Time for Your Shot—It's Just a Little Prick


So the Westboro Baptist Church—the "God hates fags" people—decided to picket the San Diego ComicCon yesterday, on the grounds that "They have turned comic book characters into idols." The fans in turn decided to picket the picketers. Bleeding Cool has posted a bunch of the signs and costumes on display. For example:

Bleeding Cool

This sort of response has happened frequently enough by now that Jeffrey Weiss suspects that Westboro Baptist is doing more to advance tolerance than to undermine it:

I'd like to offer a limited but real defense for the Phelpsists: They're an attenuated virus vaccine for the American body politic.

Such a vaccine takes a live disease virus and weakens it in some way. For the vast majority of people, the vaccine causes no serious side effects, and instead provokes an immune response that creates a long-term protection against the deadlier form of the ailment….

[I]n every case, in every city, Westboro's targets are forced to confront the issues raised by the protests. How does this community feel about hating homosexuals? Or Jews? What are the appropriate ways to respond to the pickets? How certain are we that we know the will of God as expressed in our sacred texts? What is the best and most effective way to recruit opponents to Westboro?…

What I've yet to find is anything more than a few isolated voices raised in support of the Phelpsists. They gain no converts to their cause, no support for their hatreds. Even those churches where members agree with some of the theology are so repulsed by the way the Phelpsists make their case that they distance themselves.

So Westboro provokes a beneficial response, while causing little or no lasting harm. Just like the vaccine.

Maybe so. Though I find it easier to nod my head at that when the Phelpsites are protesting the ComicCon than when they're protesting a funeral.

Weiss' full argument is here. The Bleeding Cool gallery is here. More photos from the protest are here. The secret origins of Fred Phelps are detailed here.

NEXT: Mandatory Nonsense

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  1. God I love nerds.

    1. It’s the cheetos stains that makes them sexy.

  2. What are the appropriate ways to respond to the pickets?

    Bear spray seems appropriate.

    1. As much as I don’t like Michael Moore, this seems wonderfully spiteful.

      1. I detest Moore more than stepping on dog shit barefoot. But that is ass fucking awesome.

        1. It was awesome, even if it was Michael Moore.

      2. Moore once had a group of female singers, dressed as the Supremes, ambush a bunch of skin-head, white power types and sing “Stop! In the name of Love”.

        He finds an acorn every now and then.

        1. Back in the TV Nation days, I sometimes encountered people on the right who were Moore fans. I think they just appreciated the fact that *someone* was doing political satire on TV, even if he was on the other side.

          1. I was one of those people Jesse. TV nation was a funny show. And he was mostly sticking it to people who were asking for it. He did one skit where he went outside companies and demanded that the CEO perform a basic task relating to the business (auto executives change the oil in a car, computer company CEOs reformat an old 5×7 disk). It was really inventive and funny.

            1. As I recall, one of the CEOs actually did come out and do an oil-change, and seemed pretty good-natured about it, didn’t he? Can’t remember if that was Ford or GM, though.

              1. Yeah one did. I think it was Ford but a I could be wrong. That was the thing about TV nation. It wasn’t totally designed to make the subjects look bad. If they were good natured and went along with it, it made them look rather good. If they were arrogant assholes, it revealed them for who they really were.

  3. So Fred Phelps causes autism?

    1. Yes, and prolonged virginity as well.

  4. silly faggots – dicks are for chicks!

    1. Go find an original handle, dipshit.

      1. There’s been a rash of handle theft recently.

        I hear reason is starting its own swat team to handle the issue.

        1. If you spoof…We will shoot your dog.

          1. That would be National Lampoon theft.

      2. You wouldn’t mumble so much if you took my dick out of your mouth.

      3. No exceptions for cancer survivors?

      4. your naughts are bigger!

  5. Jesse, you didn’t say there were going to be furries in the link. WTF man? You gotta give people a heads up on that shit.

