Fred Phelps and his Phuckheads picketed outside my friend’s synagogue on Rosh Hashanah. Like the staff at the JCC and LGBT shul here in NYC, who were targets last year, the rabbi in IL asked that there be no counter-protests; his advice was to ignore ignore ignore. This makes sense; if we all acted as if the Phelps phamily were invisible, they’d go away. They thrive on negative attention. If the media completely ignored them, maybe they’d take up hate-needlepoint.
But this does not mean we shouldn’t use their hate toward our own nefarious homo- and Jew-loving ends. I liked the strategy of Congregation Beth Simhat Torah, the LGBT shul, when Phelps and clan protested last year. They turned the event into a fundraiser, with supporters pledging money for every minute Phelps was outside the synagogue. The Westboro bullies stayed 47 minutes; the synagogue raised $13,500. Afterward, Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum sent Phelps a thank-you note. Ooh, burn.
If Phelps’s crew picketed my kid’s day care center, a soldier or hate crime victim’s funeral in my community, a shul or JCC near me, I’d pull a Kleinbaum. But that doesn’t mean I don’t love collecting stories and pictures of the best protest signs seen at various counter-protests. They may be wrong, but they feel so right.
I IS AT UR PROTEST, SUPPORTIN UR JEWS
GOD LOVES HIS SILKY, SMOOTH LEGS
Yo Westboro Baptist Church, I’m happy for you and Imma let you finish but
Adolf Hitler was the best anti-Semite of ALL TIME!
DOG LOVES FAGS (on an actual dog)
GOD HATES PONIES (on a guy dressed as a unicorn)
GOD HATES FIGS
GOD HATES SIGNS
GOD HATES #TAGS
GOD HATES FLAGS
GOD HATES FUZZY, TINY KITTENS
I HAVE A SIGN
GOD HATES SHRIMP
GOD HATES JENGA
GOD: NEVER GONNA GIVE YOU UP
GOD: NEVER GONNA LET YOU DOWN
GOD: NEVER GONNA RUN AROUND AND DESERT YOU
GOD HATES RETWEETS
IF GOD WON’T LOVE YOU, WE WILL
I WAS PROMISED DONUTS
This year, Westboro protested at San Diego’s Comic-Con, the huge annual comic book/sci-fi/fantasy convention. (Presumably because sci-fi is satanic? Chthulu knows.) Counter-protesters there were pretty funny:
THE CYLONS DESTROYED THE 12 COLONIES FOR YOUR SINS
HELLO MY NAME IS INIGO MONTOYA YOU KILLED MY FATHER PREPARE TO DIE
MAGNETS: HOW THE *?#! DO THEY WORK?
PASS THE MUTANT REGISTRATION ACT
Awesome, right? So on the one hand, I’m saying “Don’t do this.” On the other hand, I’m saying “This is awesome.” Life, she is full of contradictions, no?