Can’t we all get along?

The Phelps gang is picketing in Chicago with their “god hates fags” sign. Hate meets hate: there was a counter-demonstration.


Which side to take? I’m a firm believer in Myers’ Wager — who would you rather piss off, the little guy with the beard preaching peace and love, or the pitiless tentacled monstrosity from a space beyond space and a time beyond time? — so I’m going to side with this sign. Besides, she’s much cuter than the cryptkeeper Fred Phelps.


  1. AVSN says

    Oy, Fred Phelps! Somebody needs to find a good way to jail that moron. I hear he and or his “church” picketed a funeral of a man who died of AIDS. What lack of class.

  2. Big City says

    I think the best way to undermine a Westboro protest is to set up a huge mirror across the street, so those fuckers have to look at themselves.

  3. Devysciple says

    Wouldn’t it actually be most effective for counter-protesters to walk around with “God Hates Me” signs?!

    That way you can perfectly show to these [insert appropriate insult here] that we could not possibly care less about who is hated by a non-existent deity.

  4. says

    I love it!

    Go! Pods Go!

    My personal protest/counter-protest shirt says, FOR SHAME.

    It is useful in just about every circumstance. It promotes interaction.

    “What do you mean by that?” = “I think people who do shameful things (start wars, preach hatred, etc.) should be ashamed of their behavior.”

    It confuses people that don’t really think, on either side of the issue being protested, and confusion is a good start towards learning.

    In contrast, my ARMAGEDDON OUTTA HERE! sign has a more limited potential for appropriate protest usage.

  5. Cadon says

    This is an outrage!! Is she wearing a ring on the OUTSIDE of her glove? Who does that?

  6. Nerd of Redhead, OM says

    I can just see Yahweh’s followers having a WTF moment. I like the concept of mocking the Phelp’s gang in front of the cameras.

  7. Josh says

    I’d probably get beat up at the protest. My sign would say: I hate god!

    Not that I don’t think you can defend yourself, but they’d have to get through me to get to you; and they wouldn’t get through me.

  8. ThirtyFiveUp says

    And, silly me, I thought the sign, “GOD HATES SHRIMP” was so clever.

    But as the Hyde Park Urbanist reports:
    “This one deserves a separate post just because it’s so U of C.”

    Small aside; Barack Obama lived in Hyde Park and he and Michelle Obama worked for the University of Chicago and their girls attended the U of C Laboratory School.

  9. AVSN says

    Maybe her hands were cold but she still wants to let the world know “sorry boys, I’m taken.”

  10. says

    Fred Phelps hasn’t been to San Francisco for a while (at least publicly, maybe he sneaks in for some man meat occasionally).

    He got showered with eggs when he came to town the last time that I know of.

    And yes, it was a wonderful sight to watch those eggs strictly follow Newton’s laws, rather then Phelps’ god’s laws, and splatter their hate-filled signs & persons at 32ft. per sec. per sec.

  11. Cthulhu says

    Of course I like chordates.

    It’s the spinal column that provides much of the crunch.

  12. Tim says

    Mocking the irreverend Phelps always cheers me up. I don’t generally believe in hell, but for Fred. I’d make an exception.

  13. Parse says

    When they were in Pittsburgh, picketing Mr. Roger’s funeral, some of my classmates took part in a counterprotest. (I’d have gone along too, but I wasn’t aware of it until after it happened.)
    Among the signs of choice were:
    *with purchase of any other six Elder Gods
    “Free Kevin Mitnick”
    “God Hates Figs”
    “What Profiteth It A Kingdom If The Oxen Be Deflated?”
    And of course, in order,
    “The End is Coming!”, “The End!”, and “The End is Going!”

    Of course, my memory is a bit wonky, and some of these may have been used at other counter-demonstrations as well (One such being here).

  14. Dahan says

    Always a good day for atheists when the Phelps clan is in the news. They can’t do anyone harm but other theists.

    It’s like when the KKK held a rally here in Saint Paul back in 2001. There was a big debate about whether or not letting them hold their rally was right or not. Eventually it was allowed and held. They managed about 30 people. The counter rally across the street was well over a thousand. Those hate filled bastards couldn’t have looked more pathetic.