    1. Apologies to barfman: *barf*


  7. I particularly liked the guy urging Congress to pass the Mutant Registration Act now.

  8. Phelps is doing God’s work:

    So Westboro provokes a beneficial response, while causing little or no lasting harm.

    He just moves in mysterious ways.

  9. NERDS!!!

  10. I’d like to see them try that outside the Latverian Embassy.

  11. “Keep Organ Repossession Legal”

    Nerds. F.T.W.

  12. What this world needs is a *new* comic book series. One that depicts, in graphic detail, Phelps’s torrid affair with Jimmy Swaggart. Surely there is someone at Comic Con that can handle this assignment without barfing.

    1. Not a bad idea. Only instead of Swaggart, have one of the guys whose ministry “converts” gays to heterosexuality. Like in the Mr. Show skit.

    2. Probably not necessary. You know at some point this guys going to go off the deep end and do a Craig or Swaggert himself. Its inevatable.

  13. I am glad to see you nerds stand up for yourselves.

  14. My inner fangirl feels a sudden and nearly irresistible desire to own that t-shirt. It’s pretty much a done deal, too, since in this universe, anyway, there’s no discernible difference between her and me, except that she’s aging more slowly.

  15. While everybody denounces the Phelpsies, let’s not forget that our god given, natural rights of protest, protected by the first amendment, are not trumped by the family members of dead soldiers seeking to have funeral protests banned.

    1. I don’t think anyone is forgetting that.

      But that doesn’t change the fact that the Phelps morons are insensitive fucks who deserve to be insulted and mocked.

      I agree that their rights of protest trump the rights of the family members of dead soldiers seeking to have funeral protests banned, but that doesn’t make them any less of an asshole.

      1. Sure, the Phelpsies have no right not to be mocked and ridiculed. No debate on that issue.

        However, there is a bill pending in Congress that would prohibit such protests. A person supporting such legislation is every bit the asshole Phelps is.

        1. What’s the bill and what is it proposing?

          1. I erred; I confused what I read the other day from an article penned by John W. Whitehead which was carried at on July 20, 2010. In the article, Mr. Whitehead noted that 42 United States senators had filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court in support of the parties suing Phelps.

            My bad. I am going to read the brief and check to see if there is legislation pending.

        2. Besdies, the family members and friends of the dead soldiers should be focusing their ire upon the Leviathan, not the Phelpsies.

          Perhaps they should ask themselves why the deceased did not have the intestinal fortitude, integrity and common sense to avoid getting dirty with the real enemy. Perhaps the they should ask themselves why the deceased decided to join a state sponsored military organization and why they did not have the stones to stand on their own, to make it without feeding off of what others make and produce.

          1. ^This is a prime example of “polishing the decoder ring”

            1. Heh. Even in a game of More Libertarian Than Thou, however, I do not recall too many people taking the position that providing for the common defense is not a legitimate function of the government, a function which supposes the existence of a military.

              Beyond that, as the mother of a Marine I resent the implication that members of the armed forces are sponging, braindead losers. My son is not a sheep or an easily led dupe. He is intelligent, self-motivated and driven, both aware of and immune to the pressure to conform to the authoritarian political mindset common– though by no means universal– in the military. I don’t feel any real need to explain or defend his reasons and motives for enlisting, and I fail to understand anybody else’s need to assume that they know what is in his mind. Believing that people in military service can only be there because they lack the ability to make their own decisions, seeing them as nothing more than interchangeable, mindless drones reveals a breathtaking lack of respect for the notion of people as autonomous individuals in possession of free will. I don’t claim ideological purity, and see the demand for it as a collectivist enterprise unbecoming to libertarians, but I think we can agree that seeing the individual as meaningless, having identity only as part of a group, defies even the broadest definition of libertarian.

              1. There is nothing libertarian about joining a state sponsored military organization which derives its funding from the confiscation of other people’s wealth. Yes, your son has free will jusr as any other person who chooses to get cozy with Caesar.

