How to Deal with Westboro Baptist Church

This is the best example of positive organized action against religious hatred. Take notes for when Fred Phelps and family visit your town.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca is a writer, speaker, YouTube personality, and unrepentant science nerd. In addition to founding and continuing to run Skepchick, she hosts Quiz-o-Tron, a monthly science-themed quiz show and podcast that pits comedians against nerds. There is an asteroid named in her honor. Twitter @rebeccawatson Mastodon Instagram @actuallyrebeccawatson TikTok @actuallyrebeccawatson YouTube @rebeccawatson BlueSky

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  1. A complaint:

    The “Upcoming Events” Agenda to the right of this video covers up part of the video even in full screen mode using Firefox browser and it is quite annoying.

  2. FTW! The thank you cards are a nice touch.

    At the WBC counter-protest I went to, there were big jars being passed around by the organizers for the Human Rights Campaign as well. WBC didn’t even show up and money was raised!

  3. Fantastic. A wonderful idea of feedback applied to a good cause. For those who can’t view it, the basic idea is to not protest, but solicit donations at WBC protests – donations to go toward the groups WBC is protesting against, with said donations made “in honor of” WBC, and a thank you card sent back to WBC for each one.

    A terrific turnaround of the “there is no bad publicity” motif.

  4. It’s a great idea, but not quite original. I remember reading about the WBC protesting outside a gay bar and restaurant in Ann Arbor back in 2001. The owners organised a fundraiser where people donated so much per minute of the Phelps protest, raising $7500 for a local LGBT community centre.

    Good on Jason, though. The world needs more of this, at least till the likes of WBC is a distant, fading memory.

  5. I think that’s a really good idea because he’s turning a negative into a positive. This is not the main reason for doing it, but it will help the image of nonbelievers and skeptics.

  6. Back in 2001 in Madison Wisconsin we had a fundraiser when they came and protested here – People pledged a certain amount for each MINUTE that the WBC protested. We called it Every Minute Counts, and it meant that we actually cheered for them to stay longer.

    I was one of the small group of people that organized the fundraiser, and we raised $4000 for a scholarship fund. It ended up giving $1000 to each of 4 queer youth to attend college.

  7. By far the best response. I hope what he suggests does happen and this technique catches on (or like fenderplayer96’s and devianttouch’s versions).

    The best thing about the thank-you cards is I can only imagine what kind of mailing lists the WBC is going to get on. If they aren’t already, they’re going to get metric buttloads of solicitations from the ACLU, Jewish Anti-Defamation League, ILGA, GLAAD, amFAR, and — oh sweet ghost of my grandma, I can only hope — Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

    Someone has to sort through that mail, and after seeing enough of those logos eventually his or her head will explode.

  8. @ZenMonkey:

    Someone has to sort through that mail, and after seeing enough of those logos eventually his or her head will explode.

    Sadly, I fear that the heads of Mr Phelps and his family are so calcified internally with hatred and dogma that even a stick of dynamite gaffer-taped to their bonces wouldn’t even make a dent. :(

  9. What everyone else has said… brilliant idea! I just hope they didn’t get harangued by the WBC mob whilst collection donations.

  10. Our local Planned Parenthood does the same thing with pledges for pickets. People donate to the free care fund (which, being private money, can be used to provide abortion services to those who can’t afford to pay the fee.) I don’t know that it stops them, but it does raise a lot of money for the cause.

  11. Is anyone else bothered that such a self-righteous organization is dragging the US flag around on the ground?

    I mean, it’s their right and all, but it seems needlessly disrespectful. I mean, they apparently want to alienate both people who understand gay-rights issues AND anyone who actually, you know, respects the symbols of our country.

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