Notorious Bigots To Picket San Diego Comic-Con

Mike Gold

ComicMix's award-winning and spectacularly shy editor-in-chief Mike Gold also performs the weekly two-hour Weird Sounds Inside The Gold Mind ass-kicking rock, blues and blather radio show on The Point, www.getthepointradio.com and on iNetRadio, www.iNetRadio.com (search: Hit Oldies) every Sunday at 7:00 PM Eastern, rebroadcast three times during the week – check www.getthepointradio.com above for times and on-demand streaming information.

You may also like...

165 Responses

  1. John Judy says:

    The idea of these guys being stomped to death by gay Klingons is not without appeal. Sadly, I believe that would be illegal in this time period.

    • Mike Gold says:

      Gee, I don’t know. If real Klingons went after them, I doubt they could actually be arrested. I’m more concerned about Q looking at these assholes and deciding it would be best to vaporize the planet.

  2. Sean McDevitt says:

    I don’t think this “group” knows what is in for. A couple of thousand SDCC con goers in full cosplay surrounding them would be a sight. This hate “group” has been run off before. A wall of people pushing them past the gaslamp district, all caught on video would be awesome. Hope to see this happen.

  3. Jeremiah Avery says:

    It’d be amusing if some people dressed as Buddy Christ showed up and started blasting “It’s Raining Men” on some stereos.

  4. Erik Bruhwiler says:

    I don’t know much about the group, but the quotes you provided don’t sound hateful, really. The message they seem to be giving is pay attention to the world, and don’t get lost in your fantasies. Not a bad message as I have interpreted it, as we should all try to understand the ‘real’ world, but I certainly don’t think that enjoying comics is ‘bad’.

    We shouldn’t make more out of something than it is. Your article seemed more full of hate than their quotes. If we all just relax a bit, then no more will be made of it than should be.

    • Mike Gold says:

      Really? You don’t think crashing all those people’s funerals with their “God Hates Fags” placards and their chants and their “He Has Gone To Hell” t-shirts isn’t hateful? Honest? You think that’s, what, fucking POLITE?

      You do NOT “relax” in the face of bigotry and hatred. You FIGHT it with all your heart and soul.

      • Erik Bruhwiler says:

        I didn’t look at the website. You did not read my comment carefully, and are attacking me without foundation. I based my comment on your article. If the issues you brought up were significant to your point of view, then you should have presented them in the article. You even noted that you did not provide a link, and I didn’t check out the group. I simply went by what you wrote.

        Suddenly, after I provide a disagreement to what you wrote, you bring in other info you think is relevant.

        Yes, bigotry is disruptive and ignorant, but anger and belligerence is dysfunctional. It makes your ‘argument’ emotional ranting instead of reasonable assertions.

        • Kristy says:

          Easy, there. I think he assumed you were familiar with the Westboro Baptists – they have been in the news an awful lot. The article wasn’t meant to be a full introduction to this (incredibly hateful and hate-filled) group, just a comment on their most recent silliness.

          However, yes, you’re right – while he did allude to the nasty protests they hold at funerals and the like, the quotes he actually cited were not that harsh. Annoying, yes, but downright tame compared to some of the things they’ve said and done in the past. So if you really are completely unfamiliar with Fred Phelps and his ilk, then it’s understandable that you wouldn’t consider them that bad, based only on what’s been presented here.

          But give the man a break. He’s not writing in a bubble, and it is reasonable to assume that most readers would be familiar with a group putting themselves in the public eye as often as the WBC.

          • Erik Bruhwiler says:

            Read all of the replies he has placed, here. My first response was accurate. I got his tone because it infused his article. That is why I said he should ‘relax’. There is too much ‘anti-fellow-human’ going on in the world as it is, and every little event is significant.

            It needs to end, and we need to end it together. Peacefully.

            Give him a break, like the break he gave me as a response? It is no longer ‘give peace a chance.’ It is ‘peace or the world crumbles.’

            I’m sure Mike is giving all of this some thought. Perhaps he will be more patient with folks who don’t immediately fall in line with his thinking.

          • Kristy says:

