The considered opinion of the Westboro Baptist Church.
However, America has a much more vicious breed of zealot – The Westboro Baptist Church. Run by pastor Fred Phelps, these douchebags believe that God hates America, and indeed the world, because we allow and accept homosexuality. They make signs proclaiming “God Hates Fags” “Thank God for AIDS” and “Thank God For 9/11″, and display them at gay rights marches, political rallies, and even funerals. You read that right – they picket funerals. Anyone is fair game, be it the students who died at Virginia Tech, the victims of the Amish School Shooting, and even the funerals of dead soldiers. They preach hate, they say, “because the Bible preaches hate”, and they picket funerals because “when people go to funerals, they have thoughts of mortality, heaven, hell, eternity… on their minds. It’s the perfect time to warn them of things to come”.
And now, they’re coming to London.
On March 27th, from 2pm to 3pm, they’ll attempt to picket George Tomlinson Primary School in Waltham Forest, Leytonstone – a school whose LGBT history month has, so the TES reports, “virtually eliminated homophobic bullying”. Their vitriolic and barely-literate press release has to be seen to be believed. Most interestingly, they don’t seem to be very troubled by the fact, that, er, they’ve been banned from entering the UK. But as Fred’s daughter Shirley points out, “There are members of WBC that are not named Phelps, so [the authorities] might have their work cut out for them.”
Clearly, there’s no danger of them converting anyone – their church has less than 100 members, most of whom are directly related to ol’ Fred – but the distress they cause to others from their relentless campaigning simply cannot be overstated. These venomous pests have just two objectives in their life: to preach hate, and to create as much heartache and sorrow in others as they possibly can.
We Londoners have two choices. Our first is to treat them like we treat Christian Voice: by ignoring them. Don’t give them a single moment of attention, and hope that they go away. This is a charming idea, and one which I dearly wish would work, but a quick glance at their history shows that this simply won’t happen. And besides, rational thinking clearly isn’t something that comes naturally to them.
Our second choice is to fight back – and hard. With that in mind, why not book next Friday off of work, and protest against their protest? Take rainbow flags, take leaflets and colour and music and fun, and most importantly, take some interesting picket signs. I suggest “God Hates Fred Phelps”, “God Hates Westboro Baptist Church”, or as a friend of mine suggested, “God Hates Overcompensating For Obvious Closet Homosexuality”. Can you think of any other equally appropriate picket slogans? Please do let us know in the comments.