I’m (Not) With Stupid

Recently, Fred Phelps and the other nuts at Westboro Baptist Church protested near a midwest high school for no good reason (other than, perhaps, the existence of liberal faculty members…?).

I’ve blurred out the school’s identifying information in the pic below, but you can see that several of the high school students staged a counter protest, which I think is just great.

Counterprotest

It’s hard to see, but a few students are holding up a poster which says “Come Hug Me.” The full message contains a $5 offer to any of Phelps’ people who will come get a hug from a gay student.

No one took them up on the offer…

That picture comes courtesy of a reader named Sarah, who attended that high school years ago and stopped by when she heard Phelps’ people were coming for a visit.

She came in proper attire, too.

The picture below shows Sarah (right) and her friend Kat (left) wearing well-stated “I’m Not with Stupid” shirts as they stand near a member of the Phelps Clan:

notwithstupid

Fighting ignorance with humor — I like it.

I don’t know why that guy is wearing a rainbow-y thing, but Sarah suggests it may just indicate a connection between the signs and homosexuality.

Doesn’t it give you a warm, fuzzy feeling to know that so many young people realize how crazy Phelps and his clan’s beliefs are? The Westboro group’s views regarding homosexuality are only slightly more extreme than those of the Christian Right in general.

These are the same students who will eventually vote and help us get marriage equality for all throughout the country. That time isn’t as far away as the conservatives think. Hallelujah.

  • http://aboutkitty.blogspot.com/ Cat’s Staff

    I’ve long suspected that Fred Phelps and the WBC were on our side all along.

  • Valdyr

    Doesn’t it give you a warm, fuzzy feeling to know that so many young people realize how crazy Phelps and his clan’s beliefs are?

    On the other hand, the “GOD HATES AMERICA” sign-holder looks pretty young, himself, and I’ve seen no shortage of anti-gay youths, ranging from middle-school “fags are gross!” sentiment to more carefully-cultivated religious opposition by teens and twentysomethings. We can’t afford to be complacent. I know that’s not what you’re suggesting, but I think I should say it anyway.

  • Roger

    I don’t think the guy holding the “GOD HATES AMERICA” sign is a WBCer…but if he is, then, wow. Of course, I’d have no idea how someone who is opposed to the Phelps would have gotten ahold of those signs. I guess I didn’t want to think that someone that young would be so utterly stupid.

  • http://maiacaron.com theadividual

    To see young people challenging religious-based idiocy shows that more individuals are beginning to think for themselves. As in the sixties, a new revolution of free-thought rebellion is taking place. None too soon.

  • Laura

    Yea, they actually protestested two high schools, one of them was the rival school of my high school and was where my cousins are still attending. Apparently they were there for two days and the students, or at least my cousin and his friends, were fully intent on expressing their disapproval both days they were there. Lets just say there was a multitude of facebook status’…

    I have never been so proud of my cousin in my life. :)

  • ButchKitties

    Another response to this lunacy that I like is the Phelps-a-thon, which uses the WBC to raise money for LGBT charities. You can make your pledge on a per minute basis. Then the Phelps-a-thon stages a counter protest that includes letting the WBC know that the longer they stay, the more money they raise for LGBT equality.

  • Mike

    As per Roger, I doubt the authenticity of the guy in the middle. I am calling Poe based on three observations:

    1. He is wearing a rainbow flag

    2. His signs are neatly printed and have no misspellings

    3. He is standing next to two girls

    Good for those kids, imagine how much fun they had

  • Claudia

    To those doubting whether the kid in the middle is for real, I assure you he certainly can be. The WBC consists mostly of Fred Phelps extended family, and children are indoctrinated into the insanity from the time they are infants (hearbreaking picture, isn’t it?).

    I’d rather these folks disappear just on the principle of less hate in the world would be nice and it really tears me up to see the young children in the clan indoctrinated with hate and fear. However it can’t be denied that they perform a public service. They are so hateful and extreme that wherever they go, communities unite and often gay people find themselves with new, unexpected support.

  • Valdyr

    No, the guy in the middle is real, almost certainly… the rainbow flag in his pocket is probably an anti-gay banner of some kind. You know, using the “enemy”‘s colors to better mock them. You can also see he’s got another sign in that bag over his shoulder. And he’s not smiling, so he’s not in on the picture. As for his signs being spelled properly, I dunno where you get the idea that they wouldn’t be. WBC is a professional hate group. All their signs are linguistically, if not factually, accurate.

  • TXatheist

    So proud of that group of youngsters.

  • Mike

    @Claudia,

    I agreed he COULD be a WBCer, but that is essential to a good Poe.

    Consider this…

    Would a WBCer get anywhere near a rainbow? I admit there is also something in the background with a rainbow pattern near the apparently real RBCers, so this is not a cincher. But…

    Do WBCers wear Ray-Bans?
    Why is he separated from the WBCers in the background? Don’t they usually schleim around together in a tight group?
    It seems especially unlikely that one would let himself become isolated and stand so calmly for a photo next to girls wearing shirts like that. Are they even allowed to get that close to girls not their sisters?