            Oh, I’ve read ’em. And yeah, the responses you’ve received have been kind of knee-jerk and ass-ish, no argument here. (You hear that, Mike and Mike? When you’re trying to convince someone to agree with your point of view, insulting and attacking them is kind of DOING IT WRONG.) But I can also see why.For those who know about them, the WBC is pretty strongly demonized, and not unfairly. I mean, yes, they are human. There was a photographer, can’t remember his name sadly, who did a project where he shadowed members of the church and took pictures of them when they were at home or otherwise “off the clock”, and you know what? They seem like pretty nice people. They love their kids. They have normal human charms and quirks and foibles. You could probably have coffee with them and enjoy the experience. None of that makes them sane or reasonable or good.Most members of the KKK are nice enough folk, on a one-on-one basis. Most members of the Nazi party (I know I’m invoking Godwin’s Law here, bear with me) were good, decent kids, pillars of the community, who loved their families and their neighbors. That didn’t stop them from doing a heck of a lot of damage, though, and here’s the thing: if you’d tried to hold a reasonable conversation with them about it? 99.9% of them wouldn’t have thought they’d done anything wrong.I love people. I love people who love people. But I’m not naive. Yeah, maybe my (or your) voice of reason will be the final straw that changes someone’s mind and brings them back to the realm of sanity… but while I can hope for it? I’m not betting on it.These are people who show up at soldiers’ funerals and tell grieving mothers and widows that God intentionally killed their sons and husbands because America is tolerant of gays. Shame, reason, logic, and basic human decency are quite obviously not factors in these peoples’ thought processes.And so yeah. When someone posts on a message board defending them, there IS a kneejerk reaction to it. I felt it, I won’t deny it. For a moment or two, I wanted to shove your face into their nastiness and say “See? See? These people here – they’re the reason why we can’t have nice things! Don’t defend them!!” (I didn’t, because, well… a) you didn’t deserve that, and b) that is not not NOT a way to win an argument. But, y’know, not everyone was raised by a debate coach, so cut people some slack.) It’s like… think of that one person, that one group, that makes your blood boil every time. (You’ve got one, don’t lie. You’re human too.) You can’t imagine any possible reason for not being outraged by them. Then someone comes along and, in all innocence, defends them. We’d all like to think we’d be reasonable about it, but in reality? The claws would most likely come out. It happens. Not everything about humans is pretty.Personally, the ACLU gal in me sees the WBC as a prime example of the American ideal in action. Because if a douchenozzle like Phelps – whom NOBODY, left or right, likes or supports – is allowed to tell grieving parents that their kid is burning in hell, without getting arrested or lynched? The First Amendment is WORKING, y’all. Any time someone wants to ban or suppress free speech for being offensive, we can just point to this asshole and say “If he can get away with it…” So yeah, Fred Phelps. Exercise your right to free speech. Preach it….But expect me to preach it right back. Mercilessly. Because free speech means I can verbally rip you up one wall and down the other.In the meantime, I support your effort to be reasonable at unreasonable people. Good luck with that – hey, maybe it’ll actually work. But if you really are so concerned with finding peaceful solutions and being the adult, maybe you could start with bending a little, making some concessions, and finding a peaceful and friendly resolution to this flame war? Regardless of how you’ve been treated or whether or not you were in the wrong? It would be good practice, at the very least.

          • Mike Gold says:

            “I’m sure Mike is giving all of this some thought. Perhaps he will be more patient with folks who don’t immediately fall in line with his thinking.” What fun’s in THAT? If I have to use the product of my journalism degree in my writing, it’ll be work-for-hire, and that sucks.

    • Brandon Barrows says:

      I’m betting you’re either really young, or don’t read the news/watch tv at all because your ignorance in this matter is astounding. Fred Phelps has been preaching hate for decades, and is quite possibly the best known hatemonger in American history.

      Fred Phelps and his group hate homosexuals, non-Whites, Catholics, Jews….you name it. I’m not exaggerating at all.

      They have even gone so far as to stage protests at the funerals of openly gay US SERVICEMEN and made statements to the effect of that those folks got what they deserved. These are people who died serving their country, and no matter WHAT you think of someone’s lifestyle choices or the war they lost their lives in, distrupting a funeral is absolutely unacceptable and should be a felony.

      As you stated, you “don’t know much” and you really should do 2 minutes’ worth of researching before stating that you think Fred Phelps’s message isn’t that bad.

      • Erik Bruhwiler says:

        I don’t have to do any researching. I can simply respond to the foundations and info presented in the article. I will not make assumptions about info that is offered. I will respond to what is actually provided.

        It is imperative the author of the article take responsibility for a well-founded and structured point of view. I vitriolic spit-fest is meaningless. Your response does not do much for advancing your point of view. It just makes you look belligerent and oppressive.

        • mike weber says:

          People who actually know something about these vermin (which is any reasonably-informed person) or bother to find out (which is any reasonable person who encounters mention of them) don’t need any more explanation than provided.In fact, all that is needed for people who actually keep up with current events to be outraged is to hear that this group plans to show up anywhere.I’ve provided a number of links in a post further down – remedy your ignorance, or else go away or i shall taunt you some more.

          • Erik Bruhwiler says:

            Your declarations of ‘reasonable’ person don’t do much for me, and demonizing me because I didn’t simply buy into your comments isn’t really much better than picketing a funeral, in principle.

            There are millions of ‘current events’. I don’t have to pay attention to the ones you pay attention to have a valid point of view. Now that our discussion has deteriorated into what each other is doing ‘wrong’ as participants in it, it is pretty much run its ground.

            I will say that I may actually go up and talk to this group while I am at Comic Con. Only by doing that are they going to be exposed to a calm and reasonable alternative to their own point of view. Emotional righteousness yelled at those who already believe it is wrong only satisfies your own emotional needs.

          • Mike Gold says:

            Good luck with that. You might want to check Mike Weber’s links, just so you have an idea of the turf.

          • Erik Bruhwiler says:

            Thanks, I’ll do that.

          • mike weber says:

            Okay, maybe i’m not a very “reasonable” person, either, and i don’t particularly go out of my way to follow current events, but even my peripheral attention is enough to tell me that these people – who get featured on CNN, network news, newspaper front pages, and other national news sources (and are even reviled by the right-wing clowns at Fox) on a regular basis – are neither “reasonable” not sane.

