In their first public protest since the passing of leader Fred Phelps, members of the Westboro Baptist Church took to the streets to picket a concert by pop star Lorde, famous for her song "Royals". But KSHB in Kansas City reports that the protest did not go as expected, and the WBC members got an unusual response.
Some Lorde fans got together and made a banner to display in full view of the WBC members. It read: Sorry For Your Loss.
One of the fans involved in making the banner assured reporters that there was nothing hurtful or sarcastic meant by the banner. It simply meant what it said, and was intended to counter the hate of the WBC signs and rhetoric with a message of sympathy and understanding.
"We realized that it wasn't so much about antagonizing them," said Megan Coleman, "but sending out the counter-message that we are here for people who need that message and need that positivity."
Steve Drain, a longtime Westboro member who some see as the heir apparent to the leadership position, responded by telling reporters, "I don't even know what they're saying."
The typical WBC protests have long drawn folks to counter-protest. Some hold up funny signs, deriding the usual "God Hates Fags" and "God Laughs When Soldiers Die" message. A common sight is a "God Hates Signs" placard.
Others have spoken out directly, especially celebrities. Foo Fighters took a WBC protest in stride, even turning it into an opportunity to have some fun at Westboro's expense. [NSFW]
Where Drain or anyone else ends up taking Westboro from here remains to be seen. But the church has shown itself to be such a distasteful thing in America that it has ironically succeeded in actually promoting and strengthening the very causes it protests.
Image va YouTube