Using Westboro Baptist Church as a Fundraiser

There are a number of clever ways to respond when Fred Phelps‘ Westboro Baptist Church comes to your area to protest… whatever ridiculous thing they’re protesting.

Recently, the Pastafarians at the University of South Carolina counter-protested with funny signs:

Cute. Funny. Attention-getting.

But there’s an even better way to respond to the hate.

I’m especially excited because this one took place at my alma mater, the University of Illinois at Chicago.

UIC student Jason Connell used the protest as a way to raise money for the organizations that are subject to the wrath of WBC. Groups like the Human Rights Campaign, International AIDS Foundation and the Chicago-based Jerusalem Open House.

Donations were named in honor of the Westboro Baptist Church and community thank you cards will be sent from the non-profits to WBC leader Fred Phelps. Connell called it a, “Lemons to Lemonade” situation.

The thank-you cards are a nice touch :)

It’s a great way to capitalize on the publicity that the Phelps clan always brings with them.

(Thanks to Jon for the link!)

  • http://metalmeredith.com Meredith

    Richmond, Virginia hosted those lovely folks from WBC last month. A few of our residents decided to also do a fund drive and donated the proceeds to the Holocaust Museum, ROSMY and the Jewish Community Center.

    Here is a link to their Pennies in Protest drive that made $14,000!

    http://wbclovesjewsandgays.chipin.com/wbc-loves-rva

  • Houndies

    What a clever idea. Too bad more people dont think up stuff like this.

  • Roxane

    There are no words to describe how much I love the creative minds in the younger generation! Rock on, Jason!

  • Canadiannalberta

    Brilliant idea Jason. :) Show ‘em we don’t want hate!

  • http://reanhouse.blogspot.com Sarah

    Genius! I cannot think of a better way to fight the hatred of WBC! Now if we could do fundraisers as well as amusing signs…

  • http://www.givesgoodemail.com Givesgoodemail

    THANK YOU, Jason Connell!

    What a brilliant idea.

    The rat bastards at WBC really get under my scalp.

    Kinda like lice, only not as wholesome.

  • Hybrid

    Absolutely brilliant. The WBC has arranged to come to my region twice, both times canceling. If they ever do decide to come through on a protest, I know exactly what I’ll be arranging!

  • Nerdette

    When they came to UChicago (that OTHER university in Chicago-land), we also had a fundraiser for some LGBT groups, not to mention some great music thanks to the frat house that the WBC petitioned in front of (since it was next to the seminary they were targeting). I was holding a sign on the opposite corner, and one of the men from the seminary came over to me and said that usually they dislike the loud music from the frat, but today it wasn’t so bad.

  • James

    What annoys me is that in the beginning of the video you can clearly see one of the morons wearing/dragging the American flag on the ground.
    Why was the officer on scene not immediately up that guys ass for desecration of the flag and for breaking the flag code, which contrary to popular belief if not just a code, but a law.
    http://www.ushistory.org/betsy/flagcode.htm

  • JulietEcho

    Such an awesome idea! The problem with Westboro’s giant amounts of publicity is turned around beautifully this way :-)

  • Staceyjw

    This guys really got a great idea that needs promotion. We should each send this to the organizers of the anti-rally’s in the town we live in, so it spreads far and wide. You can usually find out who stages the counter protests online or Facebook, many are organized through gay rights groups. (I’ll send it to the San Diego group.)

    Can you imagine if this happened at EVERY site? I LOVE IT! Brilliant!

  • Alex

    Another good tactic is to buy a freethought or related progressive magazine gift subscription of your choice for your friendly neighborhood fundamentalist politician.

  • Justin

    @James: And where are the penalties for violating the flag code?

  • Tim

    There was a facebook group that formed last year, when the WBC announced plans to do an appearance in my home town. The group raised funds for the Matthew Shepherd foundation. I don’t remember how much they made. If I remember correctly, there was also a Jewish Organization that had some funds raised for them on the same day.
    I believe it was the 7th of December when they appeared here and in Philadelphia.

  • bigjohn756

    Great idea! The more protests the WBC stages the more money their targets get. And, the WBC provides the publicity! Thank you cards are a perfect touch. Perhaps, after a while, they will stop their hateful Christian activities…nah, that’ll never happen.

  • muggle

    I like it! I really, really like it.

    Even individually this can be done. For WBC and all the haters. Give to the charity that helps what they hate and have a card sent to them saying a donation was made in your name to whatever.

    This brings new meaning to the phrase kill them with kindness.

    I like Alex’ suggestion too! Also, churches, especially mega churches, that send those annoying advertisements around certainly deserve a nontract from FFRF in return.

  • fritzy

    I love it! What a great way to combat hate. If there is any way to get these folks to disappear, this is it. After a while, they may get the hint that it’s not that no one wants them protesting, but, even worse for WBC, no one really cares. The only significance they play is to rally the opposition into action.

  • Rachel

    wonderful Jason! These people are full of hate and the only way to get them down is with us pulling together! We are all stronger than a few hateful people!

  • kyrosion

    This is an excellent tactic… and one we plan on utilizing here at Virginia Tech when the WBC shows up here (if they follow through with their plans) on the 9th… The student response and planning skyrocketed as soon as the word got out about WBC’s plans to show up.

  • TheGardener

    Muggle – thanks for the idea to make this an indiviual effort. Not only does it give me a personal means of action, but it could be huge quickly!

  • Heather

    This is such a brilliant idea! Will try to duplicate on Tuesday when they come to Nebraska to protest at a soldier’s funeral. Can’t think of a better way to show them that people won’t stand for this kind of hatred.

  • Diane

    Great idea and something I will remember next time I hear they are in the Atlanta area.