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Proudly Out: 'God Hates Fags' and Hate as a Brand

Proudly Out: 'God Hates Fags' and Hate as a Brand

Their basic message is "God Hates Fags. 'Their brand -- it's just hate.Who am I talking about? A guy named Fred Phelps and his merry band of rabid homophobes from the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, KS, who even protested this weekend Oscars' ceremony over the inclusion of Milk.

Their basic message is "God Hates Fags."

Their brand -- it's just hate.

Who am I talking about? A guy named Fred Phelps and his merry band of rabid homophobes from the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, KS.

You may remember them, not for the name of their church or even the name of their erstwhile leader, but from their protests at the funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq. Phelps sees their deaths not as a consequence of war but a consequence of God's hatred of America because of the country's acceptance of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Given recent events, it's hard to imagine that America has truly embraced the LGBT community. Politically, our rights are either taken away -- California voting for discrimination and by voting against marriage equality --or just outright denied--30 states still allow basic employment discrimination against LGBT people. Socially, we're still at the top of the list for being targets of hate crimes and LGBT youth are still terrorized in school. Religiously, we're still demonized in pulpits across America (not just at the Westboro Baptist Church).

But Phelps has never let facts get in his way. He'll twist and turn any person, any event, any institution to fit his "God Hates Fags" message.

He calls Barack Obama the anti-Christ. He says God is America's enemy. He contends that Matthew Shepard is in hell. And, he considers anyone or any institution that supports the LGBT community "Fag Enablers," also hated by God.

And lucky for us here in the Capital District, Phelps and/or folks from his church will be visiting next week, Friday, March 6th to be exact, to spread the word of hate. For some reason, Albany High School and the University at Albany have gotten on his radar.

Phelps and company's message to Albany High students is right on his website, It says "Each time your parents, and the other adults told you "It's okay to be gay" they tell you three things: 1) God is a liar; 2) There actually is no God; 3) You have free will. Those are all lies, and we will tell you the only truth that might save your never dying souls, to wit: God Hates Fags, God Hates Fag Enablers, God Hates You, The Siege Is Here, You Hate Your Kids/You Eat Your Kids, Obama Is The Antichrist. Now if that does not fix you, nothing will."

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Because the University at Albany's slogan is "The World Within Reach," Phelps is going up to the uptown campus to make sure that the students know "there is no more important thing in the WORLD than to have the truth preached to you."

Thankfully, we don't have to worry about hundreds of crazy homophobes trolling the streets of Albany. Phelps and his crew are a small lot with colorful, hate mongering signs who simply know how to work the media.

Our local LGBT and allied community have been organizing for a few weeks. We're taking a higher path. Instead of counter protests, we're holding separate events-a candlelight vigil in front of City Hall on Thursday, March 5th at 5 p.m. and a Unity Breakfast at the University on Friday morning. Both of these gatherings will have many, many more people than the Phelps clan and will show our city and our region that we are a community that, as the organizers of these gatherings are saying, won't take the bait and instead will unite against hate.

Using hate as a brand has been quite successful over the years. Hitler used it against the Jews. The KKK uses it against African-Americans and anyone who isn't white. Karl Rove mixed it with fear to get George Bush elected.

Like them, Phelps lives his brand. His goal is to keep the hate alive. No matter who else he targets, it always comes back to the LGBT community. Jews are "Fag Jew Nazis." Phelps says "Being black won't get you to Heaven. But promoting fags will take you to Hell." On his fellow Christians . . . "Because they have created an atmosphere in this world where people believe the lie that God loves everybody. This soul-damning lie is the reason that fags are so out-spoken today."

It's too easy to say that Fred Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church are from another planet. Unfortunately, they're really on ours. It's up to us to live our brand of love-because, when all is said and done, love really does conquer all.


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Libby Post