Westboro Baptist Church Counter-Protesters Fight Hate With Compassion
"Live your life and be awesome". "I <3 Gay People". "Did I vote on your marriage?" All placards designed to combat the Westboro Baptist presence at a Lorde gig in Kansas City, Missouri yesterday.
Such counter signs are ever the perfect trump card. A way to show the world that most people are good and that they won’t stand for WBC’s hate preaching. But one sign in particular stood out, following the death of the cult’s founder Fred Phelps last week: “Sorry for your loss”, it read. A surprisingly sympathetic message to offer a group of bullies who have goaded the mourners of loved ones for near-on 20 years.
"We realised that it wasn’t so much about antagonising them," Megan Coleman, who was jointly behind the sign’s creation, told 41 Action News. “But sending out the counter message that we are here for people who need that message”. And of Westboro’s message of hate curiously uniting the majority of Americans who oppose it: ”It does still kind of bring everyone else together”.
One bystander told 41 Action News: “If people are forced to have to stare at [WBC signs], they should have the option to have something good to look at”.
While I understand the temptation to throw stones back, it’s humbling to see people taking the moral high-ground and even more so to see actual sympathies being offered. Considering some of the atrocities the Westboro Baptist Church have committed, compassion and kindness wouldn’t have come easily. But taking a leaf out of the WBC Book of Twisted Morality helps no-one. If you fight fire with fire, everybody gets burned. The message on Megan’s sign isn’t fanning those flames. And if fire-fighters keep fighting, the blaze will have no option but to go out in a puff of smoke.
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