                There is nothing libertarian about assisting others in making war upon and killing those who have not attacked you and do not pose a threat to you; if you respect the dignity of each and every individual, you would guide your son to make his own way and not derive his income from the confiscated wealth of other individuals who actually made and produced something upon a voluntary basis and you would counselyour son would not to go (if he went to Iraq or Afghanistan) to another land and inflict mayhem upon other people. What about their dignity and free will?

                If you and your son respected the dignity of each and every individual, why would you defend his decision to add to the financial burdens of others in the form of the continuation of the income tax and the debt our children and grandchildren will inherit?

                Just as a refresher, there is no constitutional authorization for a permanent trillion dollar military. Show me where the founding fathers endorsed the notion that there should be a permanent, standing military the cost of which consumes anywhere from one-fifth to one-fourth of our gross domestic product.

                1. Article II, section 2, clause one describes the president as commander and chief of the Army, Navy and state militias, implying that they did in fact want the U.S. to have a standing military. While we can argue about the size it should be – and to be clear, I would love to see it cut considerably, there is no reasonable constitutional argument to be made about it.

                  And while I can’t quote chapter and verse of the Federalist Papers, I do recall a standing military being discussed there as well. There is no question that they saw a need for a permanent standing army and navy, as a first line of defense, in case of attack.

                  Or to make it simpler for you, why don’t you show us where the constitution sets limits on the size and scope of the standing military?

                  Btw, you are rather exemplifying the sort of ideological purity here, that has turned Venezuela into another totalitarian state.

                  1. Du Wayne, Article I, Sec. 8 also provides that congress has the power to “raise and support armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that use shall be for a longer term than Two Years.”

                    Do you subscribe to the theory that if the power sought to be exercised by the federal government is authorized by the constitution if said power is not proscribed? You are sure arguing that way. It is what statist zealots do.


                    1. Du Wayne, the state is the agent of the citizen principal. Does the agent have more power than that which the principal grants?

                      There is simply no green light for the government to make war on foreign soil. Show us where there is language in the constitution that states either the Congress or the Executive has the power to make war on foreign soil. It does not exist.

                      Libertarianism is not about accepting the state. It is not about reading that which is not there into the constitution. It is not about being an apologist for the state.

                    2. Wow, you really are kind of insane. There are all sorts of things not explicitly specified in the constitution that are, nonetheless considered implicit to the constitution. Show us where the constitution provides this absolute freedom from the impositions of the state you are so very upset about. Show us where the constitution states that things are as black and white as you make them out to be. Frankly your assumptions are just as absurd as the notion that we should have invaded Iraq and Afghanistan.

          2. Um, what?

            Are you blaming the soldiers?

            Let me try again. What’s the bill and what is it proposing?

            1. See my post at 1:11pm.

              There already is a statute on the books. It can be found at 38 USC sec. 413(a)(1).

          3. Right-because Phelps and company are just so concerned about policy.

            Remember-they turned out to protest the W. Virginia coal miners who died a few years ago who were doing nothing more provocative than earning a living, because it was a sign of God’s wrath (or something-who the hell knows what goes on in Phelp’s deranged gourd).

            The truth is that this gang of inbreds is after the attention and while it is their right to act like a gang of assholes no one should pretend that they have any other basis than that for what they do.

            1. Hello, this is a libertarian forum, not a statist, slave forum.

              It does not matter the motivation of the Phelpsies. One who is authentically a friend to liberty and to free speech does not pick and choose who and when to defend the same upon the basis of their views towards homosexuality or whether the protesters are jesus freaks.

              1. “Hello, this is a libertarian forum, not a statist, slave forum.”

                Perhaps you missed this part of my previous post: “…while it is their right to act like a gang of assholes…” Don’t see where I’ve called for any kind of “statist, slavist” restriction on their protests.

                I’m going to be generous and assume that the rest of your post flows from missing that point.