            Plus, the first graph of the original article provides at least a bit of indication that these people are neither reasonable, logical or sane. (And Mike apparently makes the reasonable assumption that most people in the Real World have heard enough about these evil clowns to not need him to say any more.)

            Picketing the funerals of servicepeople killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, holding up signs that say “God hates fags” and “Thank God for IEDs”, and planning to picket the funerals of six Amish girls murdered in school to preach the evils of the Amish religious beliefs, are not the actions of people one would want around nor of people one can reason with with anything less than a pine clue-by-four.

            Five states (i believe; possibly more or fewer) have passed laws banning picketing within 500 feet (or so) specifically because of them.

            On the subject of “resonableness”:

            Personally, the first thing i do when i read an article like this, if i know nothing about the subject or the opinions of the author (sometimes particularly if i know something about the opinions of the author), is a little basic research. If it turns out that the article is (as in this case) if anything an understatement, then i know how to proceed in my reactions.

            (A simple google on “Westboro Baptist Church” turned up literally housands of hits.)

            If i discover that it’s the sort of ludicrous “news” purveyed by Fox (or similar wackos over on the far left), then i know to decry it and/or ignore it.

            But i never assume that it’s safe to dismiss an article or its author on the strength of one piece without checking the facts.

            Some people apparently do.

            And some people unreasonably continue to assert that they don’t need to emedy their ignorance in order to have a valid opinion after it’s been pointed out to them that they don’t know anything about the subject.

          • Erik Bruhwiler says:

            I am not concerned about what other people say in response.

            You can keep attacking me for my legitimate response to your article, but the failing is on your side if you think that I have to go beyond the article to have an opinion. That is the failing of mainstream news’, as well. Too much unsubstantiated opinion. Make your case, don’t make me make it for you. Convince me with the article rather than saying I’m an idiot for not doing your work for you.

            Now consider this: what if this group could actually give a shit about the groups they picket? What if they are actual goal is to stir up antagonism and belligerence at the behest of a larger scheme by more nefarious people? I have no evidence for this, but I suspect it. So, in essence, you are supporting their goal.

            It is hard to stay calm and a center for peace when this kind of flagrant (almost too flagrant, don’t you think?) hate speech is occurring, but if we don’t, then we end up creating an volatile emotional stew that can more easily be steered towards war or other hidden agendas. That is when we all lose.

          • Kat S. says:

            Actually, Erik, it’s your “legitimate response to [the] article” that has me the most interested. Leaving aside issues of the group in question and addressing the make-up of the article itself, your logic has me curious.

            Articles are not meant to provide every possible bit of information about the topics they present. They provide the information that the writer believes to be relevant in order to attain the goal of their piece. If you are familiar with other articles written for this source, then you know that they are normally short pieces that inform as well as express the opinions of the writer. As a thinking individual, you then have the right and the freedom to go beyond the article to expand your own knowledge if you desire to know more about any subjects presented.

            You criticize Mr. Gold’s article for not giving you the necessary facts. If you read the title of the piece, however, you will discover that it states the article’s goal quite plainly – that a certain group will appear at a certain place. The author provides the names of both groups involved, the city it will take place in, as well as the date and time of their appearance. He also does list some information about the group in question, such as their habit of protesting soldiers’ funerals. Mr. Gold does not go into detail explaining what Comic Con is either, though you do not fault him for that.

            You could also look at it this way: if you saw a short article announcing that band XYZ was performing at venue Doesn’tMatter, would you expect the article to explain everything about XYZ’s music, their songs, and their other appearances?

            Articles are also written for certain audiences. Mr. Gold assumes people reading his piece will be familiar with Comic Con. He also states as his first sentence that he assumes his readers have “probably heard of Fred Phelps and his Topeka Kansas Westboro Baptist Church.” Perhaps this is not true of everyone, but that doesn’t mean that it’s Mr. Gold’s responsibility to delve into facts he believes are already present.

            In the end, we are all ignorant of many things, but we do not have to remain so. The only person we can ultimately hold responsible for our own learning is ourselves.

        • Mike Gold says:

          My response might not do anything for you, and I can live with that. Belligerence is a perfect response to naked bigotry.

        • Brandon Barrows says:

          You can cry “no fair” and defend your ignorance all you like. The bottom line is that you’ve ignorantly defended one of the world’s foremost purveyors of hatred and now you’re trying to justify it.

          Good for you for sticking to your guns, even if you’re dead wrong.

    • mike weber says:

      You know nothing about these creeps.

      A few references for you:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westboro_Baptist_Church
      http://www.godhatesfags.com/schedule.html – one week from today (7/17/19) they’re going to picket Major League Baseball. I’d say “God alone knows why”, but i’m not sure He can figure out these wackos.
      http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,217760…,00.html
      http://blogs.westword.com/latestword/2010/05/westboro_bap
      http://www.break.com/index/westboro_baptist_church_chased
      http://www.speroforum.com/site/article.asp?id=2888

      • Miles Vorkosigan says:

        “God alone knows why.” To quote Gust Avrakotos, I don’t see God anywhere within miles of this.

      • Erik Bruhwiler says:

        Thanks, Kat. I do appreciate your feedback, and it is valid. Except that he tainted his information with negative emotional feedback, in ways that are meant to create such in others. My response was to that, and I said we should relax.