    The counter rally also raised thousands of dollars for fighting racism.

  15. catgirl says

    I personally prefer the “God hates shrimp” signs, because it highlights the hypocrisy of the Westboro Baptist church, since it is based on exactly the same text that they use.

  16. Doctorb says

    “God hates figs” is especially full of win. I have yet to see an imitation WBC sign that says “THANK GOD FOR FAGS”, though.

  17. cactusren says

    Re: Shaden Freud @19

    Wow! That took some balls. It’s hilarious, but I have to admit that I would not be brave enough to walk through a crowd from WBC while esentially proclaiming to be gay. But I guess that’s why I don’t have my own segment on a comedy show…

  18. Tulse says

    “God hates figs”

    And of course the sign could also note the appropriate Bible verse, Mark 11:12-14.

  19. Richard Wolford says

    I prefer “All religions are fairy tales” sign myself, but that’s just me :) I laughed out loud when I read the fig sign, that’s a riot. I absolutely love the WBC, does a great job of showcasing the fucked in the head fundie mentality.

  20. fcaccin says

    This is an outrage!! Is she wearing a ring on the OUTSIDE of her glove? Who does that?

    A disguised Mi-Go. Notice how only the wax face is exposed.

  21. Carlie says

    A quite good counter-protest I heard about had people standing between the Phelps clan and the funeral they were protesting, holding up huge sheets between them as a shield. The Phelpses were thereby completely invisible to the funeral-goers (and I believe they also played loud music to drown out the Phelps shouts), but couldn’t do anything about it because the counter-protesters set up right at the magic line (what is it, 500 feet away or something?)

  22. says

    Posted by: Big City | March 10, 2009 2:00 PM

    I think the best way to undermine a Westboro protest is to set up a huge mirror across the street, so those fuckers have to look at themselves.

    Barring that, one of the ways I got to participate in screwing with these nutjobs was when they came down ’round my way and picketed a soldier’s funeral with the “Thank God for IEDs” signs – a motorcycle group called Patriot Riders came down, too, and we just got another permit to gather a bit closer to the funeral than they did, and drowned them out with the noise from our bikes.
    They were pissed, and we were far enough away that the noise didn’t screw up the ceremony. (And I always thought it was a funny crack, but Phelps looks even more like the crypt keeper in person…)

  23. Sclerophanax says

    I refuse to believe this heresy that Cthulhu hates anybody in particular. Cthulhu hates earthlings no more than a vegetarian hates plants. He is completely indifferent to all the pain, madness, suffering and death that inevitably follows his return.

  24. says

    That’s a great sign, but of course highly inaccurate.
    Who hates their food?
    Of course, I hail from the 1936 Pre-Schism Lovecraft Church, as opposed to the 1937 Derleth Schism Church, of which this young lady is obviously a member.

  25. Michelle says

    Splendid! I LOVE counters. THAT’S the way free speech should go! It’s so much better than banning them like we did in canada. Silly hate speech laws…

  26. KillerChihuahua says

    Those protesters had s’mores!

    I’ve never been to a protest with s’mores. They really know how to do things right in Chicago.

  27. Free Lunch says

    I bet she puts Ketchup on hot dogs too.

    Have you ever tried to find ketchup in Chicago at a hot dog stand? They tend to hide it and only give it to people younger than seven.

  28. says

    That’s a great sign, but of course highly inaccurate.
    Who hates their food?

    I hate Bacon Cheesburgers and it is my desire, nay duty to destroy them all.

    And I’m putting pork products in general on notice too. Especially Guanciale. You’re next.

  29. marilove says

    They want ANY AND ALL publicity. If it’s bad publicity, ALL THE BETTER. That is all they want: Publicity of any form.

    The more they get recognized, the more they get publicity, the more people talk about them, the worse it will become. Period.

    STOP talking to them. IGNORE them. Let them protest. Don’t report on them, don’t talk to them, don’t give them any time in the news. They will go away.

