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Apr 27 2010

Westboro Baptist Church to troll Constance McMillen's graduation

Just when I thought Westboro Baptist Church couldn’t get any more vile, they just announced that they will picket Constance McMillen’s high school graduation. If you don’t remember, Constance was the lesbian student who wanted to take her girlfriend to prom, and in turn her high school canceled prom. And when it seemed like everything was going to work out okay (after the ACLU stepped in), the majority of Constance’s high school student’s went to a secret “real” prom instead.

Constance, you should see the WBC’s attention as a badge of honor. By standing up for your rights and helping gay students across the country, you became so awesome that WBC wants to waste their time on you. The vast majority of people, theists and non-theists alike, detest the deplorable actions of WBC. We applaud you.

Though at the same time, I really do feel bad for her. Her classmates have proven to be complete tools so far, with no one willing defend Constance, and everyone willing to bring her down. The WBC has always brought together diverse groups together to protest and mock their hate… I wonder if even Fulton, Mississippi will launch a counter-protest? The cynic in me worries, since the sort of things that have been said by community members fall pretty close to the beliefs of WBC.

Fulton, this is your one shot at (at least some) redemption. I suggest you don’t screw it up.

56 comments

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  1. 1
    VeritasTruthseeker

    I expect them to screw it up. I hope Constance finds her way to somewhere in the world where she is loved and accepted.

  2. 2
    Andrew Gorman

    If only I were closer to help her out. Then again, the WBC will get even more horrible press if they all gang up on one girl alone. And the town as well if they do not defend a fellow citizen. She needs to get herself out of there asap.

  3. 3
    Iason Ouabache

    Meh. I guess I’m cynical about the WBC now. They are no longer interesting and always get out-protested by opposing groups. I’d be happy if I never heard about Fred Phelps every again. I wish all media outlets would boycott him and deprieve him of the attention that he so craves.

  4. 4
    Jon

    Whenever I see this sort of thing, I think ‘ Wow! Somebody [WBC in this case] really can’t be busy, if they have nothing more important than this to worry about…’Poor girl.(Incidentally, I’m a total luddite on the web – how would I register/login/etc?)

  5. 5
    Chris Decker

    It’s sad that the entire town feels it’s perfectly acceptable to be so harsh to this poor woman. It’s even worse that this hate group feels the need to picket her graduation. She will have no support on her side. With all the complaints of hatred in the world, how can something like this still be allowed to happen?

  6. 6
    Iason Ouabache

    And yes, “out-protested” is a word, dammit!

  7. 7
    Alexrkr7

    I hope the people in the town hold a counter-protest like others have to help raise charity for causes they (WBC) disagree with. They aren’t going to stop and they might as well get something good out of if. Sadly some of the townspeople may join WBC if their past behavior is any indication.

  8. 8
    Southern Illinois Sam

    For a good time, go to YouTube and Google Michael Moore & Westboro Babtist. Moore did a great job of defusing the ol’ crank.

  9. 9
    L.Long

    She does have a silver lining….Soon she will be done with HS and can LEAVE!!!!!

  10. 10
    Stephen Best

    I think a bunch of gblt peeps should randomly show up at WBC not to protest, but actually walk in and attend the service…just to mess with they’re heads…what more to piss them off then a hundred or so gblt people flooding their church..I would so attend lol -stephie (http://Twitter.com/shaydewalkk

  11. 11
    Neda

    wow, that’s pathetic of constance’s classmates. why will teenagers do anything to fit in?

  12. 12
    PandaMama

    You’d think they would have bigger more important things to waste their time and money on.

  13. 13
    Michelle

    I loved seeing Pam’s House Blend give what-for to the students who gloated on Facebook, then turned around and whined about the bad publicity. http://www.pamshouseblend.com/

  14. 14
    Pablo

    From what I have heard, WBC is not going to protest Constance. They are going to (get this) protest _the citizens of the town_, for being too weak-willed and not doing enough to stand up to Constance!As if what they actually did wasn’t cruel enough.

  15. 15
    Pablo

    I wouldn’t hold the classmates completely responsible. Their parents were also doing their part.As I have said in other places, the scary/sad part to me is that these people STILL think they are right, and have done a Good Thing (TM) by humiliating and ostracizing this girl.

