those we don’t understand or agree with, rather than take hateful and vicious stances that serve to do nothing but further the distance between us.