Scenes from the Portland Counter-Protest That Drove Off the Westboro Baptist Church

Comments

1
Yup we dun run them varmints outta our town Santa Monica also.

You done good Seattle.
2
Almost makes Portland look smart, what after the whole fluoride thing.
3
Down with pants! Now that's a protest I can get behind.
4
@1:

It was Portland, not Seattle, but nevertheless I'm sure they appreciate the sentiment.
5
There's just something magnificent about the over-the-top commitment to ridiculousness that inspires someone to make and carry a sign that says "FAG NBA". Stephen Colbert couldn't make that kind of shit up on his best day.
6
That was after they protested the gay Christians! I was there :-) A bunch of Portland Christians came out to counter protest and so did a rainbow ;-)
7
This was after they protested the lgbt Christian conference. I was there. Counter protestors showed up to block them. So did a rainbow ;-)
8
Oh my god this makes me happy. WELL DONE PORTLAND!
9
Thank God for Portland!!
10
I honestly think they will fade away now that Fred Phelps is dead. They never would have turned tail and run under his watchful (and fiercely vindictive) eye.
11
I'm not an activist sort of person, but if these fucking idiots showed up in my neighborhood I would show up with a baseball bat.
12
1. No matter how abhorrent their message, the Westboro Baptist Church has as much right as I do to express an opinion. To me it is just as ugly to try to turn off someone else's message simply because you disagree with it.

2. When are these "counter protesters" going to learn that all the WBC craves is heat? The best thing you can do is to ignore them. Even articles like this feed their goal of gaining attention for their fringe views.
13
@12

Westboro's MO is to make sure their media stunts are so intrusive that they can't be ignored.

But also, you're right, it's pretty damned dickish to celebrate or contribute to shutting down the speech and peaceful free assembly of people who happen to hold beliefs you really, really don't like.

These sorts of event are useful, I guess, for learning which ideals are most important to anyone burping up opinions about the thing. Not sure that really gets us anywhere, though.
14
@12:

Nobody stopped them, they could have continued demonstrating their hate-spewing until the cows came home. I suspect they decided to turn tail and run because they realized the other protesters had succeeded in refocusing media attention away from themselves. In effect, the counter protest did precisely what you suggest in your second point is the root of WBC's motivation: take away their heat and they're nothing.
15
Well if I've learned anything from Slog I've learned this.

It is not a violation of anyone's 1st Amendment rights unless it inconveniences someone trying to shop.
16
I remember when we first protested back in '74 in Seattle at the "public safety" building.. 7 of us. That night every gay bar was raided by the cops. Something you can't imagine today. Being gay was illegal. The old school gays hated us for that. The 614 and many other bars were taught a lesson. It wasn't the lesson they were hoping for however. Thank goodness.
17
@13 really?

We want to hear more from these people? You don't want their beautiful free speech shouted down?

Fuck OFF
18
Oh wow, missed a great opportunity to put on the Sinestro cosplay and protest the Green lantern Corps....
19
@17, nobody want to hear more from these people, but they have the right to assemble without feeling physically threatened.

20
Popular speech doesn't need protection, it's the fringe that the 1st ammendment covers.
21
Remember everyone: Only the government is restricted from stepping on your speech, private citizens/groups are more than within their rights to block or shout down your speech if they can do so legally, for better or for worse.

And I know that this is reaching holocaust level crimes against humanity to some commenters, but this applies even if your holiday shopping trip was mildly inconvenienced.
22
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead
23
@19: Scum like them should feel grateful that their lives aren't being threatened.
24
@23, I will fight for the right for WBC to peacefully assemble.

No matter how offensive the message.

Should they be shouted down? Hell yes. But if you think threatening someone's life for saying something you don't agree with is OK, then I don't know what to say.
26
The WBC message isn't free speech-it's hate speech. Would you defend the KKK if they had showed up? When they have signs saying "Death Penalty 4 Fags" that's not speech that should be defended by the 1st amendment.

Yes, they want attention, but they're not going to get it when there is epic counter-protests like these. Sure, the media will cite a WBC protest as the reason for it, but the majority of the publicity goes to the counter-protest and their message of tolerance not hate.
27
Yay Portland! Love ya!
28
I think the infiltrator had the right idea, though that does mean you have to be within spitting distance of the WBC stooges. And I have no doubt that they spit like camels.
29
@24: I lump them in with Nazis.