        If he wants me to have such an emotional response as his, or to feel that his is valid, then he has to present information that causes that in me, and not try to get me to feel that way because he does.

        From what I read, his emotional feedback was unfounded or vitriolic, and may even to help cause a scene at Comic Con, which, by the way, will only help their cause. They are going there to cause a scene and get on the news. (I mean, really, idolatry? These are weak excuses to show up there and get on the news).

        If this were an informational article as you described, then his reaction would not be included. My take on the article was Mike was saying that “we should all violently hate these people!” My reaction was, “No we shouldn’t.” We don’t have to hate them, we can feel sorry for them, peacefully.

        You can keep arguing with me about the validity of my initial response, and my response to the insults and negativity I received as a result – someone simply advocating peace – but my positions still stands, and is valid. Stopping the hate starts with ourselves.

        The most powerful response to a hate rally I learned of was when a group of people intermingled with peace signs around them, and let the town know ahead of time. The town got their message completely, and saw the hate participants as unfortunate fools, not demonically possessed anti-christs.

        • mike weber says:

          Still trying to justify your own knee-jerk reaction.The only negativity and hatred of the sort you’re talking about in Mike Gold’s original post is in the final graphs – and it’s specifically personal, followed by a request for opinions from his readers.The first graph provides a fairly accurate (albeit slanted) summary of who and what Phelps and his followers are and what they do.The next two explain what they have to do with comics. (A tad slanted in attitude, but this site doesn’t represent itself as any kind of un-biased reporter of word news.)The next few quote Phelps’s communique verbatim.Then MG expresses his personal opinion. (See parenthetical remark above.)========================Then, in the comments, you jump in, scolding him for negativity and hatred 9[of a group you admit having not heard of and haven’t bothered to find out about], spouting Get-Along Gang sweetness and light.When MG responds, aghast that you could be making apologies for such an extensively-documented group of bigoted hatemongers, mentioning things that really are common knowledge, you respond in the same invincibly ignorant vein “Suddenly, after I provide a disagreement to what you wrote, you bring in other info you think is relevant.”Well, yes. This response, seriously, is as if you had responded to a post decrying the Gulf oil spill by demanding why the original post didn’t mention that water is wet and the sky (in our world) is blue.By the way – what sahde of paisley is the Sun in your world today?========================I used the term “ignorant” before, and i’ve just used it again. Despite societal loading, at base it means not knowing something. When i’m presented with something i don’t know that sounds interesting or important, and i wonder if, perhaps, the source is biased or slanted … i find out. I spend a minute or two with Google, since i’m already sitting at the computer, anyway.I might learn something interesting that would expand my appreciation of the world. If nothing else, i might collect ammunition to refute a biased opinion with facts, instead of a claim that the piece is obviously slanted and doesn’t provide it inherently.But, when i realise i’m ignorant on a subject, i remedy the condition.”Stupid” is refusing to remedy the condition when it is brought to your attention that you are ignorant.”Stupid” is not bothering to learn about anything new that comes your way that is apparently of importance.Here’s your sign…

          • Erik Bruhwiler says:

            Touche.

            You win. Fine stroke. My original reply was not thought through and was off the cuff. Meaningless. Fuck peace.

            Die humanless bigots!

          • mike weber says:

            Awww.

          • Mike Gold says:

            “Fuck peace.” Hey, I had a button with that on it in the late 60s.

          • mike weber says:

            I think he doesn’t want to play with bullies like us anymore.

            You know, people who point out the fallacious nature of his positions.

          • Erik Bruhwiler says:

            Obviously that makes you comfortable, just like saying, “Eww, obviously bad people. Look everybody, bad people. Someone should kill them.”

          • mike weber says:

            Still missing the point, eh?

            Here’s your sign.

  5. John Judy says:

    The idea of these guys being stomped to death by gay Klingons is not without appeal. Sadly, I believe that would be illegal in this time period.

    • Mike Gold says:

      Gee, I don't know. If real Klingons went after them, I doubt they could actually be arrested. I'm more concerned about Q looking at these assholes and deciding it would be best to vaporize the planet.

  6. Sean McDevitt says:

    I don't think this "group" knows what is in for. A couple of thousand SDCC con goers in full cosplay surrounding them would be a sight. This hate "group" has been run off before. A wall of people pushing them past the gaslamp district, all caught on video would be awesome. Hope to see this happen.

  7. mike weber says:

    Actually, it’s not gay servicepeople whose funerals they show up at – it’s *any* serviceperson’s funeral; their claim is that, because “God hates fags” and the US isn’t holding pogroms to wipe out gays, God is going to destroy it and the dead soldiers are evidence of that.

    Their “church” is basically one man’s extended family.

    I have to say that it wouldn’t make me cry too hard if some soldier freaked out at his buddy’s funeral and wiped ’em out.

    • RGray says:

      They don’t protest at the funerals of openly gay soldiers because there are no openly gay soldiers in the U.S. military. Maybe some who are out to their friends and family, but until current policies are changed, gays who are out of the closet are also out of the military.

      • mike weber says:

        A couple of the funerals protested at have been of soldiers whose sexuality was known.