  16. 16
    Michael

    The only thing I disagree with is that the other students were tools — what they did seems to be evidence not of any stupidity but plain old unadulterated eviiiiillll.

  17. 17
    SuperHappyJen

    So I don’t get it…they don’t want homosexuals to graduate? Gays can’t possibly have passing grades in Math and English! Stop the ceremony!

  18. 18
    Kacey

    That’s terrible. She has been through so much and graduation is such an important milestone. Sometimes I can’t believe how horrible some people can be to others.

  19. 19
    Jake

    Why would she even go to graduation? If my senior class had been as big of tools as her class has shown themselves to be I would have had nothing to do with graduation.

  20. 20
    Krista

    I will say I’m somewhat saddened that no one cares about the other classmates who were sent to the “fake prom”. Constance is smart and has scholarships to go away. The developmentally disabled students who also got sent to the same prom, who’s giving them scholarships to get out? Being an articulate young lady, I’d hope Constance takes the microphone and call out the VERY unchristian actions (and I’m Christian myself) against those whom no one ever defends. There are ideas about being gay, what it means, what it is. I think she should have every right her classmates do. She seems a wonderful girl. I hope her life and career only go up from here. I also hope she takes from this experience a desire to help those who do not have the opportunities and abilities she possesses.

  21. 21
    Mike129

    Idiots.Seriously.

  22. 22
    Kaessa

    It would be awesome if a bunch of people came from out of town to counter-protest. Even if her classmates won’t. I wish I lived closer, I’d love to go.

  23. 23
    Godlessons

    Damn your new found popularity Jen. I think I broke my scroll wheel trying to get to the bottom to post a reply and the post is only 2 hours old. ;)Anyway, I would love those assholes protesting me. I would take it as an opportunity to screw with them. Send women to hit on the women and men to hit on the men. I would even go hit on those guys and I’m straight.They are so homophobic, they would probably just fly out of there like Satan just shoved his pitchfork up their asses.

  24. 24
    Gneiss_and_a_little_wacke

    graargh…Well maybe we can still hope that the people of Fultan see the worst of themselves mirrored in fanatical, bigoted people protesting them for not being fanatical and bigoted enough. That they will maybe even gain a small glimmer of an idea of what they are doing without thought and conscience to a high school girl…Slim chance, I know… they’ll probably just join the picketing of themselves…. *sigh*

  25. 25
    haleyk

    I read that she was planning to go to a local community college after high school, does anyone have an update on her plans? I would have thought she would have wanted to get the hell out of the south.

  26. 26
    Givesgoodemail

    If I’m not working by then, I may well take a trip down to Fulton to1) cheer Constance on2) find a way to drown out the assholes

