If anybody every asks you for an example of truly outrageous religious lunacy, only two words are required … “Westboro Baptist”. If ever tempted to think, “Nobody could be ‘that’ crazy”, well these are the folks that will prove you wrong time after time. As I’m sure you are aware, they are … (how shall I put this) … more than a tad homophobic, but insanely so. I recall one occasion when they took offense because the government in Sweden had tossed some pastor into prison due to him preaching gay-hate. The Westboro Baptist response was to hold a protest outside their local department store …. WTF!!! OK, let me explain the religious logic here. They can’t afford to travel to Sweden to protest, but made the observation that their local hardware store sold Swedish-made vacuum cleaners, so they made do with that and held a local protest.
It’s about here that some chip in with, “That’s just too crazy to be true, show me the video, or it didn’t happen”.
- Sure … here is the link to it on YouTube … favorite quote … the chap doing the interview asked one of the younger WBC members if he actually understood the content of the sign he was carrying, when it is clear that he did not, one of the parent kooks steps in with, “Noah, do you know what else you could be besides a fag, to be in trouble with God, and be included in that sign?” … his reply … “Swedish?”.
OK, so far most folks are indeed aware of most of this, so the question of the moment is to ponder what is the best way to cope with public demonstrations of complete religious lunacy like this. Some do indeed ponder the thought that this is really all about attention seeking or money. Perhaps they do this to provoke folks into going out and physically thumping them so that they can then sue them. Did you know that almost all of them are lawyers, so should we just ignore them and not fuel the media flames?
I’ve come across a fantastic win. UIC student Jason Connell pondered about this problem and observed that ignoring them changes nothing, nor does standing across the street from them and yelling change anything. So he used the appearance of the hate group at his school to raise money for gay rights groups such as Human Rights Campaign, International AIDS Foundation and Chicago based Jerusalem Open House. Donations were named in honor of the Westboro Baptist Church and community thank you cards were signed and then sent to WBC leader Fred Phelps thanking him for his assistance in raising funds for all the groups he hates so much.
Now that’s a response I truly love.
Here is Jason talking about it …
Jason raised a little over $200 that day. That’s not bad considering that absolutely NO preparation was done other than to empty a pretzel jar (yummm) and put a sticky label on it. Somebody just happened to have a card table in their van (who’da thunk, right?) and it all came together.
The real story here is that this video has inspired many other similar collections wherever WBC protests!
You really do have to wonder what goes on inside the heads of these WBC kooks – even the Ku Klux Klan have distanced themselves from them and denounced them as “hatemongers”, yet they persist and think this is all a really great idea.
5 thoughts on “Responding to the Westboro Baptist loons … one great example”
Bruce, stop being such a prat, this is an article about how to respond to their lunacy, it is not an article about what makes them tick financially, nor is it an article regarding their motives.
If you actually bothered to google, you would find links such as this …
or this …
or even this …
So yes, “Some do indeed ponder the thought that this is really all about attention seeking or money”.
But to be quite frank, I don’t care, they are complete lunatics.
Someone on a website called “skeptical science” is posting this:
“Some do indeed ponder the thought that this is really all about attention seeking or money. Perhaps they do this to provoke folks into going out and physically thumping them so that they can then sue them.”
Does this kind of thing not seem both contrary to skepticism and to science?
You’re just perpetuating vague rumor. “Some say” and “perhaps”. Is what you say true or not? How would you verify that it is true? Why did you not take the time to do this?
In point of fact, I have been pursuing people who make this particular claim for the past six months, just because it seems like a fishy thing to say. If there is evidence for this, anywhere, that’s not just as suspect as the claim itself, I have not seen it, but it’s amazing how often people perpetuate this rumor.
Isn’t “some say” and “perhaps” what we’re supposed to be *against*?
Please provide a link to a case or an article involving a case where an individual hit a WBC member at a protest and was sued by them.
I would love to be proven wrong. Please, back up your insinuations with fact.
Really Bruce? You can figure out how to post a message but you can’t do a search? I’m in China at the moment where censorship of the web makes finding things difficult at time. Still, I was able to find a number of articles about those idiots. Here’s one that really irks me.
“Here’s how the Westboro Baptist Church defends its protests in its lawsuit against St. Charles City:
Plaintiffs are … members of WBC, which follows Primitive Baptist and Calvinist doctrines and believe that homosexuality is an abomination, integrally related to idolatry, and indicative of the final reprobation of individuals; it follows, according to their beliefs, that society’s acceptance of homosexuality not only invites, but provokes divine judgment. More specifically, they believe that God is punishing America for the sin of homosexuality and other policies that they believe promote sin by killing Americans, including Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines (hereinafter “soldiers”).
Because of God’s omnipotence, which can cause or prevent tragedy, they believe that when misfortune strikes it is his wrath. Plaintiffs and other WBC members have long expressed their religious views by engaging in picketing. They have picketed at churches, theaters, parades, colleges, government buildings, religious conventions, and various other public events that they view as promoting homosexuality, idolatry, and other sin.
For many years, they have also picketed near funerals of gay persons, persons who died from AIDS, people whose actions while alive supported homosexuality and other activities they consider proud sin, and people whose lifestyles they believe to be sinful but who are touted as heroic upon their death. Plaintiffs’ pickets are not disruptive or undertaken to disrupt or disturb a funeral or burial service.
Plaintiffs’ purpose of picketing near funerals is to use an available public platform to publish their religious message that God’s promise of love and heaven for those who obey him in this life is counterbalanced by his wrath and hell for those who do not.
The funerals of soldiers, in Plaintiffs’ view, have become an internationally watched platform where the question of whether God is cursing or blessing America is being publically discussed. Plaintiffs and WBC believe that scriptures teach that soldiers who die on the battlefield for a nation that is at enmity with God cannot go to heaven.
Furthermore, contrary to the views of public figures and the public at large, such individuals are not heroes. Additionally, they observe that the lives, deaths, funerals, and public mourning of soldiers are topics of intense and detailed public discussion, with frequent lengthy media reports and routine commentary by public figures, including elected officials, clergy, military leaders, other leaders, and by members of the public.
For this reason, it is imperative to Plaintiffs’ faith that the contradictory message from public figures and others on this public topic be balanced with scriptural truth at the time it is being uttered. Further, Plaintiffs and other WBC members believe that funerals, burials, and memorial services are times when the eyes, ears, and hearts of mankind are attending to matters of mortality and eternity.
Plaintiffs and WBC believe it is too late for the dead, but not for the living to hear and heed their message. Also, they believe that one of the great sins of America is idolatry in the form of worshiping the human instead of God and that, in America, this has taken the form of intense worship of the dead, particularly soldiers.
For all these reasons, the public fora surrounding certain funerals are the only place where Plaintiffs’ religious message can be delivered in a timely and relevant manner to those faced with the immediacy of mortality and eternity (i.e., those attending the funeral and to those participating in the public events and displays outside the funeral, as well as the public at large).”
Love this story. It made my day! Thank you, Jason. :-)
That is absolutely Brilliant!!! You are a true Jujitsu master, Jason!!!