        I’m aware of the ramifications of current policy – my point is that it’s not homosexuality on the part of the dead they’re condemning.

        They’re saying the soldiers were killed because “God hates fags”.

      • Mike Gold says:

        I understand and appreciate your point, but dead gays who are out of the closet are … well, dead and are no longer subject to “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

        I look forward to the day when “don’t ask, don’t tell” is replaced by “mind your own business.”

  8. Jeremiah Avery says:

    It'd be amusing if some people dressed as Buddy Christ showed up and started blasting "It's Raining Men" on some stereos.

  9. Erik Bruhwiler says:

    I don't know much about the group, but the quotes you provided don't sound hateful, really. The message they seem to be giving is pay attention to the world, and don't get lost in your fantasies. Not a bad message as I have interpreted it, as we should all try to understand the 'real' world, but I certainly don't think that enjoying comics is 'bad'.We shouldn't make more out of something than it is. Your article seemed more full of hate than their quotes. If we all just relax a bit, then no more will be made of it than should be.

    • Mike Gold says:

      Really? You don't think crashing all those people's funerals with their "God Hates Fags" placards and their chants and their "He Has Gone To Hell" t-shirts isn't hateful? Honest? You think that's, what, fucking POLITE? You do NOT "relax" in the face of bigotry and hatred. You FIGHT it with all your heart and soul.

      • Erik Bruhwiler says:

        I didn't look at the website. You did not read my comment carefully, and are attacking me without foundation. I based my comment on your article. If the issues you brought up were significant to your point of view, then you should have presented them in the article. You even noted that you did not provide a link, and I didn't check out the group. I simply went by what you wrote.Suddenly, after I provide a disagreement to what you wrote, you bring in other info you think is relevant.Yes, bigotry is disruptive and ignorant, but anger and belligerence is dysfunctional. It makes your 'argument' emotional ranting instead of reasonable assertions.

        • Kristy says:

          Easy, there. I think he assumed you were familiar with the Westboro Baptists – they have been in the news an awful lot. The article wasn't meant to be a full introduction to this (incredibly hateful and hate-filled) group, just a comment on their most recent silliness.However, yes, you're right – while he did allude to the nasty protests they hold at funerals and the like, the quotes he actually cited were not that harsh. Annoying, yes, but downright tame compared to some of the things they've said and done in the past. So if you really are completely unfamiliar with Fred Phelps and his ilk, then it's understandable that you wouldn't consider them that bad, based only on what's been presented here. But give the man a break. He's not writing in a bubble, and it is reasonable to assume that most readers would be familiar with a group putting themselves in the public eye as often as the WBC.

          • Erik Bruhwiler says:

            Read all of the replies he has placed, here. My first response was accurate. I got his tone because it infused his article. That is why I said he should 'relax'. There is too much 'anti-fellow-human' going on in the world as it is, and every little event is significant.It needs to end, and we need to end it together. Peacefully.Give him a break, like the break he gave me as a response? It is no longer 'give peace a chance.' It is 'peace or the world crumbles.'I'm sure Mike is giving all of this some thought. Perhaps he will be more patient with folks who don't immediately fall in line with his thinking.

          • Kristy says:

            Oh, I've read 'em. And yeah, the responses you've received have been kind of knee-jerk and ass-ish, no argument here. (You hear that, Mike and Mike? When you're trying to convince someone to agree with your point of view, insulting and attacking them is kind of DOING IT WRONG.) But I can also see why.For those who know about them, the WBC is pretty strongly demonized, and not unfairly. I mean, yes, they are human. There was a photographer, can't remember his name sadly, who did a project where he shadowed members of the church and took pictures of them when they were at home or otherwise "off the clock", and you know what? They seem like pretty nice people. They love their kids. They have normal human charms and quirks and foibles. You could probably have coffee with them and enjoy the experience. None of that makes them sane or reasonable or good.Most members of the KKK are nice enough folk, on a one-on-one basis. Most members of the Nazi party (I know I'm invoking Godwin's Law here, bear with me) were good, decent kids, pillars of the community, who loved their families and their neighbors. That didn't stop them from doing a heck of a lot of damage, though, and here's the thing: if you'd tried to hold a reasonable conversation with them about it? 99.9% of them wouldn't have thought they'd done anything wrong.I love people. I love people who love people. But I'm not naive. Yeah, maybe my (or your) voice of reason will be the final straw that changes someone's mind and brings them back to the realm of sanity… but while I can hope for it? I'm not betting on it.These are people who show up at soldiers' funerals and tell grieving mothers and widows that God intentionally killed their sons and husbands because America is tolerant of gays. Shame, reason, logic, and basic human decency are quite obviously not factors in these peoples' thought processes.And so yeah. When someone posts on a message board defending them, there IS a kneejerk reaction to it. I felt it, I won't deny it. For a moment or two, I wanted to shove your face into their nastiness and say "See? See? These people here – they're the reason why we can't have nice things! Don't defend them!!" (I didn't, because, well… a) you didn't deserve that, and b) that is not not NOT a way to win an argument. But, y'know, not everyone was raised by a debate coach, so cut people some slack.) It's like… think of that one person, that one group, that makes your blood boil every time. (You've got one, don't lie. You're human too.) You can't imagine any possible reason for not being outraged by them. Then someone comes along and, in all innocence, defends them. We'd all like to think we'd be reasonable about it, but in reality? The claws would most likely come out. It happens. Not everything about humans is pretty.Personally, the ACLU gal in me sees the WBC as a prime example of the American ideal in action. Because if a douchenozzle like Phelps – whom NOBODY, left or right, likes or supports – is allowed to tell grieving parents that their kid is burning in hell, without getting arrested or lynched? The First Amendment is WORKING, y'all. Any time someone wants to ban or suppress free speech for being offensive, we can just point to this asshole and say "If he can get away with it…" So yeah, Fred Phelps. Exercise your right to free speech. Preach it….But expect me to preach it right back. Mercilessly. Because free speech means I can verbally rip you up one wall and down the other.In the meantime, I support your effort to be reasonable at unreasonable people. Good luck with that – hey, maybe it'll actually work. But if you really are so concerned with finding peaceful solutions and being the adult, maybe you could start with bending a little, making some concessions, and finding a peaceful and friendly resolution to this flame war? Regardless of how you've been treated or whether or not you were in the wrong? It would be good practice, at the very least.