  27. 27
    Stan

    I spent the first 25 years of my life in Mississippi living approximately one hour from Fulton. Trust me. The town citizens are going to fuck this up. There’s almost no way that they can handle this situation with class. It’s going to be outside the range of their moral and emotional constraints.Don’t get me wrong. I love Mississippi, and if I could, I’d happily be living there right now. Have you ever read Lord of the Rings? You have to think of North Mississippi like the Shire. It’s quaint. Life there is slow. They’re distrustful of outside ideas. The people pride themselves on holding strongly to their values, and their values have not caught up to the 21st century. One of the values they hold most sacred is a sense of community. They know who their neighbors are. They help each other, not just with big things (like hurricanes), but with small things, too (like raking leaves or home repair). Unfortunately, the members of the communities judge each other on how well they maintain a certain set of other core values. Religion. Work ethic. Hospitality (it’s big there). Sexual orientation. Etc. They do this because, for them, maintaining the community means maintaining a certain homgeneity of behavior among the members. Any outside (ie. modern) influence is viewed with a great deal of skepticism, and the real problem is that most people care much, MUCH more about what the people next door think of them than what the rest of the country thinks of them. You have to think of North and Central Mississippi (as opposed to the more moderate and tolerant coastal area) as a gigantic museum display, in some ways similar to Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia. Living there is like stepping back in time to the mid-20th century. Not everything that you see there is terrible or to be mocked. In Mississippi, I have known such friendship and such kindness that it would break your heart. Family, friends, honest work, good food, simple pleasures, stewardship of the land are all institutions there. But then, so are bigotry, sexism, and racism.What is happening to poor Constance is an important, necessary, and very painful step towards bringing this rural area into the future. (That would be a good thing; though, I hope the people there don’t lose their more positive traditions in the process.) Right now, it’s going to take brave people like Constance to help people see that there is value and much to be celebrated outside the blanket of traditional conformity that covers the area. I hope she doesn’t leave Mississippi. I hope she stays and builds a life there, so she can show them what a wonderful person she is and what value there is in her life choices. To bring about real change there, it’s going to take one guy in overalls meeting another by chance at the farm supply store and saying, “Hey, you remember that lesbian girl, Constance? Man, she REALLY helped me out the other day!”For the record, not all people from from the area are idiots. In fact, most aren’t. I’m a liberal (the socialist kind, not the green kind), deist type guy in my early 30′s. I was educated almost entirely in MS. Rural MS. I always did extremely well in school, and I have had a successful career as an editor. I even managed to talk a wonderful, smarty-pants scientist lady from New York into marrying me. Since leaving Mississippi, I have lived several other places around the country (including Alaska), but in no other place have I found such simple beauty and such quiet peace as I experience everytime I visit home.I guess it’s easy to mock Mississippi… unless you’ve actually lived there.

  28. 28
    The naked atheist

    Fortunately this wouldn’t be allowed in the UK, we have laws against incitement to hatred, specifically against sexual orientation, racial and religion, but any act that incites hatred can be stopped by the police here.Free speech is all very well, but some people push that freedom too far, and when does your freedom become someone elses oppression!

  29. 29
    Kevin Lyda

    Which would be a good start, but it’s still tough to confront that hate in person on your own.

  30. 30
    Kevin Lyda

    “Fulton, this is your one shot at (at least some) redemption. I suggest you don’t screw it up.”Seconded.And someone else pointed out that other schools have done counter-protests to raise money for people the WBC doesn’t like. For instance charities that help wounded veterans.Perhaps someone at that school will have the sense to suggest that. And maybe it could be someone other than Constance who has shouldered enough already. Be nice to know someone else in that community could step up to the plate.

  31. 31
    Andrew Hall

    I’m waiting for the FOX reality show that follows the lives of the WBC.(NOTE: There is no upcoming FOX reality show of the WBC, I felt it was necessary to place this note because it’s sooo crazy it could happen.)http://laughinginpurgatory.blo

  32. 32
    Richard Halkyard

    And now this, too: http://www.thestranger.com/slo….Mississippi officially fails at being a state.

  33. 33
    Brittany

    At the very least, I believe a lot of people (possibly the majority of people) find the WBC deplorable. Maybe everyone else will get to see the ugly side of discrimination that Fulton seems to really agree with.As far as I’m concerned, the people of Fulton and the WBC are the same.

  34. 34
    Amanda

    Just take what Krista said and double it from me.This entire situation just makes me sick and sad. What would be potentially useful is that if other schools just quietly let students bring the dates of their choice, regardless of gender, so Westboro DOESN’T get wind of their existence. I think that would have the potential to cause WBC to implode. So… win win!

  35. 35
    selkie

    unbelievable… and there is another link to yet another case of rabid prejudice and nastiness (http://www.jacksonfreepress.co… -for god’s sake, they cut the kid out of the YEARBOOK- excised her as if she never existed! Also, i agree with some of the commentators above – I really really feel for the OTHER kids that were so horridly treated as well – the kids and parents of that town should hang their heads in shame. And their so-called Christian values certaintly are ‘flexible’ aren’t they?

  36. 36
    Akusai

    A few years ago the were going to come to Lafayette and we mobilized a small counter-protest. The thing I learned that day was that the Phelps clan announces far more pickets than they actually carry out. There’s a chance that they won’t even get to Mississippi for the graduation.On the other hand, there might be too much media coverage on this one for them to pass up.

