In the world of protestors, there are the revolutionary type (Arab Spring) and the pacifist/sit-in type (Occupy Wall Street), and then you have the bat-shit crazy, inappropriate, and downright horrible type. The notorious Westboro Baptist Church falls under that last category. The hateful yet exceptionally well organized group travels the country to protest military funerals, the U.S. government, Jewish people, and most prominently, homosexuals.
Several members were in town yesterday to protest the 2013 Southern Baptist Convention taking place at the George R. Brown. Although their name includes the term "Baptist", Westboro is not affiliated with either the Baptist World Alliance or the Southern Baptist Convention.
The Houston Police Department was on hand to keep the peace between the church, which in this instance only included five members, and the dozen or so counter-protesters who also held up signs and chanted anti-hate slogans towards the Westboro members.
Westboro set up across the street facing the convention center, and with the help of a Bose portable iPod speaker box, they begun to sing and chant lyrics that included diatribes against "perverts, sodomy, lust, and gays". The songs were covers of pop music hits, including Green Day's American Idiot, Maroon 5's This Love, and Ke$sha's We R Who We R.
The worst was a track that opened with the lyrics "God came to Boston in the spring time, and he said 'BOOM'!"
The counter-protest attempted to drown out the hate speech by singing the actual lyrics of the songs, and shouting things like "We love fags!" and "Fags love you, love us back!"
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One convention attendee took time to attempt a civilized conversation with the group, but was immediately attacked with accusations of ignorance and stupidity. "You don't know what I believe!" one Westboro protestor responded. After sensing that his attempts were futile, he walked away, offering a "God bless you."
One of the counter protesters, DJ Remix, who took to Facebook to invite his friends and family to counter protest with him, offered this:
The main reason I went to poke fun of Westboro is because these folks are attention whores with an insane message, and when they show up people usually just talk about how horrible their message is and how cold and evil they [etc]. BUT... if you show up and poke fun at them, not try to be combative and argue with them and try to make them see the light, it takes away a little of their power. It goes from "these horrible people picketing a soldier's funeral" to "a bunch of protesters yellin' with weird signs everywhere."
By no means do I think I or anyone else will ever be able to "win" over Westboro and Shirley Phelps (hey boo*) and make them realize how shitty they are, so I don't see the point in arguing with them. So instead, I'd rather poke fun and protest protests, cause 'they don't accomplish shit.'
No more protests. Get back to work. Make yourself useful.
After the jump, check out photos from the protest.