How To Destroy The Westboro Baptist Church


 

This is a long article – here’s the short summary: The WBC is bad for America. Judging by the media coverage, you might think they’re a big organization, but they’re actually quite tiny. People have been trying to fight them head-on, which is the wrong way to do it. There is a better way to erase them from the national spotlight. It can be done with six guys and one piece of paper. This is what my team and I are going to be working on over the next few months. You’re welcome to join us.

 

Since there will be a lot going on with this project, I will continue this story in the form of major updates. You can read straight through to the bottom to find them, or follow the links to jump directly to the latest:

Update 1: Westboro Responds | Update 2: My Official Request of the Six Business Leaders | Update 3: The End of an Era

 

If you want to keep track of what’s going on with this project, I send out monthly progress reports to my team members. Signing up below will put you on that update list. As an added bonus for just the first month, I’ll also send you my weekly knowledge articles, so you can get a feel for some of the stuff we work on as a team.

 

 

—–

 

The Westboro Baptist Church is one of the most hateful groups of our time. I’m not going to list out any of the obscene things they do; you can look that up on your own if you’re not already aware. Suffice it to say that this group has the collective condemnation of liberals and conservatives, black and white, religious folk and atheists, and just about everyone else in this country. When the Hell’s Angels and the KKK show up to shield the victims from their actions, you get a sense for how truly ugly these people are.

 

They are always in the news . . . usually in the background, but taking over the front page every few months or so. Their prominence on the national stage has been steadily rising over the years, so I finally decided to look into their group to see just how big they are, why they’re growing, and what can be done to stop them. I learned something that made my jaw drop:

 

The Westboro Baptist Church has fewer than 100 members.

 

Yeah, that’s it. 100 people in Topeka, Kansas.

 

Most are relatives from a single founding family. Almost all the members of that founding family are attorneys. They fund their cross-country hate actions and picketing of soldiers’ and children’s funerals by winning in court against people who try to stop them from practicing free speech.

 

The WBC is famous, but they shouldn’t be.

 

The only reason anyone knows or cares about them is because they get disproportionately large amounts of media coverage. If the news didn’t cover them, they wouldn’t have any impact. We may not have created them the first time we covered them, but we have sustained them all these years by always giving them air time. Destroying them would be so easy, but no one will do it, because it makes for good TV.

 

Here’s a typical example. In 2006, they picketed at the funeral of a young Marine who had died in Iraq. The story made national headlines, everyone was talking about it, and the WBC got what it wanted: the spotlight. To add insult to injury, the Marine’s father sued the WBC for damages, and the WBC won, forcing the father to pay them instead, thereby funding more of these activities around the country. This verdict was upheld by the Supreme Court, for good reason: groups of people in the United States have the right to peacefully voice their opinion in times and places in accordance with the law.

 

And that’s where it gets interesting. Because you might be thinking “Sure, but that doesn’t give them the right to cause this boy’s family undue emotional distress at the funeral of their son!” And you’d be right. Note this from the official court documents:

 

The church had notified the authorities in advance of its intent to picket at the time of the funeral, and the picketers complied with police instructions in staging their demonstration. The picketing took place within a 10- by 25-foot plot of public land adjacent to a public street, behind a temporary fence. That plot was approximately 1,000 feet from the church where the funeral was held. Several buildings separated the picket site from the church. The Westboro picketers displayed their signs for about 30 minutes before the funeral began and sang hymns and recited Bible verses. None of the picketers entered church property or went to the cemetery. They did not yell or use profanity, and there was no violence associated with the picketing.

 

The funeral procession passed within 200 to 300 feet of the picket site. Although Snyder testified that he could see the tops of the picket signs as he drove to the funeral, he did not see what was written on the signs until later that night, while watching a news broadcast covering the event.

 

 

They weren’t even present at the memorial. No one at the funeral was even bothered by their actions. The local and national laws surrounding the situation worked appropriately, both to keep the family protected, and to allow the WBC their right to free, non-disruptive speech.

 

I would submit to you that the problem here is not the WBC, as ugly as they are. The problem here is that the national news media keeps handing them a megaphone, amplifying their message at every demonstration.

 

The WBC has a very simple strategy to deliver their message:

 

1) Prepare shocking and vulgar content

2) Attach themselves to a high-profile, tragic event

3) Use the media to broadcast and amplify their message.

