WBC anti-protest at the GLAAD awards

17May05

so someone finally responded to my previous post regarding rev. phelps sending his minions to come protest here next month. he suggested a flash mob style infilitration / protest. so i did some research on how the god hates fags crew protests things, in order to come up with a good flash strategy.

it turns out the westboro baptist church only has about 50 members tops. easily half of those are fred phelp’s 13 children and their grandchildren (many of whom aren’t even teenagers yet). the rest are from another family of crazies – the hockenbargers, who have married into the phelps, the family of that dude steve drain who we know all about now, and some lonely guy george stutzman. these 30 or so tireless adults travel around the country every weekend to protest something or other. supposedly they get the money to do this by shouting things inflammatory enough to make people hit them, and then suing the hell out of their assailants. neat trick.

their schedule is so demanding that no more than about 12 church members can manage to show up to any protest. so at pretty much every “protest” they stage, they are outnumbered many-fold by counter protesters. their tactics and rhetoric are pretty simple. they talk shit about you, about america and the flag, about gays and about jews. and then there’s the whole pro 9/11 thing, which like jerry falwell, they blame on america’s immorality. their signs are rudimentary at best. there’s the “god” class: god hates fags,god hates fag enablers (my personal fave), god hates america, thank god for 9/11. the “death” class: homos are worthy of death, matt 6 years in hell, pope (john paul) is in hell. and the “repent” class: turn or burn is the only one i could find.

so here’s the parameters of any counter protest i can dream up: we can’t infiltrate because the church is small and they all know each other. they’re also all white white white. anyone they don’t know or who isn’t white will probably never be able to make his way among them. i imagine a few white people carrying god hates fag signs (maybe covering more creative and homo friendly slogans might be able to make their way in, but not many. we must have more creative slogans. god loves everyone is a nice start, but there’s gotta be something better. since the wbc is based in kansas, my first choice is probably “thank god for tornadoes.” at yale they counter protested with signs reading “god hates plaque.” above all, the protest cannot get violent. at all. honestly i don’t even see the need to get into shouting matches with these people. you don’t reason with crazy people. rule #1 in my book. so if 100 people shout their own thing that has nothing to do with what 12 people from phelps and co. are shouting, which message do you think will be heard. if you have any doubt, just ask anyone who’s ever been with me to a fight. i may be tiny, but i have some strong lungs.

so there it is. no flash mob required, no fighting required. just some decent planning. during the anti-war protests, designers got together and made signs anyone could print out. i’m hoping i can encourage some designers to do the same. not just for this protest, but for anyone who wants to protest the wbc. maybe this can lead to an ope-source repository for anti-wbc actions. that would be cool.

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One Response to “WBC anti-protest at the GLAAD awards”

  1. 1 johnny

    These guys showed up last year for Long Beach Pride…

    http://eltororojo.blogspot.com/2004/05/signs-youve-been-working-in.html

    I found that shouting unsettling, humorous things like the above at them left them dumbfounded and speechless for a few precious seconds while the crowd laughed at them.


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