          • Mike Gold says:

            "I'm sure Mike is giving all of this some thought. Perhaps he will be more patient with folks who don't immediately fall in line with his thinking." What fun's in THAT? If I have to use the product of my journalism degree in my writing, it'll be work-for-hire, and that sucks.

    • Brandon Barrows says:

      I'm betting you're either really young, or don't read the news/watch tv at all because your ignorance in this matter is astounding. Fred Phelps has been preaching hate for decades, and is quite possibly the best known hatemonger in American history.Fred Phelps and his group hate homosexuals, non-Whites, Catholics, Jews….you name it. I'm not exaggerating at all.They have even gone so far as to stage protests at the funerals of openly gay US SERVICEMEN and made statements to the effect of that those folks got what they deserved. These are people who died serving their country, and no matter WHAT you think of someone's lifestyle choices or the war they lost their lives in, distrupting a funeral is absolutely unacceptable and should be a felony.As you stated, you "don't know much" and you really should do 2 minutes' worth of researching before stating that you think Fred Phelps's message isn't that bad.

      • Erik Bruhwiler says:

        I don't have to do any researching. I can simply respond to the foundations and info presented in the article. I will not make assumptions about info that is offered. I will respond to what is actually provided.It is imperative the author of the article take responsibility for a well-founded and structured point of view. I vitriolic spit-fest is meaningless. Your response does not do much for advancing your point of view. It just makes you look belligerent and oppressive.

        • Mike Gold says:

          My response might not do anything for you, and I can live with that. Belligerence is a perfect response to naked bigotry.

        • Brandon Barrows says:

          You can cry "no fair" and defend your ignorance all you like. The bottom line is that you've ignorantly defended one of the world's foremost purveyors of hatred and now you're trying to justify it.Good for you for sticking to your guns, even if you're dead wrong.

        • mike weber says:

          People who actually know something about these vermin (which is any reasonably-informed person) or bother to find out (which is any reasonable person who encounters mention of them) don't need any more explanation than provided.In fact, all that is needed for people who actually keep up with current events to be outraged is to hear that this group plans to show up anywhere.I've provided a number of links in a post further down – remedy your ignorance, or else go away or i shall taunt you some more.

          • Erik Bruhwiler says:

            Your declarations of 'reasonable' person don't do much for me, and demonizing me because I didn't simply buy into your comments isn't really much better than picketing a funeral, in principle.There are millions of 'current events'. I don't have to pay attention to the ones you pay attention to have a valid point of view. Now that our discussion has deteriorated into what each other is doing 'wrong' as participants in it, it is pretty much run its ground.I will say that I may actually go up and talk to this group while I am at Comic Con. Only by doing that are they going to be exposed to a calm and reasonable alternative to their own point of view. Emotional righteousness yelled at those who already believe it is wrong only satisfies your own emotional needs.

          • Mike Gold says:

            Good luck with that. You might want to check Mike Weber's links, just so you have an idea of the turf.

          • Erik Bruhwiler says:

            Thanks, I'll do that.

          • mike weber says:

            Okay, maybe i'm not a very "reasonable" person, either, and i don't particularly go out of my way to follow current events, but even my peripheral attention is enough to tell me that these people – who get featured on CNN, network news, newspaper front pages, and other national news sources (and are even reviled by the right-wing clowns at Fox) on a regular basis – are neither "reasonable" not sane.Plus, the first graph of the original article provides at least a bit of indication that these people are neither reasonable, logical or sane. (And Mike apparently makes the reasonable assumption that most people in the Real World have heard enough about these evil clowns to not need him to say any more.)Picketing the funerals of servicepeople killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, holding up signs that say "God hates fags" and "Thank God for IEDs", and planning to picket the funerals of six Amish girls murdered in school to preach the evils of the Amish religious beliefs, are not the actions of people one would want around nor of people one can reason with with anything less than a pine clue-by-four.Five states (i believe; possibly more or fewer) have passed laws banning picketing within 500 feet (or so) specifically because of them.On the subject of "resonableness":Personally, the first thing i do when i read an article like this, if i know nothing about the subject or the opinions of the author (sometimes particularly if i know something about the opinions of the author), is a little basic research. If it turns out that the article is (as in this case) if anything an understatement, then i know how to proceed in my reactions.(A simple google on "Westboro Baptist Church" turned up literally housands of hits.)If i discover that it's the sort of ludicrous "news" purveyed by Fox (or similar wackos over on the far left), then i know to decry it and/or ignore it.But i never assume that it's safe to dismiss an article or its author on the strength of one piece without checking the facts.Some people apparently do. And some people unreasonably continue to assert that they don't need to emedy their ignorance in order to have a valid opinion after it's been pointed out to them that they don't know anything about the subject.

