Monday, December 08, 2008

Only one of us could go today to protest the "God Hates Fags (and everyone else)" people

Last Thursday, a van load of us Project12ers went downtown to protest a group called "God Hates Fags." The latter, however, didn't show as they'd said they would (though did show up elsewhere later in the day after we'd gone home).

Today, I couldn't get our Project 12 students sprung from their job and class responsibilities to go downtown with me. The G. H. F. people again had promised to show up, this time to picket President-Elect Barack Obama, who they (so predictably) say is the Antichrist.

And they were there this time as advertised.

"God Hates Fags"... and Barack Obama. Fred Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church
displays their signs on the corner of Michigan Avenue and Wabash, Dec. 8, 2008.
[Photo: Jon Trott]

I took up a spot across the street from them, not wanting anyone to think I was part of their group. My own signs read "Gays are Our Neighbors" and "Jesus' Answer to Hate was the Cross." Holding both signs was awkward, and it was quite cold, but since Monday had also prevented anyone else from showing up in opposition to Westboro, I stayed until they left around an hour after it began.

Chicago's well-known gay newspaper, Windy City Times, did cover the event (the reporter is an old friend from days when she was part of Queer to the Left and we worked on homelessness and poverty issues). A van pulled up, a guy jumped out and... well, let's say what he did with a water bottle mimicked one of Westboro's signs. A few minutes later, that van pulled up to me and I noted they were filming. Those inside told me they were doing footage for Showtime, asked me for a waiver (which I gave), and then drove off.

I handed out fliers to a few passers-by, mostly those who saw I was in opposition to Westboro and stopped to thank me. (The flier's contents I've posted in my Dec. 4 bit on Westboro.)

We hope to be present when Westboro shows up again in Chicago, perhaps this Saturday. By the way, Westboro... God LOVES you. Just thought you should know.


Joby said...

Aww, Jon, I wish I'd have known. Of course, I was at work, too, but it's nice to know what I'm missing.

Have you ever seen this? I thought it was an entertaining, creative way to counterprotest.


iggy said...


Thanks for representing us who would have loved to be there but could not be.


Jon Trott said...


I opened up that "God Hates Shrimp" page and had a good long laugh. Of course, the theology question raised by that site is a very good one. What does "abomination" actually mean? While I do hold a fairly traditional stance on homosexual practice re Christians, I also think it is important to actually know what we are talking about theologically before opening mouth and inserting shrimp... er, foot.


Jeff Carter said...

I have commented before that I think it's a good thing for blue Christians and red Christians to have a dialogue going.

I applaud you exercising your right to voice not only your opinion but also what insight you believe God has given you. And that's sort of the point, too, with Prop 8. I think it's a matter of having a voice in our democracy. See my blog, "Life in the Big Democracy" at my website - and since it relates mostly to Prop 8, I'm going to post a note on your recent blog there as well.

Jeff Carter