                1. The time and energy of free people should be directed at those who are attempting to shut the Phelpsies down.

                  Yes, you are not advocating that they do not have a right to protest. However, imo, many of the posters appear to think that the Phelpsies are a greater threat to freedom than the military /warfare state.

                  1. I’ll devote part of my time and energy to pointing out that I think that Phelps is an enormous asshole who prays on the grief of others to promote himself.

                    He’s not a threat to liberty, but I’ll devote some of my time and energy to opposing those who are.

                    These are entirely different issues and I have enough time and energy to decry each in turn.

                    1. Just for the record, I do not agree with, or approve of, the Phelps message. In addition, it does appear that Phelps is a self promoting prick who would not hesitate to use the state to get his way.

                    2. “Just for the record, I do not agree with, or approve of, the Phelps message. In addition, it does appear that Phelps is a self promoting prick who would not hesitate to use the state to get his way.”

                      Fair enough.

                  2. It’s much easier to swat the fly in your ear then the giant with his foot over your head.

          4. Time and place, man; time and place.

            Phelps and his detestable family of mutant, inbred, ignorant, racist, bigoted fucks can go spread their hate somewhere else than at a grieving family’s funeral for a young son.

            Don’t feed me the crap that saying you can’t stand there screaming about how you’re glad their son is dead violated your First Amendment rights. You want to legitimately protest something, fine – but this is nearly akin to me standing outside your kitchen window and pissing in your Cheerios because I don’t like who you voted for.

            I am all in favor of expansive liberty, but I have a hard time buying into the argument that the right of the people to speak freely was meant to, or should, encompass this reprehensible behavior. At the very least, it seems to me an incitement to violence. Because if I were at a funeral for a dead soldier and Phelps and his fellow cockroaches showed up and started that nonsense, there likely would be an “altercation.” It is provocation and nothing more.

    2. natural rights of protest, protected by the first amendment, are not trumped by the family members of dead soldiers seeking to have funeral protests banned.

      Freedom of speech does not imply the right to an audience. Laws protecting a captive audience from abusive speech are consistent with the spirit of the first amendment.

      1. I’ll agree that your freedom of speech does not obligate MNG to listen. But, your assertion that “laws protecting a captive audience from abusive speech are consistent with the spirit of the first amendment” misses the mark.

        The spirit of the amendment is not deference to censoring those who oppose the military /warfare / welfare state.

        1. There are plenty of public places to protest those things. WBC specifically targets places where the people gathered are not going to be able to leave. Definition of a captive audience.

        2. For the same reason, legislation prohibiting religious songs from being played during baseball games (I’m thinking of the Yankees with God Bless America at the 7th inning stretch) would be consistent with the freedom of religion too — it’s a captive audience.

          1. Is your Yankee point hinged to the fact that taxpayers footed a substantial portion of the new stadium’s construction? It is my understanding that the House built by The Boss was /is a rent seeking affair.

        3. libertymike, you and I both know that the Phelps clan and their ilk are not military objectors. They clamor for the spotlight. In regard to the first amendment, it is illegal if that speech encourages intent to incite a riot. Yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theater would be subject to this. Spewing hateful remarks to a slain young soldier in the presence of their immediate family who are obviously under tremendous duress and grief could be akin to that as well. I know I would not be of sound mind if I were attending my teenage son’s funeral, and a bunch of slack-jawed uncle fuckers screamed out to me about how he deserved to die. I would most likely be encouraged to commit violence on them, and if my fellow grievers fell into suit, that would technically be a riot, especially as defined as “an unbridled outbreak, as of emotions, passions, etc.”

          1. Yes, I know that Phelps is no friend to liberty and that he does not have a beef with the military, per se. I also know that Phelps would consider me to be satan’s pawn.

            Nevertheless, I stand by my posts.

            As for illegal speech, the framers did not qualify or condition the expression of speech. I do not see any exceptions contained in the first amendment. Do you?

