This is inspired by the “Let’s paint a rainbow house across from the Westboro Church” meme on Facebook from several weeks ago, as well as the newest “Let’s whine about WBC threatening to picket the funerals in Boston” meme. I have avoided writing about this hate group in the past. I’ve hesitated mentioning them on any social media, or even discussing them aloud around anyone I know. I won’t even show a photo of them here or link to any site where you can read about them. I have an understanding about them I feel many well-intentioned people do not, so I want to share that now.
The Westboro Baptist freaks are attention whores. They love the negative publicity. They love it the way you love homemade mac and cheese, potato chips, and ice cream. They love it the way you love a good wine or beer. They love it the way you love good sex (something that–clearly–none of them are getting on a regular basis). Do any of you understand yet? There is absolutely nothing you can say or do that will ever discourage their behavior. They want you to react the way you’re reacting because they get off on it.
Though my family has evolved a great deal on this issue and I applaud them for it, I did grow up around several Southern Baptist churches and congregants who feel only slightly more englightened about gays than the Phelps clan. I also spent many futile hours in my early 20s (when AOL was a new, novel concept) arguing with fundamentalist Christians about all sorts of issues in online chatrooms. So let me explain how most of their brains work.
They believe that most of the world is evil–including you and anyone else who dares to argue with them. They hold a psychotic belief that they are God warriors with special access to a higher power and its design for the universe. They already know they are right. They don’t lead examined lives, they don’t question what they’ve been taught, and they will absolutely regard you with disdain no matter what you say. If you manage to make any logical point while arguing with them, they will simply dismiss you as doing the devil’s work of trying to confuse them (the same way they dismiss all of the scientific evidence for evolution, dinosaurs, or the age of the planet).
We’re not talking about your Aunt or Brother-in-Law or friend at work who can sit down and have a conversation about political or social issues and discuss things in a rational manner. We’re talking about a tiny, inbred, completely insular group of people who do not care about your beliefs or about examining any of their own.
Painting rainbow houses across from their church, calling them to insult Fred or Shirley, ranting about them on Twitter or Facebook, writing about them in your blog (yes, I see the irony), sharing articles all over social media, calling radio or TV stations, discussing them with friends, and showing up to protest their idiotic gatherings only gives them exactly what they want: more and more attention.
They have shown the public their modus operandi countless times. They only announce they will protest a funeral, and then just sit back and wait for the response. It gets talked about endlessly on TV, radio, newspapers, social media, etc. Millions of people get worked up and react to it. Then, most of the time, the WBC folk don’t even bother showing up at these protests. They have carried out a successful mission just by announcing it.
So how many times are you going to let them get away with this nonsense? They behave like spoiled children, and we keep giving them the attention they crave but don’t deserve. If you really want to piss them off and force them back into their cave, ignore them. Don’t discuss them, don’t attend counter-protests, don’t watch news broadcasts with stories about them, don’t share things on social media about them, etc., etc.
Pretend like they don’t exist, and they will fade away.
I’m torn about anyone even sharing this article, but it may be necessary. I’m hoping its message catches on.