So I just found out our pal Mr. Phelps is coming to my “fag-loving, God-hating college” to protest a production of The Laramie Project in a week. My roommate is an officer in the GLBT Alliance, so I’m helping figure out what the response should be. I’ve already told her about the familiar “pledge drive” idea most of us have already heard of, but if the rest of you guys have ideas, tips, clever slogans for signs, whatever, please post them here.
Is he going to be protesting outside of the theater?
If he’s going to be in one place then I suggest that you find the biggest group of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered couples that you can find and on your command…
…they all start making out in front of Mr. Phelps.
Anyways, it might be kind of funny, and fun! Who know, he might even keel over at the sight.
In any case, the most important thing is to not fight his hate with more hate. You know how these things go. Eventually the two groups are simply screaming at each other and neither will ever change the other’s mind. I think that you must absolutely be there when he is, but remember that his “protests” are designed to elicit charged, emotional responses. Don’t play into his scheme.
Good luck and let us know how it goes!
Big signs of your own:
FAGS LOVE FRED
That’s exactly what I thought when I read the OP. Chances are you won’t change his mind, so you might as well get a laugh out of it.
(Not to belittle the hate he spews, but sometimes, what can you do but laugh at him?)
Or you could organize a hymn sing. The “holier than thou” approach can only serve to make them look even more ridiculous, even if your GLTB bunch are normally irreverent.
I like the “Fags Love Fred” idea.
'Twould be nice to photoshop his face into some gay porn just for kicks.
Thanks for what you’ve said so far, guys. There’s already been quite a bit of campus discussion about Phelps. Suggestions & comments I’ve heard here so far:
The pledge drive thing won’t really work, since he’s not planning to be here for long anyway.
Set up a podium, have a proper debate. I’ve explained why this is a bad idea for Phelps.
A sit-in chain, silent.
Everyone simply stands with their backs to him.
One gay guy wants to wear a wedding dress and a sign that says “Fred, will you marry me?”
Stand next to Phelps with a large sign that says “I’m With Stupid.”
Put up fencing around the area where he plans to protest and signs saying “Please Do Not Feed The Monkeys.”
Each person takes a single flower, gives it to Phelps, says “I forgive you,” and walks away. This is a very classy and appealing suggestion, but one thing bugs me about it - it’s still ultimately taking him seriously, in a way, and I think ultimately Phelps wants to be taken seriously more than anything else.
About thirty seconds into Phelps’ speech, someone brings out a boom box that plays “The Hokey Pokey Song.” Everyone starts singing along and doing the Hokey Pokey. Instant disruption! See, this might be my favorite of the suggestions so far - it makes Phelps look exactly as foolish as he really is, plus there’s something about the idea of fighting evil with laughter that just appeals to me.
Surely somebody must have tried this sort of protest-by-means-of-silliness approach against Phelps before, right? Does anyone know about it and how Phelps responded? Has he ever gotten violent with nonviolent protestors?
Everyone sings Kumbaya. I doubt Phelps has enough of a sense of humor to get the irony here.
Apparently Phelps once protested outside the wrong building. Having heard about this, one of my friends suggested putting up lots of misleading signs about where the play will be held, or possibly even telling him the date has been moved so that he shows up when everyone’s gone for spring break.
Further comments, advice & discussion welcome.
I vote for the kiss-in. Simple. Fun. Heck, I’m as straight as can be, and I’d get a huge kick out of making out with a guy in front of Fred.
And, most importantly, it makes the relevant point in a pointed, yet peaceful fashion. He wants people to scream back at him. Don’t give him the pleasure. Just quietly make him look like an idiot.
If you prefer the actively disruptive approach, you could just have people make up signs of their own that looks similar yet surreally different to those of the Phelpsoi, and stand amidst or around their group:
GOD HATES FLAGS
GOD EATS FAGS
FAGS BOIL IN BAG
That sort of thing.
I was going to suggest that you and everyone else ignore him. And I still think that’s a good idea. But the kiss in sounds fun.
When he came to my college (University of Maryland College Park), someone-or-other passed out buttons and green ribbons saying “Hate is not a UMD value.” It’s months later, and people still have them pinned to backpacks and taped in windows and stuff. You might want to consider doing something like that.
Also, depending on how far you are from Kansas, it might not be that big of a deal. When he came here, he only brought like 6 people. Very few people I know even saw him.
Much as the kiss-in is amusing, I’d say guys like this thrive on the reaction they get – any reaction. You hurt him by making it clear he doesn’t matter, isn’t important, isn’t making ANY impact. He’s almost like a terrorist: if he makes you change your routine or your normality, he’s already won.
I’d say best to simply ensure he’s utterly ignored. “Who?” is the ideal response to any questions about him…
Get some fake blood from the theatre department and throw it on him telling him it’s your AIDS blood, and you know he wants it because of the gay bashing hate crimes he’s incited.
Dress up as GOD (white robe, big beard) and use a megaphone to shout at him. “You’re wrong Fred I LOVE fags!”. The gay men’s chorus dressed as angels backing you up would also be a nice touch.
Throw spoiled fruit and veggies at him.
Set the dog on him.
**Suggestions for Signage **
**Queers For Jesus
We’re queer & Xian too
Fred, what are you doing here?
Fags for Jesus
Buddha loves us.
What God Are You Talking To?
God Loves us, you, Fred, he ain’t so sure about.
What Do the Voices In Your Head Tell You Today, Fred?
On the whole, we’d rather see Jesse Jackson today.
Fred Phelps can be rearranged to spell: Dr. Flesh Pep
Frederick Phelps can be rearranged to spell: Dick Prefers Help
and ** Dr. PI Flesh Pecker
Good signs accompanied by A Fred Phelps look-a-like preaching about how he has been mistaken, that God hates him should do the trick. Several Fred look-a-likes may be better.
I like the kiss-in idea too, but its weakness is that it puts mainly gay/lesbian/transgendered people in the spotlight and overshadows the fact that even straight people find Phelps to be a laughable moron. He and his brethren expect the homosexual community to disagree with him. He and the world need to also know that all sane people, queer or not, eschew his bigoted views.
If you have a kiss-in, have some “Straight but not narrow” signs and stuff visible.
I agree wholeheartedly. The best way to hurt him is to ignore him. If people stand screaming at him, and throwing vegetables, he can feel like he’s a martyr for his cause. A kiss-in will only confirm in his mind how depraved homosexuals are.
Ignore him. ANY audience, even an angry one will only encourage him. If you really want to do some good, try to get as many people as you can to stay far, far away. Organize a protest if you wish, but make sure it’s on the other side of the campus.
Let him preach to an empty room: he’s used to it by now.
Turn a fire extinguisher on him. The chemical kind, that sprays white powder.
As I recall, most dorms are full of guys who love to do this.
Optionally, everybody show up in gorilla, or Richard Nixon, masks.
We’ve already long since decided not to do any sort of traditional yelling-back-at-Fred counterprotest. Anything we do will basically take either the silly approach or the holier-than-thou approach.
Is this suppose to be a reference to evolution? Please don’t do it; it insults the monkeys. “Please Do Not Feed the Idiots” might be better.
I love the Hokey Pokey bit. Be sure to include breasts and genitalia. “You put your boobies in…”