            Shouting fire in a crowded theatre is not illegal. In fact, shouting fire in a crowded theatre could save lives.

            1. I think the issue you guys are looking at is called “heckler’s veto” in law.


  16. If not for credible evidence that the Phelpses are actual bigots, I have long though they could be performance artists trying to achieve the opposite of their claimed goals. They have racked up some good wins for the 1st amendment, and they certainly don’t make their case in a very convincing way.

  17. The guy with the “god hates signs” sign was my favourite stealth Phelps counter protester.

  18. The linked gallery sucks and does not have the best photo of the event:

    1. That sign was in the linked gallery, actually. But they didn’t have a close-up that showed the costume.

  19. Then Nazi and racist groups are a vaccine against fascism and racism?

    1. Yes, but only the laughably ineffective ones.

  20. Why try to recruit opponents of hate. If you think God condones homosexuality, same sex partnerships, etc., then live and let live for it is appointed to every man to die once and then the judgement. For we will know the truth and the will of God at the beginning of our eternity!

    1. Yes, I’m looking forward to burning in hell for the way I was born. It’s not my fault females are fat, ugly, and stupid, and it’s not my fault that I don’t have a uterus.

      See, if I make a program that doesn’t perform properly, I take it apart and put it back together so it does. When is god going to do that to me? According to the bible, he’s just going to throw me in a lake of fire. There are plenty of others, why give a shit about me? That’s your god’s “love.”

      I’ll take atheism if it’s going to be the lake of fire no matter what I do anyway.

  21. Nazis in Skokie, flag burners, the Phelps. We all have to put up with these things so that sane people can speak freely. We even have to put up with people who post that the soldiers killed in battle should somehow hop a plane back to the states and fight “the leviathan” rather than the enemy that has been put in front of them by their chain of command. Nevertheless, let me just say that if I ever came across a group of protesters making the grief felt by military families even more painful, if that is possible, I would lay into them and gladly go to jail for the pleasure.

    1. You would probably get your ass kicked as well. And deservedly so for initiating violence.

      1. Have you seen the Phelps idiots? Weaklings. I would avoid hittling the kids, of course. Initiating violence isn’t always a bad thing.

        1. The families of the “fallen heroes” as well as the “fallen heroes” themselves agree that initiating violence is not always a bad thing.

          There is nothing noble about joining a state sponsored military or para-military orgainization and then trespassing upon another’s property and murdering the other.

          1. Noble? Who’s talking nobility? Practical and/or necessary sometimes. And when it is practical and/or necessary, it’s nice to have people trained, and willing to perform in the face of great danger. And when they are killed in the line of duty, they are to be respected. And their families should be left alone in their grief. You can argue whether the mission is practical or necessary. And you have many venues to argue your position. The cemetary is not a good one.

            1. I’ll agree that the cemetary is not the venue I would choose nor is it the venue I would counsel a would be protester to choose.

        2. Initiating violence isn’t always a bad thing.

          Actually the opposite is true.

          1. I don’t. But as I said, if I saw the Westboro people demonstrating a funeral of a soldier, I probably would initiate violence. Of course, the word “initiating” might be interpreted differently by different people.

        3. Initiating violence is exactly what the Phelps’s want you to do. They wait for someone to assault them and then sue them. The only effective thing is to ignore them. If you can’t do that, a clever and hilarious counter protest is a good approach.

          1. They poke you in the chest until you punch them in the face, then play victim.

            These people are proof that sometimes violence is the answer.

          2. what you need is someone judgement-proof. Bumfights?

  22. Westboro visists should be heavvily promoted like Cirque de Soliel. I remember many years ago when the porn film featuring John Wayne Bobbitt was playing in adult theaters (remember those?) and showings were packed with college hipsters going to see it ironically.
    Westboro should be flooded with requests for appearances, and their protests should be surrounded by spectators on camp chairs.

