Oh hai Phelps clan!
So, amidst my own personal issues combined with the mounting stress of returning to school, I’ve been a little quiet on the blog scene. However, I am back and ready to rock!
Last week I got wind that the infamous Westboro Baptist Church (godhatesfags.com) was coming to various cities across South Florida. Not only that – but they were actually going to protest at my old high school: Fort Lauderdale High. (Go Flying L’s)! Anyhow, never one to pass up an opportunity to piss off the fundamentally-ridiculous religious, I made a few signs and headed over at 7am on Wednesday morning.
The few of us that had planned on making the first counter-protest of the day had agreed to meet up at… well, you’ll see.
Around 7:05am-ish a friend of mine had showed up and so we headed straight down (the sidewalk in view) and set up camp across the street from the Phelps clan. The first thing I noticed was the large police presence. I assume this was not only because of the issue of arguments between the nutcases and the general public, but also for protection from them – especially since there were children nearby.
On “our” side there was myself, Jarek (a FLASH member), and a friendly bishop. This bishop, in fact, I found out was a master of several forms of martial arts. He’s a ninja priest! So awesome. Anyway, his protest was in reference to the crazy signs that the WBC uses that are anti-Jew. His sign was more or less about how Jesus was a Jew – do you hate him, too? Not that I even think Jesus was a real person, but if I believed biblical literature then I’d understand his point. So, what were the signs from the “other side” you ask?
At 7:40am on the dot – the Phelps’ (including Fred’s wife, Shirley, and grandsons) hopped into a circling black sedan and jetted off to their next stop: a Jewish Community Center (of course) in Plantation, FL.
Having lived in the area all of my life, I was quite certain we could make it there before the WBC freaks and prepare another counter. This time Jarek and I were joined by Chet (another FLASH member) and a gentleman from the JCC. We marched up and down Sunrise Blvd ahead of the area where the Phelps’ were protesting as a “forewarning” of what was just ahead.
We had lots of honks and hollers in our favor, but because the actual protest only consisted of four or five crazies I suppose it was hard to grasp what was going on until you got right up next to them. Overall, it was a decent day. It was definitely a quieter show than what had been done on previous days during the WBC’s trip, but that’s probably a good thing. They didn’t receive any media coverage at the locations I visited, and while that means we didn’t get exposure – neither did they. I think it was important to go counter and show that people don’t agree with what they do, but I also believe that giving such a cantankerous group a lot of attention can be dangerous.