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What can you do when Rev. Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church come to your town?
The Westboro Baptist Church has been engaging in its ridiculous funeral protesting campaigns for years. Why do they do this? Above everything else, they are out there acting like idiots day after day because they get attention. They've become celebrities: they're the Idiot Sign-Carrying Protesters We Love To Hate. But they don't care that they look like fools to the rest of the world.
The scenario for the WBC can best be described as "cult mind control," though I don't want to get into the endless debate over "cults" and "mind control" here. Suffice to say, they've convinced themselves that they really are on a crusade against Satan and the Devil and his minions – namely, all of us who are out there laughing at them and pointing at them. Consider this from their perspective: if you honestly believed you were entering the realm of the Devil and his minions, would you expect them to do anything but taunt you, laugh at you, tell you you're a fool, and shout hateful things at you? Of course not: after all, this is the Devil we're talking about here. So when the WBC gets into news headlines, and onto TV news, and on blogs and Web sites and Wikipedia articles, they know they've scored a big victory because they've gotten what they really want: attention and notice.
What can we do about WBC and their lunacy? The best course of action is probably the hardest one to take: IGNORE THEM. When they come to your town, don't organize a big, loud counter-protest and out-shout them. Instead, simply ignore them. Walk by them, say "good morning," go on your way, and act as though they're not there. I have little doubt that after no more than half an hour of standing in the street, shouting at no one and receiving no attention at all, the Phelps clan will behave like the cowards they are. Namely, like last autumn's leaves, they will dry up and blow away.