    You can also see the carrying case slung over his shoulder used to carry the posters he’s holding, meaning he brought all his own stuff himself. I imagine the WBCers probably organize their outings together, and that’s why none of the ones in the back have their own cases or similar.

    Either way, the RBC provides a few young intelligent people with the opportunity for endless laughter therapy. Don’t they know how much we like to make fun of them? Kinda of don’t want them to go away. (But seriously, they really should.)

  • Valdyr

    Starting to feel like I’m in court…

    OBJECTION! If he were a Poe pretending to be WBC, why would he carry a sign with a real message instead of a subtle satire? The picture I once saw of an anti-gay protest with someone holding a “HOMOSEXUALS ARE GAY” sign comes to mind.

    As for the sunglasses, sure, why not? They’re all lawyers. They don’t shun worldly things, as far as I know. Although, come to think of it, the American Eagle shirt is out of place. They usually wear their own merchandise. But the protester in the background doesn’t seem to be wearing a WBC shirt, either.

    And the carrying case for the sign might not signify that he brought it himself, it might just be to make his inventory easier to carry. It’s hard to hold up two signs when you have to trap the others under your arms, or put them on the ground where they could get dirty/stepped on/stolen.

    I’m not sure of WBC’s position on being around girls, but they’re taught that any publicity is good publicity. Someone with a camera is reason enough for him to stand still. And we don’t know how far away he is from fellow protesters–for all we know, there could be another just 10 feet away, out of the frame.

  • The Press

    The site seems to be about glbt more so than Atheist.

  • http://ottodestruct.com/ Otto

    I want to see somebody go out there and join them with “GOD HATES SIGNS” and “GOD HATES PROTESTERS” and such, styled exactly like their own signs.

  • Claudia

    RE: rainbow flag: Not that odd for them to have them, actually. They often carry around both rainbow and American flags, usually with the intention of stepping on them (they are attention whores, the angrier you get, the happier they are).

    RE: sign. That looks like an awful lot of work for a Poe. Those signs are laminated and exact replicas of the usual WBC signs. On the other hand @Mike you have a point that he’s carrying his own sign-bag and from what I’ve seen of these folks they usually carry their garbage around in vans and trucks all together.

    Standing impassively next to people who are ridiculing them does not surprise me. Check out this (fairly old) video of Michael Moore vs. the Phelps clan. They don’t really react much to ridicule. If they did they’d never leave the house.

    I agree with Valdyr though that a true Poe would inject some subtle irony into his schtick.

  • http://lagunatic.wordpress.com/ Lagunatic

    Seriously? I thought Poe was on our side and was just being satirical. Ugh. I hope he gets crabs from a tranny prostitute and then gives them to his mother.

  • Jessica

    A friend once told me that her mother in law works with a member of the Phelps clan for the Kansas Insurance Commissioner in Topeka. His job? A recruiter in HR. I couldn’t find any validity to this on the website, but figured I’d share.

  • Mike

    Valdyr and Claudia,

    Okay, perhaps you have me convinced he is the real deal. Its just so hard to tell sometimes. Cant we send this photo to CSI-Topeka or something for analysis?

    And cant they please drag their knuckles a bit lower so it is obvious who is who…I am have trouble figuring out who to laugh at

  • anothermike

    According to Wikipedia, Mr. Phelps is a Democrat. Huh?

  • Siamang
  • Sarah (the one in the picture)

    That guy was either a real Phelps guy, or the other 5 protesters there were totally okay with him pretending to be one of them…. I have photos of us with a female protester (who was spouting Bible verses like her life depended on it) as well, they just didn’t show the shirts as well/legibly, so I didn’t include them here. Happy to put up more photos somewhere if someone still has serious doubts and actually cares.

    The group was strung all down the street, trying to get as many motorists to notice them as possible. They only bunched up when some poor soul tried to actually debate with them.

    And they seriously didn’t care about our shirts. We walked right up to them and politely asked for photos, and they didn’t care. I’m sure it was, as someone else already said, their view that any publicity is good publicity.

  • Richard Wade

    Westboro Baptist Church. Protecting America’s Rectums Since 1955.

  • Jen

    I love some of the WBC protests- the University of Chicago frat boys come to mind- but I can’t help but think that it would be better if we stopped paying attention to Mr God Hates Fags/America/Canada/Cake/Ponies/Happiness. Would they bother if they couldn’t make money by suing the people that whack them?

  • muggle

    Claudia, thanks for that link! I had a really bad day and I needed the laugh. That was freaking hilarious!

    ButchKitties, I like that Phelps-a-thon idea.

    WBC is coming to a high school near me. We get hit locally this weekend to protest a play about Matthew Sheperd that the school is doing in response to a former protest at their school. Go kids!

    This school has some pretty rough kids. They’re continually having issues with after school violence, gang violence, etc. We had traffic stopped once (I was on a bus in the midst of it, yay!) for kids spilling out into the streets for several blocks fighting and another time 50 kids chased one kid home. Phelps may not know who they’re taking on this time but, sadly, those probably aren’t the kids they’ll be clashing with. I almost wish they were. Almost. Not quite insane enough to really want to see the blood run in the street.

  • KCSlummin

    I drove by this event and I flew all of them the bird. Fuck Phelps.


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