 

This stuff isn’t complicated, guys. Hell, it’s not even a secret. I copied this directly from the WBC’s website:

 

What a glorious paradox! The worldwide media does its best to vilify, marginalize and demonize the servants of God at Westboro Baptist Church – and the Lord our God has specifically put the worldwide media in place FOR WBC to preach through! What they mean for evil God means for good. How cool is that?

 

Television continues to be one of the most powerful media available… The opportunities to grab market share, on both the news and entertainment media fronts, are immense – the stakes are huge, both in terms of gaining revenue and more importantly, gaining mindshare of regular tv viewers. Westboro Baptist Church is regularly featured on television and radio shows around the world – her members joyfully enduring the media’s folly as news reporters and talk show hosts attempt to bastardize the word of God and discredit the humble servants of God.

 

 

With that brilliant and unstoppable strategy (I say that with sarcasm, although sadly it has worked so far), the WBC has continued to grow only slightly in membership, but exponentially in the minds of the American people. This group has succeeded in their goal of capturing mindshare for their message of hate. Take a look at the relative search volume on Google for their name:

 

 

See the huge spike in December 2012? That’s when 20 of our children were gunned down and killed in their classrooms at Sandy Hook Elementary . . . and the WBC announced that

 

…[we] will picket Sandy Hook Elementary School to sing praise to God for the glory of his work in executing his judgment.

 

 

These people do not deserve the dignity of acknowledgement, much less our help in packaging and distributing their hateful message to the rest of the nation. Yet we continue to aid them in their mission. Now, instead of 300 people in one small town seeing them for an hour on a street corner, 300 million people get to see them right in their own living room for seven days straight each time they decide to show up and picket at a high-profile event. This tiny hate group has pulled off the biggest PR campaign in history, and no one has the courage to put a stop to it.

 

You already know the reason why, right? It’s all about the money.

 

The WBC is a perfect ratings magnet for media outlets, especially TV news. They’re the villain that everyone loves to hate. Media outlets use emotion to sell stories, and WBC stories pack more emotion per minute than just about anything else out there. Even better, the primary feeling most people get when watching is righteous anger. And if you’re in the business of trying to push stories to go viral, you know that nothing gets people talking and linking and sharing more than anger and indignation. We are outraged for the victims, and show our support by consuming and distributing these condemning stories about the attackers.

 

The horrible, horrible irony here is that the targets of the hate speech are the only ones who aren’t experiencing the hate in that moment, because they’re busy being present at the funeral for their loved one, while the WBC protesters are sequestered away in their designated protest spot, far from the family. There are also helpful groups like the Patriot Guard Riders, who organize to pay respect to our fallen soldiers while simultaneously protecting the family from seeing or hearing the WBC.

 

Here’s the bottom line: If the news didn’t cover these people, there would be no story.

 

Please take a second to fully wrap your mind around that fact. Imagine there was no news coverage of the WBC. A few people in town would see them on a corner. The family at the funeral might hear or see them, but probably not, and even if they did, it’d be from afar. That’s it. What’s the damage done there? Very, very little.

 

Instead, we live in a country where, if we want to watch a news program covering the tragedy, our young children get to see people celebrating the death of kids their age, holding signs (at the same event) that say “God Hates Fags,” and now instead of helping them process the original event in a healthy way, we have to try to explain the lunatic beliefs of a hateful fringe group that never should have been covered in the first place.

 

This happens in hundreds of millions of households across America for a week of coverage, all because of 100 people in Kansas. If you confront the media and demand to know whey they’re showing us all this, their default response will be “We’re just covering the news, and this is a newsworthy story.”

 

This is not entirely true. Media outlets make the decision to feature or cut stories every minute of every day. They have the power to decide what is news and what’s not, and they use it constantly to shape the narrative. Ask yourself this: When’s the last time the national media cared what 100 people in Kansas thought about anything?

 

They feature the WBC because it makes them a ton of money. Period.

 

I think that just about everyone in their right mind would agree that the WBC, as a group, is bad for our country. I think we’d all agree that we don’t want us or our children to constantly see this example of hatred on display in our homes whenever they feel like they have something to say. I would venture to say that, if they’re being honest, the owners of the media outlets would agree with us as well.

 

And since we’re all in agreement, I have a solution I’d like to propose, if that’s okay. It’s very, very simple, yet guaranteed to be 100% effective. It can be done instantly, and last forever. Here it is:

 

Stop covering the WBC.

 

It really is this simple. If the WBC stopped getting major media coverage, their little group would still exist, but the damage inflicted to this country, on a scale of 1 to 100, would go from the current 85 down to around 2. They would be a blight on the fair town of Topeka, and an occasional nuisance in a few spots around the country when they could afford to travel, but that’s it. They would lose the biggest things they strive for: attention and validation. We would be taking the megaphone away from them.

 

You might think that it would never happen – that it’s too much of a moneymaker for the news networks to ever give up – and that’s a fair argument. I would direct you, however, to something similar that people said would never happen: getting billionaires to give away the majority of their fortunes to philanthropy before they die. And yet, that’s exactly what Bill Gates and Warren Buffet asked them to do . . . and they are doing it.

 

If we really wanted to, we could do the same kind of thing in this situation. 90% of the media in this country is owned by only six companies. All it would take is for these companies to commit to no longer covering the WBC. If six guys signed one piece of paper, we could put this hate group out of business. In fact, here’s the actual piece of paper – I took the liberty of drawing it up for them (click to see/download your own PDF sample):

 

 

How hard do you think it would be to get these six business leaders to put aside thoughts of profiting from this sideshow, and instead focus on working together to do what’s right for the country? Such a small thing for them to do, and such a big benefit for the entire country.

 

It’s time to get these signatures. I want to literally take this piece of paper into their offices and have them sign it, one by one.

 

I’m putting this on the list of activities to accomplish for Nate’s Team. I’d like to get these guys to agree to take the megaphone away from the WBC, and end our national infatuation with this nonsense.

 

By now you’re probably saying that it’s unrealistic to expect any of these business leaders to even hear what I’m saying, much less sign this simple little document. And you’d be right – I am certainly not naive. But that’s exactly why I chose this as our first activity. I’m going to use this team to show the world that reality isn’t as solid as we tend to think . . . it can be shaped, molded, and changed into something different. Something better.

 

I will be working on this with all signed up team members over the next few months. If you want to get the WBC out of the national spotlight too, I would appreciate any help you can give. Even if you don’t want to join the team, feel free to email me with any assistance you’d like to provide in getting this done.

 

Thanks for listening. Now let’s do something.

 

- Nate

 

P.S. If you don’t want to join the hands-on team to work on this, that’s cool, no problem. But instead, maybe just hit one of the share buttons below to help put the Westboro Baptist Church out of business? Thanks again.

 

 


=========================================================================
Update 1: Westboro Responds
=========================================================================

 

It took ‘em a day, but the WBC noticed this post and responded on Twitter:

 

 

That’s one down, six more to go. Something tells me the other six will be harder to get a response from, though.

 

On we go . . .

 


=========================================================================
Update 2: My Official Request of the Six Business Leaders
=========================================================================

 

This message is for Jeff I., Rupert, Robert, Philippe, Jeff B., and Leslie:

 

I would like to ask for five minutes of your time, from each of you. If you can give me just five minutes, at any time and place of your choosing, I will meet you there, state my case, and ask for a direct yes-or-no answer from you on this whole topic of halting the sensationalistic media coverage of the WBC. Honestly, that’s all I’m looking for. If you say yes (and I hope you do), great! You can sign this gentleman’s agreement, and it’ll be good for everyone. If you say no, I will respect that decision and be on my way, and I won’t bring it up to you again.

 

So what do you say? Does this sound fair? I think it is. Please have your people email me at ‘talktome [at] natesteam.com’ to get the meeting details scheduled.

 

Thanks for your time,

- Nate

 

P.S. Did you see what they responded with above? That bit about opening the doors of utterance, and no man can shut them? Well actually you can.

 


=========================================================================
Update 3: The End of an Era
=========================================================================

 

When Fred Phelps, the patriarch of the WBC, died in March of 2014, I called off the rest of this project. Let’s see where the group goes from here…

 

If you want to keep track of what’s going on with this project, I send out monthly progress reports to my team members. Signing up below will put you on that update list. As an added bonus for just the first month, I’ll also send you my weekly knowledge articles, so you can get a feel for some of the stuff we work on as a team.