An Ethical, Effective, and Ironic Counter-Protest

Hey, thanks guys! Keep it up!

The OWS protesters could learn a thing or 2, 456 from the clever students at Missouri’s Clayton High School. You see,  protests don’t have to be obnoxious and pointless, if organizers have their wits about them and a clear objective in mind.

After Fred Phelps’ vicious, hateful, and Constitutionally-protected Westboro Baptist Church announced that it planned to take a break from disturbing family funerals for fallen American soldiers who perished for their country in order to demonstrate against Clayton High’s  Gay-Straight Alliance, the student leaders of the Alliance  organized what they call a “Phelps-a-Thon.” Donors are pledging to give money to the Gay-Straight Alliance’s human rights initiatives for every minute the Phelpsians are chanting and waiving their homophobic signs and placards.

Voila! The longer they demonstrate against gays, the more money they raise for gay rights, thus damning themselves to be slowly cut up into little shreds  by sadistic demon high-school cafeteria workers wielding dull vegetable peelers, then reassembled by cubist jokesters, and forced to watch re-runs of RuPaul’s reality show for all eternity, or whatever happens to horrid people like them in Hell.

Peaceful, effective, lucrative, pointed, simple, and funny. You can’t have a more ethical protest than that!

[Thanks to Jeff Hibbert for the tip!]

16 thoughts on “An Ethical, Effective, and Ironic Counter-Protest

  1. I should note that this is nothing new. I went to grad school less than an hour from the WBC, so I saw them more than once–not least, unsurprisingly, at the national tour of Angels in America, but also at such curious venues as a concert by the Irish folk band The Chieftains.

    Anyway, my friend Maggie, an undergrad at the time, organized similar responses to the Phelpses’ protests. She’d collect pledges in advance–designated for the Battered Women Shelter, the AIDS Awareness Center, etc., depending on the particular subject of the WBC’s ire at a specific moment. (This was before Phelps began to specialize: homosexuals were always included on the list, but he used to spew a more generic hatred for anyone and anything unlike himself in any way: women in positions of authority were a not infrequent target.)

    Maggie would then show up at the protest, camera in hand, and we (yes, I was a contributor) would pay based on the number of WBC protesters she photographed at the event. What the Clayton High School kids have done, then, is to tweak an existing model. They deserve praise for the maturity of their response, but not necessarily for originality. This is not to criticize them in any way, merely to note that they came—perhaps independently, perhaps not—to the same strategy that has been employed elsewhere in the area for well over a decade.

    For the record: I don’t know if Maggie invented the idea or got it from someone else. I do know that she single-handedly raised over $3000 for various charities just in the couple of years we were on campus together.

  2. When I was in high school, I was taking classes at the local community college with students from other local schools. I remember the WBC showed up to one of them for reasons unknown (dickishness?) and a few of the bolder students decided to organize a counter protest by using using nonsense signs and counter-messages to mock the WBC. Not as effective as donating to charity, but there are few ways better to assail your foe than to make him the butt of humor.

      • They was a protest a couple years ago where a bunch of clowns, real clowns, protested at a white power rally. You could tell it was really pissing off the white powerr idiots.

  3. Pingback: An Ethical, Effective, and Ironic Counter-Protest | Ethics |

  4. I have always thought that if they came to protest a funeral in my town, I would get all the churches to counter-protest. If all the churches in town surrounded the targets of WBC with a few thousand people and sang appropriate hymns, it wouldn’t change the WBC, but it would help lessen the damage to their victims. The churches need to stand up and say “This is not Christianity”. I know the reasons everyone is hesitant to do that. It is a slippery slope, where do you stop (and look at the carnage that resulted from that in the past)? But some behavior is so outrageous that it deserves a response.

    • In LaPlata MD for the funeral of a soldier the towned turned out in such numbers lining the street that WBC couldnt get any where near the church or the funeral. They finally packed up and left.

  5. Pingback: An Ethical, Effective, and Ironic Counter-Protest | Ethics Alarms « Ethics Find

  6. Westboro Baptist Church is not Baptist and is certainly not a church in any real sense of the word. I’M a Baptist and I stand against organized perversion directed against children. But no Baptist would condemn his country for the actions of a few attainted creatures or the politicians who court them for their votes. Nor would we EVER condone the desecration of the funerals of fallen American heroes. The Westboro minions are just as perverted as those they claim to oppose.

    • The problem is that they ARE baptist and they ARE a church. No baptists were rushing to condemn them when they were only attacking homosexuals but as soon as they came after soldiers and Marines baptists were distanting themselves as quick as possible. You show you have more in commnon with them with your comments calling those they oppose “perverts” and “attainted creatures”. When so called christians like you use the same words and phrases that WBC use you give them aid and commfort. And why should it be okay to picket the funeral of gays but not the funeral soldiers and Marines? It isnt okay to picket anyones funeral and anyone who thinks it is , is a vile hateful human being whether they belong to WSB or not.

      • Amen. I’m so sick of religious zealots from ANY religion using their beliefs to spew hatred against others! Doesn’t the Bible teach us to “Love thy neighbor”?! Or – if you’re not a religious person, isn’t it just good manners? It’s OK to disagree – but can’t we all try to be civil and respectful about it? Picketing funerals is never civil or respectful. Carrying signs professing who you “hate” and who should “go to hell” is never civil or respectful. For example – If you don’t believe that homosexuals should be allowed to marry, say so with your votes. Say so with your signs RESPECTFULLY, if you must. I can disagree with you with my votes and signs RESPECTFULLY. You may think all homosexuals are perverts and I may think all who oppose gay marriage are bigots – but if we could all try to be more civil and respectful in our discourse perhaps the gaps between right and left in this country would grow a little more narrow and we could get down to the business of making America better for everyone.

      • Sorry you don,t like it, Bill, but I stand by it. Perversion is an abomination. I don’t hate them, but I stand against them when they threaten our children. If that makes me a hateful “zealot” in you eyes, I’ll just have to live with it. Again: Westboro Baptist Church is not a recognized congregation. It’s a small band of nuts hiding behind the “church” banner for propaganda and tax purposes. If you look into the backgrounds of its leaders, you’ll find little in the way of Christian credentials. They’re not even a cult. Christians, BTW, don’t picket funerals. Using funerals for political statements is what the “other” side does.

        • “I’M a Baptist and I stand against organized perversion directed against children.”

          Steven – Please tell me you’re talking about groups of pedophiles, not homosexuals.

          • Don’t fall for that common ploy in trying to separate one from the other, I.G. The question here is not one of homosexuality alone, but of sexual perversion in total. As I’ve often pointed out, where one form of deviance exists, all potentially exist. You need only take a hard look at the history of their movement over the last sixty years to see that, for most of that time, groups of homosexuals and pedophiles were generally indestinguishable in their goals. They still are. They just don’t openly consort anymore for political reasons.

            • Steven – Clearly you are the one who has fallen for a “common ploy” if you honestly believe that homosexuals and pedophiles are “indistinguishable in their goals”. Homosexuals are not sexual deviants, nor do the vast majority of them prey on children, any more than do the vast majority of non-homosexuals prey on children. Read the literature. Pedophiles prey on innocent children for their own sick perverted pleasure. Homosexuals are not deviants, nor do they “choose” an “alternate lifestyle”. Yes, some pedophiles happen to be men who prey on little boys. MOST (other than priests) are men who prey on little girls. It is wrong minded and beyond bigoted to lump all homosexuals into a category with pedophiles and I find it highly offensive and ignorant when people do so.

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