  37. 37
    JT

    I will take stupid hateful WBC with our rights to free speech over the path the UK appears to be going down. Laws against blasphemy are ridiculous. They tried to imprison a man for leaving material mocking religion in a prayer room at an airport (prison time later dropped). We do not need to enshroud superstition in ANY form of protection.People are fine to protect, but ideas are meant to be scrutinized. Religious folks are already whiny wanna-be victims without giving them a legal route to do so.

  38. 38
    dave_13

    “go get ‘em.”lmaoi love it! these sociopaths deserve any and all abuse they receive. this is just absolutely despicable.

  39. 39
    Hugo Grinebiter

    So, when can we see a Jen McCreight finger puppet from the Unemployed Philosophers’ Guild? (for those who don’t know this amazing place, http://www.philosophersguild.c…. Note how their category for religious goofery is “Non-secular”, reversing the norm assumption.) We could also do another sweetie set called Boob ExperiMints.

  40. 40
    Krista

    Then what’s with being cruel to disabled students? Pretty much against any Christian value I know…

  41. 41
    MissHoneychurch

    You know Jen, I found this blog because a friend thought the Boobquake thing was hilarious – and it is – but I’m bookmarking your blog because you are smart, funny, and a delight to read. Thanks for restoring sanity in an insane world!

  42. 42
    richardhb

    I think that he was done under the obscenity laws rather than any sort of blasphemy nonsense (we haven’t had those for a while). The offending images were claimed to be RUDE anti-religious thingies.

  43. 43
    Stan

    To be honest, in all the time I’ve spent in Mississippi, I’ve never witnessed any cruelty to disabled students. We had several disabled kids in my school, and everyone seemed to rally behind them and try extra hard to include them, even the kids who were normally cruel to nerdy kids like me.I’m not really sure to what you are referring.I will say that traditional Southern values do not exactly coincide with Christrian values. For instance, the whole “turn the other cheek” concept doesn’t go over well in the South (at least not until retirement age). Nor does, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

  44. 44
    Rob

    Next step: organise a Boycott Mississippi campaign–don’t buy anything made there, or travel there, or attend school there, or buy products sponsoring Mississippi events, such as football games…..hmmmmm….

  45. 45
    Pablo

    The disabled students to which Krista referred were the (apparently) LD students who also didn’t seem to get the message about the prom being moved. According to the Cool Kids, that is because they (the Cool Kids) don’t interact with the LD students ever, so no one got around to telling them.It is more of an example of typical “shun the undesirables” attitude of the students.

  46. 46
    Stan

    Excuse me, but…. what? Let’s boycott an entire state in response to the hateful actions of a few residents of a single town. Yeah, because that’s not overkill.

  47. 47
    Avigayil

    Oh Constance. as a religious person I HATE it when other people claim to be religious and spread hate. You go girl! Be strong and be yourself. As you can see there are heaps of people out there on your side. All the best in moving post high school to a town that isn’t in the dark ages.

  48. 48
    Lady Kwake

    My question is, when are people going to not just counter-protest these people, but REALLY protest? I mean go to their so called “church” and stand around with signs, telling them that they are the scum of the world. And not just the gay and lesbian community, but the real Christians out there who think they are disgusting? I know they exist. I’m one of them.Honestly, as a Christian, they make me feel sick. It’s people like this who make me ashamed of my religion, of my beliefs, because I am very openly Christian, and I don’t want people to say “Oh, you’re a Christian, that must mean you’re a bigotted moron who can’t think for herself.” It’s not true. I can think for myself. I decided to be a Christian on my own, because I really have felt God’s touch in my life more times than I can count.I’m not biggoted either. The man I see as a father is gay. My husband’s “sister” is a lesbian. I love them, and if WBC decided to protest something about them, I’d take a sniper rifle with me and take out as many of those… ahem, as I could, and DAMNED be the consequences. Heck, I’d probably get people protesting my trial, saying I did the world a favor.Churchs like WBC give Christians a bad name, and I’m not the only one pissed off about it. As far as I’m concerned, Fred Phelps is Lucifer himself. I can see him creating a sham of a church like WBC.