    I also wonder of they’ve ever protested the funeral of someone related to organized crime…

    1. What do you think the state is?

      1. Try convincing a mafia enforcer not to punish you because of your god-given natural rights.

        1. What is it with you and the Mafia? One could make a credible argument that today a good deal of the mafia is on the state’s payroll.

          1. Don’t you mean that a good deal of the state is on the mafia’s payroll?

  23. Way to support Fred Phelps and his mob, everybody?

    Why don’t people get that the Westboro Baptist bunch, like PETA, are attention whores?

    They have to love how you and all the ComicCon crew are feeding their twisted egos with all this publicity.

    Do you want to hurt Phelps and his orcs? Really, really wound them?

    Ignore them. Refuse to mention them. Refuse to acknowledge their existence.

    Then they’ll melt, screaming, like the Wicked Witch of the West in the shower.

    Has no one here heard the expression, “Do not feed the trolls”? And you call yourselves nerds!

  24. One of the biggest things the Phelps have going against them is their tendency to alienate those who would agree with them .

    I hear you’re planning to picket Isaac Hayes funeral. Do you realise that Isaac Hayes was a Scientologist (he left South Park when the program poked fun at scientology) and that the church of Scientology is very definately on your side with respect to fags and dikes.

    L Ron Hubbard teaches that such people are sexual deviants who, if they cannot be cured, should be disposed of quietly and without sorrow.

    You can also do your own research by obtaining copies of Dianetics or asking a true believer in scientology (some one who has been in it a long time) their views on fags, dikes and other sexual deviants and watch how guarded they are in their response, fearful of being seen as “un PC”; a decerning man will detect the truth. Of course the bolder ones may just come out and admit it.

    Whatever other sins Isaac Hayes is guilty of he could hardly support the fags and dikes and belong to the Church of scientology, the two practices are simply incompatible. If you’re planning to base a picket on Isaac Hayes support of fags and dykes you’re ill informed.

    Thank you for your time, keep up the good work.


    Their reply.

    Dear Crack-pipe Charles –

    STEP AWAY from the L. Ron Hubbard crack pipe! YIKES! What kind of nut would buy that nonsense? DOUBLE YIKES!

    You have the Word of God – get the Bible – CRACK THAT – READ THE WORDS and OBEY YOUR GOD!

    Isaac Hayes is in hell – we warn, therefore, we are! :lalala: PERIOD!

    We warn the living to flee the wrath to come! That is our job! Our God is faithful, so we must be faithful! :yes: Our God, who holds the very breath of life in his hands and created all things is the God that gave us this ministry and sent us forth. You need to shut up about your goofy rebellion against HIM and HIS standards and HIS judgments because you change NOTHING about HIM and you bring great wrath upon yourself!

    Don’t miss the excellent videos on

    Thanks for writing.

  25. And unlike God, Superman is real.

    1. Yeah, but if the shirt on that guy in the photo is correct, what happens to the ‘bottom’ guy when Kalel’s sperm comes out ‘faster than a speeding bullet?’*

      *Steal from Larry Niven, BTW. Read his classic “Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex”.

      1. Heh-Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex” is a classic.

        Presumably the “Big, Blue Boy Scout” would be polite enough to pull out first (though he would definitely need some sort of Kryptonite reinforced container close at hand).

  26. Hi folks. Guy in the shirt here…

    1. Best counter-demonstration ever; I never thought I’d actually enjoy seeing Phelps and his roving crew of inbred fuckwits show up somewhere, but giving them a look at truth, justice and the American way in action was truly inspired. Thanks to all involved for making sure that for once he didn’t get to be the story. Awesome signs and shirts too; God loves Gay Robin is pretty epic, but I continue to jones for the one you’re wearing. You guys made my week.

  27. When I get back from Con I’m going to release a line of shirts….

  28. Hi,

    I find this vaccine meme theory interesting. It could be beneficial. However, I think that it should be recognized that some people do take Christian hate seriously, and the cost of this vaccine is LGBT suicides.

    Thank you,

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