          • Erik Bruhwiler says:

            I am not concerned about what other people say in response.You can keep attacking me for my legitimate response to your article, but the failing is on your side if you think that I have to go beyond the article to have an opinion. That is the failing of mainstream news', as well. Too much unsubstantiated opinion. Make your case, don't make me make it for you. Convince me with the article rather than saying I'm an idiot for not doing your work for you.Now consider this: what if this group could actually give a shit about the groups they picket? What if they are actual goal is to stir up antagonism and belligerence at the behest of a larger scheme by more nefarious people? I have no evidence for this, but I suspect it. So, in essence, you are supporting their goal.It is hard to stay calm and a center for peace when this kind of flagrant (almost too flagrant, don't you think?) hate speech is occurring, but if we don't, then we end up creating an volatile emotional stew that can more easily be steered towards war or other hidden agendas. That is when we all lose.

          • Kat S. says:

            Actually, Erik, it's your "legitimate response to [the] article" that has me the most interested. Leaving aside issues of the group in question and addressing the make-up of the article itself, your logic has me curious.Articles are not meant to provide every possible bit of information about the topics they present. They provide the information that the writer believes to be relevant in order to attain the goal of their piece. If you are familiar with other articles written for this source, then you know that they are normally short pieces that inform as well as express the opinions of the writer. As a thinking individual, you then have the right and the freedom to go beyond the article to expand your own knowledge if you desire to know more about any subjects presented.You criticize Mr. Gold's article for not giving you the necessary facts. If you read the title of the piece, however, you will discover that it states the article's goal quite plainly – that a certain group will appear at a certain place. The author provides the names of both groups involved, the city it will take place in, as well as the date and time of their appearance. He also does list some information about the group in question, such as their habit of protesting soldiers' funerals. Mr. Gold does not go into detail explaining what Comic Con is either, though you do not fault him for that.You could also look at it this way: if you saw a short article announcing that band XYZ was performing at venue Doesn'tMatter, would you expect the article to explain everything about XYZ's music, their songs, and their other appearances? Articles are also written for certain audiences. Mr. Gold assumes people reading his piece will be familiar with Comic Con. He also states as his first sentence that he assumes his readers have "probably heard of Fred Phelps and his Topeka Kansas Westboro Baptist Church." Perhaps this is not true of everyone, but that doesn't mean that it's Mr. Gold's responsibility to delve into facts he believes are already present.In the end, we are all ignorant of many things, but we do not have to remain so. The only person we can ultimately hold responsible for our own learning is ourselves.

    • mike weber says:

      You know nothing about these creeps.A few references for you:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westboro_Baptist_Chuhttp://www.godhatesfags.com/schedule.html – one week from today (7/17/19) they're going to picket Major League Baseball. I'd say "God alone knows why", but i'm not sure He can figure out these wackos.http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,217760…,00….http://blogs.westword.com/latestword/2010/05/westhttp://www.break.com/index/westboro_baptist_churchttp://www.speroforum.com/site/article.asp?id=288

      • Miles Vorkosigan says:

        "God alone knows why." To quote Gust Avrakotos, I don't see God anywhere within miles of this.

      • Erik Bruhwiler says:

        Thanks, Kat. I do appreciate your feedback, and it is valid. Except that he tainted his information with negative emotional feedback, in ways that are meant to create such in others. My response was to that, and I said we should relax.If he wants me to have such an emotional response as his, or to feel that his is valid, then he has to present information that causes that in me, and not try to get me to feel that way because he does.From what I read, his emotional feedback was unfounded or vitriolic, and may even to help cause a scene at Comic Con, which, by the way, will only help their cause. They are going there to cause a scene and get on the news. (I mean, really, idolatry? These are weak excuses to show up there and get on the news).If this were an informational article as you described, then his reaction would not be included. My take on the article was Mike was saying that "we should all violently hate these people!" My reaction was, "No we shouldn't." We don't have to hate them, we can feel sorry for them, peacefully.You can keep arguing with me about the validity of my initial response, and my response to the insults and negativity I received as a result – someone simply advocating peace – but my positions still stands, and is valid. Stopping the hate starts with ourselves.The most powerful response to a hate rally I learned of was when a group of people intermingled with peace signs around them, and let the town know ahead of time. The town got their message completely, and saw the hate participants as unfortunate fools, not demonically possessed anti-christs.