  49. 49
    ShinyBaubles

    I would think that a law against inciting hatred is meant to protect people, not their ideas. Seems to me there should be a balance between our supposedly sacrosanct “personal freedoms” and the rights of others in the US. I think the UK is at least trying to achieve this balance, which seems better to me than allowing everything until it’s much too late. Society and chaos don’t work well together.

  50. 50
    Hot Headed Honey

    But now she gets her own prom thrown by Green Day: http://www.mtv.com/news/articl…. I hope she will get to move on from all this media whirl-wind and live a normal life. And hopefully in a place where she is free to live her life how, and with whoever, she wants.

  51. 51
    Jenni

    Being from Mississippi I can assure you Fulton will fuck up and then some. Hopefully, the poor girl can escape this horrid state and move someplace where a real education and a real life are available. I was called to a principal’s office in ninth grade for being a witch (pagan.) My daughter was scared silly by her kindergarten teacher because we aren’t christian. Our infant mortality rate is the highest in the nation and our dropout rate is almost the highest (47th) and our test scores are the lowest (5oth in ACT for example.) It doesn’t matter on what level you are speaking of this overly religious nut-job state (in which I was born and raised) is holding its citizens and itself back with this bull. Religion is at the bottom of all of it, it’s a total lack of education and a total acquiescence to anything the preachers say. We may as well be West Africa down here. Next thing you know albinos will be in danger. I hope the rest of the country sees us for what we are. Not nice southern people but a bunch of racist, sexist, homophobes. Now, what are ya gonna do about it? How about some national education standards? How about not falling for that states’ rights BS? You all do know that’s how people get away with crap in the south, right? States rights. Which really translates to “your rights are dependent upon where you live.” This all goes way beyond Constance. Although, I am glad she brought what this state really is to the forefront.

  52. 52
    Jenni

    It’s not overkill. My state needs some kind of wakeup call. Maybe not the coast, they are traditionally the more relaxed and groovy of us. But for goodness sake’s sex toys are illegal here! Yes, a boycott is due. You cannot treat minorities like crap, act hypocritical, and drag everybody down with no repercussions. This state is run by Republicans, hitting them in their pocketbooks is the only thing they know. You’re telling Rob up there this is overkill but do you know anything about my state? Have you heard Haley Barbour talk? Considering I live here I’d hate to see it actually happen but the bad behavior here does not stop at Constance- as I said they do need a wake up call of some kind. People here are proud of their lack of advancement and knowledge. This is the 21st century. Such an attitude is no longer just “quaint” it’s detrimental to progress.

