What to do about Westboro Baptist Church

WBC even uses child picketers

Unless you live in a cave, and even if you do, you’ve probably heard of the despicable Westboro Baptist Church whose members picket funerals with hateful, cruel homophobic signs. And you’ve probably heard that most recently they threatened to go to Newtown, Conn., and picket the funerals of the Sandy Hook shooting victims. And you’ve probably heard that in response, the “hacktivist” organization Anonymous responded by hacking their website (again), posting a scary warning about what would happen if they showed up in Newtown, and releasing a lot of their personal information.

What to do about a group like WBC? Their right to free speech is protected by the Constitution. However, there are now some retaliatory petitions online, which, with enough signatures, will be addressed by President Obama. One wants WBC’s IRS tax-exempt church status investigated; the other wants them officially classified as a hate group.

In the past, citizens have banded together in creative ways to foil WBC picketers — putting up bigger signs or American flags to block them from sight, blocking their cars into or out of parking lots, playing loud music to drown out their chants, holding them at the police station on trumped up charges until the funeral is over, etc.

Today I came across a new and devious suggestion. Tim Stanley, writing for the London Telegraph, points out that, as we’ve often heard, sometimes the most visible, vocal anti-gay people are actually trying to hide the fact that they themselves are gay. “He doth protest too much,” etc. Stanley suggests sending a good-looking gay man to WBC’s Sunday services to see what, or who, might be revealed. Assuming the gay man doesn’t get stoned first, wouldn’t it be hilarious if ol’ Fred Phelps himself turned out to be gay?

6 thoughts on “What to do about Westboro Baptist Church

  1. Situations like these make it difficult for me to stand with those defending free speech without qualification. Nevertheless, I must. Westboro Baptist Church people should be allowed to exercise their right to state what they believe. Now I’ll exercise mine: Fred Phelps is low-life scum and his WBC followers are ignorant fools.

    I think the best way to deal with WBC statements and protests is to ignore them.

    1. I stand beside you in defending everyone’s right to free speech, much as it pains me sometimes. The public has proven ingenious in finding legal ways to thwart these bigots, and I whole-heatedly support them.

  2. it just seems to me that even a mustard seed of response to WBC serves to motivate their agenda . . . my childhood understanding of Christian foundation includes a belief in the value of martyrdom as well as confrontation; e.g., “onward Christian Soldiers marching on to war . . . ” Psychological studies regarding learned conditioning with rats has demonstrated that consistent rewards are easiest to eradicate when the reward has been removed while an inconsistent reward system is resistant to change. So . . . what would happen if everyone just ignored their hate-filled actions. It just seems to me that there needs to be an awareness that their absence of compassion and loving-kindness is creating a response in kind.

... and that's my two cents