    They are like your annoying 8 year old little sister who keeps bugging you just to get a response: Ignore her for 20 minutes and she’ll get bored.

    Of course, the media won’t stop paying attention to them, so we are stuck with ’em.

  30. Josh says

    Why Josh, you sweet thang!

    I’ve got your back.

    *defiantly makes secret and complicated Pharyngula gang sign for the benefit of any onlooking Phelpsians*

  31. phantomreader42 says

    Parse @ #26:

    “The End is Coming!”, “The End!”, and “The End is Going!”

    Should be followed by “Burma Shave” :P

  32. JFK, hypercharismatic telepathical knight says

    They want ANY AND ALL publicity. If it’s bad publicity, ALL THE BETTER. That is all they want: Publicity of any form.

    The more they get recognized, the more they get publicity, the more people talk about them, the worse it will become. Period.

    STOP talking to them. IGNORE them. Let them protest. Don’t report on them, don’t talk to them, don’t give them any time in the news. They will go away.

    They are like your annoying 8 year old little sister who keeps bugging you just to get a response: Ignore her for 20 minutes and she’ll get bored.

    Of course, the media won’t stop paying attention to them, so we are stuck with ’em.

    All terrible, terrible advice. You’re right that the media won’t stop covering them as long as they picket soldiers’ funerals. So why would we give up? It does a community good to see resistance to the hate message. If you’d ever been to a WBC counterprotest you would know the camaraderie and fellowship that organically arisesnmn there. The net effect of the WBC’s presence is positive in any given area, of this I am sure. I would conjecture, less certainly but still quite seriously, that WBC has been a net positive for gay rights in America, as they have forced us to take homophobia seriously.

  33. OctoberMermaid says

    I’d like to see some Lovecraftean billboards to balance out all those creepy Christian ones.

    Something like “Cthulhu doesn’t give a shit about you. That doesn’t mean you won’t die.”

  34. Felix says

    More precisely, Cthulhu hates Period
    as in .

    But I also think hate is merely our expression for the concept of cosmic cleansing of anything remotely ordered on the pathway to complete chaos.

    Cthulhu eats fine-tuning and wipes his orifice with Kalam. And then he shows Anselm what greatness is about. Namely existing and not existing at the same time.

  35. says


    I hate Bacon Cheeseburgers and it is my desire, nay duty to destroy them all.

    Ah, but beggars the question: do you eat Bacon Cheeseburgers?
    (Hopefully they’re silent – sentient food is enough to put off anyone’s palate, except perhaps Cthulhu, Hastur, or the Mi-Go.)

  36. Martin says

    I am proud of the students at my Alma Mater – although I probably would have missed the young lady with the chordates sign. She was only a block from the world famous Jimmy’s Woodlawn Tap. I probably would have been drawn there for a beer or two or three… PZ is overqualified to be a bartender at Jimmy’s. That is a career for ABDs.

    Rather than scream at the WBC morons, they made fun of them in a typical UofC manner – weird and offbeat. And raised $500 for charity. You can read a good article from the student newspaper –

    Chicago does not have much Greek life but the Alpha Delt guys (it was coed in my days) were the most original –
    Across the street, the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity brothers lined their porch in bathrobes, awaiting the arrival of the protesters. When they appeared, the brothers stripped off their robes and began dancing to Diana Ross & The Supremes’ “I’m Coming Out,” Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer,” and the Weather Girls’ “It’s Raining Men.” The “Tiny Dancer” lyrics “Jesus freaks/out in the streets” elicited a loud cheer from the crowd on the other side of the street.

  37. says

    I’m a firm believer in Myers’ Wager

    Azathothdammit, PZ, the Wager is a fallacy, and you should know that!

    Reason is all well and good in its way, but in the final analysis, you must simply have faith that Cthulhu will rise from the sunken city of R’lyeh to devour us all.

  38. Ken says

    #57 I’m proud of our Alma Mater as well. Have to see if the sign is part of this years scav hunt.

  39. Nerdette says

    I take a nap after my Biogeography final and wake up to find e-mails from classmates telling me I’m famous. Thanks for the linkage, PZ!

    RE the sign: I decided that if the Mighty Tentacled One had to hate a chosen group, it would be one outside of it’s representative clade, and deuterostomes wouldn’t fit on a sign. No, it’s not accurate (unless we take this comic as truth), but it was delightfully nerdy, and I got a lot of support when I put it past friends.

    RE showing them attention: There were suggestions to just let them pass by ignored, but this is 10th week in the College; undergrads are very anxious for Winter Quarter to be done, so any outside entertainment is welcome. When they moved to the Seminary CoOp at 58th and University, one of the people from the Seminary came over to me and said, “Typically I can’t stand the boys at the neighboring frat, but today, I’m rather proud of them.”

    RE the ring: I was engaged in June, and, amazingly enough, Chicago is cold in the winter. I didn’t realize how painful it was to wear a glove over my left hand with a high-setted ring (my knuckle is rather scarred now), so I butchered the glove so I could be warm without having to take off the ring.

    I’m glad you liked the sign, Pharyngulites!

  40. Nerdette says

    @ Ken #60:

    That’s what I’m hoping for, too, so my team can get points for the original!

  41. Dani says

    Have you tried putting on a glove on your ring hand? Maybe she has a big beautiful ring that won’t fit underneath the glove and if she tried it would tear the glove’s inside. Why isolate her with a snide comment on something so small? It’s like you’re TRYING to find fault poring over a perfectly fine picture.

  42. Nixxy says

    I can’t remember all the details, but they’re coming to protest at my university because someone’s going to talk about letting gays in the military. And the school turns around and tells us not to counter-protest them.

    Gawd, those stupid bastards go everywhere, don’t they?

  43. Parse says

    And I’m putting pork products in general on notice too.

    I’m glad to find someone else shares my philosophy that all scrapple must be destroyed by consumption! Death to the scrapple!

  44. Martin says

    PZ has to post this video!!! The guys from Alpha Delta Phi at the University of Chicago dancing for the WBC. From their dancing, it is clear that they are not gay but the effort is there.

  45. says

    I believe Sun Wukong would approve.

    Well done, Nerdette! Happy Monkey! Happy Monkey indeed!

    (and warmest congrats on your engagement)

    Ia! Nyar sirharrie! Nyar gashannah! Cthulhu is my co-pilot, Azathoth my navigator, and Nyarlathotep is my ever-lovin’ weapons officer!

    The MadPanda, FCD

  46. says

    Sorry, but I’ve been a little busy the last few centuries, and then you deuterostomes just had to start doing the triple on my name all the time. I mean, I can manipulate time and space all I want and need to, but you characters were wearing me out. And then I developed an allergy to chordate protein.

    A real shame, cuz I just love the taste, especially when spiced by stress hormones and pheromones for fear and despair. Now if I eat one of you I break out in this really nasty green rash with pus oozing purple brains and a tongue covered in calcium carbonate barbs. (Damn, I miss my old girlfriend.)

    Cthulhu can’t make it either. He’s still not over Disney’s The Little Mermaid. Had a flash-back when he saw Ursula get impaled on the bowsprit and went into a catatonic state. The elder gods and I have spent something like $50,000.00 American on cognitive therapy alone, plus another $250,000.00 on the Zoloft alone. We’ve learned you can put a substantial dent in virtually unlimited funds.

    We’re all looking forward to devouring our cultists when the time comes. Hopefully not before the de-sensitization treatments have had a chance to work in my case. Even Cthulthu reacts positively when we mention the subject. So keep yourselves healthy, and sensitive to existential shocks. I’ll write again when I have further news.

    Your drooling hopeful devourer,


    of Hastur, Hastur, and Hastur; purveyors of exquisite despair.

  47. Don Smith, FCD says

    So PZ, you just had to link to someone who had to look up 2/3 of the words on that sign?

    And Great Job Nerdette! Happy Monkey!

  48. Gregory Greenman says

    Alternative signs:

    “God hates fags…especially if you pick them up on the Sabbath.”

    “God hates Jews, fags, liberals, child molesters (except for priests), communists, socialists and anyone else that is also hated by the people putting words in his mouth.”


  49. Janine, Insulting Sinner says

    Nerdette, don’t be a stranger. We can always made room for someone with such a great and warped sense of humor.

  50. DLC says

    I’m sorry, but worshipping Cthulhlu will only get you last in line to be consumed. At the rate your typical Elder God eats, this might be an extra 30 seconds of life.

    The proper way to treat the anencephalic crew at WBC is to let them spew all the crap they want to, and not grant them one column inch or one second of news coverage.

  51. says

    “god hates fags” is also a spoonerism and would stand for “odd fates gags”. Unfortunately, this isn’t a gag at all. How could these guys know god hates fags, did she tell them? Why hide behind god instead of pushing a simpler and truer sign “I hate fags”?

  52. Hugh Troy says

    If the magic sky fairy hates various folk on the planet, why doesn’t he wave his omniscient hand and destroy them all?
    Obviously because the “God” that bigots believe in is just their prejudice given imaginary authority.
    We should sacrifice these bigots to the ultimate cephalopod! Cthulhu R’Lyeh ftagn!

  53. RICHARD T says

    As a Brit (and I know we banned him) we read him as saying God hates cigarettes or worse, that God hates one of our great delicacies faggots which are what remains of the pig before the grunt, mashed up with onion and seasoning, baked in onion gravy and served with mushy peas. So we eat faggots – the Rev Phelps ought to be pleased with us but I hear he is condemning the country to hell. Bless.

  54. Kitty says

    Mmmmmm. Faggots and peas.
    Thanks Richard T. You’ve solved the problem of what to have for dinner!

  55. Didac says

    Chordate Pride! Notochordate is beauty! Thank Haikouella for Chordies! Arthropods and Molluscs sucks!

  56. druidbros says

    Crazy ole Fred protested in Wichita, Kansas not too long ago. One of the local high schools allowed LGBT individuals to have an organization (or club). There were about 300 counter protesters to the 7 or 8 WBC folks. Shortly after this letter appeared in the local paper.

    Protest draws gift

    I never thought that I would be saying this, but I want to thank members of Westboro Baptist Church for coming to Wichita to protest and spread their hate. Because of their demonstration, a person who is not a member of our church is donating to our church one dollar for every person who counterprotested Westboro’s hate. The people from Westboro may have seen some of our members — the ones standing across the street in lime-green shirts that said “God Loves You.” Because of Westboro, our church has received a donation of $300.

    I am sure that if the protesters decide to come back to Wichita, other generous, God-loving people will step up to support the real work of the church.


    First Metropolitan Community Church


  57. mothra says

    I always arrive at these threads late.

    Anyway, the simple ‘God Hates’ in large letters is adequate, followed by a listing such as: Soddem, Gamorrah, great flood, 2004 tsunami, Hurricane Katrina, WWI, WWII, etc, etc.

  58. Anne Hedonia says

    The real problem that thus far has not been addressed is the continuing irrational, unproven, unfounded belief in so-called deities. The sooner belief is removed from humanity the better.

  59. Johnb300m says

    Phelps’ group was harassing the families and funerals of the victims of our NIU shooting last Feb. Accusing our college of indoctrinating these poor youths with liberal agendas and homosexualism….nevermind one of our poor victims was saving his girlfriend….

    It was so awesome though, the town government of where there was a funeral brought half a dozen of their snow plows to block Phelps’ group from the funeral goers. Haha!

    i hate Phelps’ group so much…….

  60. says

    that’s a lovely sign, and soon there shall be more. there are many things which Cthulhu hates…

    ia ia,

    Venger As’Nas Satanis
    Cult of Cthulhu High Priest

  61. kh123 says

    Well, all the better that atheists have a new figurehead to rally around – Cthulhu fits the angsty pagan crowd better, whereas Darwin was getting a little too formal for today’s youth.

    …Although both have those long greasy tendrils hanging off their faces. Not to mention Marx and Nietzsche. And there’s that running resemblance between lawyers and invertebrates already. Damn… Is gonna be tough getting you folks to stop seeing red long enough to recognize your new god at first glance.