  53. 53
    Stan

    I do know a thing or two about “our” state, since I lived most of my life there, all my family live there, and I still visit home at least once a year. See my longer comment earlier in the posts for more of my thoughts on Mississippi.Yes, I know sex toys are illegal. I was attending MSU when a nearby adult book/video store in Columbus was raided for daring to sell dildos. I know “cohabitation” is illegal. (I’m proud to say I’ve broken that law on a number of occasions.) Yes, I know Haley Barbour is horrible and is basically a puppet governor whose strings are pulled by the tobacco industry.I was raised on a beautiful farm in Northern Mississippi by a kind and generous family. I was taught the value of hard work, a caring family, and a welcoming community. Except for a few black sheep like me, my family is made up of socially conservative Republicans. My grandfather admitted that he voted Democrat his entire adult life until the Republicans started espousing Christian family values (back in the 70′s when the Republicans used that strategy to take over the South). When I went to college, my eyes were opened to a larger world. I was able to study some of the true history of this country, and as a result, my political views became much more liberal. In fact, I became pretty damn near a Marxist. (After all, doesn’t Jesus say, “Feed my sheep?”) But more than anything, I’m a humanist. As you can imagine, my new beliefs contrasted quite sharply with those of my family.But they are still my family. I still love, respect, and admire them, even though I could not disagree more with their thoughts on religion, sexuality, philosophy, and economic theory. I still remember all of the valuable lessons they taught me. I still remember all the love they gave me. I still remember all the patience they had with me. When they speak to me, I listen respectfully to their ideas. I weigh their words. If I disagree with them, I disagree respectfully. Not because they might shun me, but because I love them.Because of this background, I am able to appreciate the positive aspects of both sides of the left/right political divide. I am able to understand that the people on the right actually believe the things they say they believe. They really think their world will become a place they no longer recognize if they support gay marriage. They really think that if they abandon their religion (not only will they go to hell), their families will disintegrate into a bunch of meth cooking heathens. (In fact, they already see this happening in their communities, and it scares them. They think the only solution is to enforce fundamental Christian morals.) They’re already poor. They think that if they support a socialist government, their taxes will increase and that money will go to benefit the meth cookers down the street who are too lazy to get a job. These people see their way of life under attack, and they are responding to the perceived threat in the only way they understand. By and large, Mississippi is a state full of hard working people trying their best to make sense of their world using the tools they were given and the ideas and values that were handed down to them.The people in Fulton who have been especially cruel to Constance have acted in a manner that is contradictory to Christian ideals. But we’re talking about a relatively small number of people who have forgotten their sense of manners. These manners were taught to me and everyone I knew as a kid. The people of Fulton have not behaved in this manner because they are typical Mississippians. They have behaved in this manner because they are typical assholes. You can find assholes in any state. Why boycott Mississippi?You speak of racism in Mississippi, but racism exists everywhere. My advisor in grad school told me that he had never seen blacks and whites get along so well as when he moved from Boston to Mississippi to teach. In the big cities of the east coast, blacks and whites live in separate neighborhoods and don’t interact. He said in Mississippi, blacks and whites live right next door to each other and figure out some way to get along. He said the racial violence in Mississippi was nothing compared to the racial violence he saw as a kid every day on the streets of Boston. So why are you singling Mississippi out for a boycott?There are homophobes all over the country. Why single out Mississippi for a boycott?I have spent 14 years now on the left side of the political spectrum. Based on my personal experience, liberals seem to have far less tolerance than their conservative counterparts, and they seem to be much more angry than conservatives. Oh sure, they tolerate alternative life choices, but they do NOT tolerate uneducated people or people who happen to disagree with their world view, and their response to such people tends to be very aggressive indeed. Based on your post and your Twitter profile (I clicked on your name), I’d say that you feel personally wronged by the reactions of some Mississippians to your life choices. To that I can only say this: Liberal or conservative, religious or non-theist, educated or ignorant, wealthy or poor, everyone is born into this world facing the same basic problem. How do we make sense of this world and find some sort of meaning in life? We all use the tools and ideas that have been handed to us by our parents, by our communities, and by our educators. If we’re going to help bring Mississippi into the 21st century, we’re going to have to give its people new ideas and tools with which to work. If you know anything about Mississippians, you know that aggressive actions like boycotts are going to just make them more stubborn. As my granny used to say, “You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” Mississippians care just as much about how you say something as what you are actually saying. What this situation calls for is an educational campaign, not a boycott. My suggestion is to chill out, enjoy a Southern Pecan Ale (Mississippi’s first legally brewed beer in forever, produced by a friend of mine), and think of some ways we can raise awareness about the struggles of homosexuals in Mississippi without merely pissing off the vast majority of people who make their lives there.

  54. 54
    Sarah

    I just tried to add Constance on facebook, and facebook said, “We’re sorry, this user already has too many friends.” I had no idea facebook was allowed to make such judgments… Constance has 2,557 friends, and I would love to make that 2,558 to express my support for her.

  55. 55
    Amy

    I can’t believe we live in 2010 and this still occurs…Happy I live in Australia!

  56. 56
    anonymous

    I am from fulton and all I’d like to say is we didn’t know what to do? We are just kids so please stop calling us all evil? We are sorry. Most kids at my school didn’t even go to prom because this happened. Its bull and no, it was a graduation party for a kid at my school. You all should be ashamed of yourselfs..saying we are judgemental when yall are calling us rednecks and backwoods hillbillies being judgemental yourselfs. I never judged anybody in my life. Constance is not a bad person, I mean she was sticking up for what was right. But she went to far by ruining everybody’s prom. She should of thought of other people before she did that. You can’t always be spontanious and not think of the consiquences.

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