        • mike weber says:

          Still trying to justify your own knee-jerk reaction.The only negativity and hatred of the sort you're talking about in Mike Gold's original post is in the final graphs – and it's specifically personal, followed by a request for opinions from his readers.The first graph provides a fairly accurate (albeit slanted) summary of who and what Phelps and his followers are and what they do.The next two explain what they have to do with comics. (A tad slanted in attitude, but this site doesn't represent itself as any kind of un-biased reporter of word news.)The next few quote Phelps's communique verbatim.Then MG expresses his personal opinion. (See parenthetical remark above.)========================Then, in the comments, you jump in, scolding him for negativity and hatred 9[of a group you admit having not heard of and haven't bothered to find out about], spouting Get-Along Gang sweetness and light.When MG responds, aghast that you could be making apologies for such an extensively-documented group of bigoted hatemongers, mentioning things that really are common knowledge, you respond in the same invincibly ignorant vein "Suddenly, after I provide a disagreement to what you wrote, you bring in other info you think is relevant."Well, yes. This response, seriously, is as if you had responded to a post decrying the Gulf oil spill by demanding why the original post didn't mention that water is wet and the sky (in our world) is blue.By the way – what sahde of paisley is the Sun in your world today?========================I used the term "ignorant" before, and i've just used it again. Despite societal loading, at base it means not knowing something. When i'm presented with something i don't know that sounds interesting or important, and i wonder if, perhaps, the source is biased or slanted … i find out. I spend a minute or two with Google, since i'm already sitting at the computer, anyway.I might learn something interesting that would expand my appreciation of the world. If nothing else, i might collect ammunition to refute a biased opinion with facts, instead of a claim that the piece is obviously slanted and doesn't provide it inherently.But, when i realise i'm ignorant on a subject, i remedy the condition."Stupid" is refusing to remedy the condition when it is brought to your attention that you are ignorant."Stupid" is not bothering to learn about anything new that comes your way that is apparently of importance.Here's your sign…

          • Erik Bruhwiler says:

            Touche.You win. Fine stroke. My original reply was not thought through and was off the cuff. Meaningless. Fuck peace.Die humanless bigots!

          • mike weber says:

            Awww.

          • Mike Gold says:

            "Fuck peace." Hey, I had a button with that on it in the late 60s.

          • mike weber says:

            I think he doesn't want to play with bullies like us anymore.You know, people who point out the fallacious nature of his positions.

          • Erik Bruhwiler says:

            Obviously that makes you comfortable, just like saying, "Eww, obviously bad people. Look everybody, bad people. Someone should kill them."

          • mike weber says:

            Still missing the point, eh?Here's your sign.

  10. Jan Scholl says:

    This group was here in Flushing Mi for a funeral a while back. We are such a small town, and to have the nation’s eye on us, not because a young man died so tragically in such a stupid war but because of the antics of this group is so saddening. I can’t hate them even tho I despise what they do. Hate sucks the life out of you-maybe that is their ultimate goal. Perhaps they thrive on others hating them-and seeing others actually become just like them in a vicious circle as more are sucked in. Like a drug that gives an incredible euphoria, this group wants your returned hate. And the press shows up to film and provoke both sides. When they don’t get a rise from us, then they will go away. But we have to steel ourselves and put up a barrier to the hate. It’s hard–not matter who the hate antagonists are…but we can’t let this sort of hate eat our hearts up. Life is short and we spend so much time wallowing in negative. The easiest thing to do is to hate back-but I won’t even as I deal with similar incidents in my own family in the last few years. I don’t need a religion or a god or rules on stones to know that I want to have a positive impact on my family and those around me. Hate isn’t positive. I do wonder on one thing however-were all religions (using that word loosely) made to pay taxes, if these people would go away. The way the rules are written right now, the government is giving some fringe group religions free reign to spread their message . I do believe if Uncle Sam started demanding his fair share, we would see less and less of these protests.

    • Anonymous says:

      They’ve been humiliated before by costumers showing up and shouting about how much God hates shrimp, pork, etc. which makes this group look ridiculous. The important thing is that people don’t get riled up and take a swing at them, they sue for cash and that’s how they keep going.

      Jonathan Roth

    • Mike Gold says:

      Hmmm. I’ll probably be in your general vicinity in the next couple months. My pals John Ostrander and Mary Mitchell are moving about an hour east of you. But I had spent a lot of time in the Grand Rapids / Big Rapids areas to your west, and yeah, I can just imagine the impact of the media circus marching in and out of Phelps’ tent as your community was simply trying to bury a local hero.

  11. Miles Vorkosigan says:

    This is another Jim Jones/David Koresh wackjob cult mass suicide just waiting to happen, guys. Their message isn’t the prob, it’s their means of delivery, as well as what’s under the message. The public stance of PETA is fairly rational, but the attitudes underneath are pretty nasty, and almost as ugly as Nazi Party doctrine. Underneath Fred Phelps and his gaggle of loons is the same sort of crap the KKK has preached since 1867. Hate everybody that’s not just like you, and kill anybody you hate.

    And once again I preach to the choir.

    Erik, good luck with that. Be sure to let us know which hospital you land in, so I can send flowers.

    • Erik Bruhwiler says:

      If they put me in the hospital it would undermine their goal.I don’t really fear them, that serves their goal.I will attempt to have a discussion, and if they are incapable of it, I will let them know they are, and walk away.

      • mike weber says: