Who are Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church?
The Westboro Baptist Church, of Topeka, Kansas, is a hate group masquerading as a Christian church. Led by the Rev. Fred Phelps, the misguided members of this church target homosexuals and a many others with messages of hate. The church’s outrageous protest actions – the group prefers to picket funerals – have earned Phelps and his ilk much media coverage.
The group also produces music videos (at least one features an extremely young child singing “God hates the world”) and maintains Websites with names like GodHatesAmerica and GodHatesFags, designed to inflame the passions of viewers and generate further publicity.
To date, the WBC’s protests have taken place in at least 22 states, and have inspired a wave of grassroots anger. As a result, 38 states have introduced bills to limit protests near funerals, and at least 29 of those states have passed such measures. Phelps has vowed to challenge the legislation, alleging that these new restrictions unconstitutionally restrict freedom of speech.
Why do you use the F-word?
Do a few seconds of research on the Westboro church (don’t worry, we’ll wait). You’ll quickly find that if you aren’t a member of the WBC you’ll be lumped into one of two categories — “fag” or “fag-enabler”. The word is prevelant in everything they do.
That’s why we often use quotes around the word. We’re actually quoting the WBC.
We don’t use the word to make light of its harmful meaning and history. Nor are we trying to “take it back.” By having everyone but the Phelps fall under the definition of “fag” for at least one day, we’re hoping to render the word completely meaningless.
Admittedly, the name of the Million “Fag” March is controversial at worst, and inaccurate at least (there aren’t a million of us, and the marching is minimal.) But sometimes it takes a little controversy to get the attention you need.
Where is the MFM?
The March is held at Gage Park in Topeka, KS, just a few blocks from the physical location of the Westboro Baptist Church. The crowd will line up along the streets that make up the northwest corner of the intersection of 10th Avenue and Gage Boulevard. When we have a guest speaker, this usually takes place at the Gage Park Amphitheater, followed by a walk to the corner of 10th & Gage.