So, Fred Phelps' "church" (aka kids and grandkids) were in Philadelphia on Monday morning protesting in front of Catholic High Schools and Jewish Centers? Why? I really don't know for sure. They seem to claim that the Catholics are teaching the kids that it's A-OK to be gay.
I emailed a few of the Philly Bloggers to see if anyone was planning to attend. How could I pass up this photo opportunity...and if I could get a few words in with Shirley Phelps? Jackpot! I really wanted to get her 'reasoning' behind the military funeral thing...
So AlexC (of Three Sources and PA Watercooler) said he'd go with me. We met at a Dunkin' Donuts --both wearing all black with a red scarf as if we'd planned it (we hadn't!) All these years of doing the blog and I never seem to meet the Philly bloggers, so this was cool. We chatted for a bit about the Eagles & Flyers over some bad DD coffee and then headed off for the show.
The protest was scheduled for 2pm. We arrived to much fanfare at 2:03pm. It was all said and done and we were walking back to our cars by 2:13pm.
We are told there were 6 members of the WBC there (see the red arrow). Unfortunately, there were also about 700 Philly cops:
There were probably 100 (?) counter-protesters, but they were behind a line of Philly Police vans and then the gaggle of 700 cops (I'm sure there would have been more had the 'protest' last longer than 10 minutes):
The mood was angry. People screaming obscenities and chanting USA, USA. Because of the desecration of military funerals (I assume) the hate for these folks was palpable.
(Though, I think the first sign reads "Swoop eats poop"? I believe that Swoop is the Eagles' mascot...so, not really sure what's going on with that guy...)
Right before the WBC gals wrapped up their strange demonstration, Santa showed up. The crowd cheered and I swear the mood shifted. The protest was a joke and this guy put that in perspective. Bravo St. Nick!
What I did notice was the Westboro Churchers had nifty little black leather placard carrying cases, which were deftly packed in seconds flat. The 700 cops then escorted them to their vehicles (red arrow) while being quizzed as to why our tax payer money should be affording these low-lives police protection.
So, mission not accomplished I guess. No words exchanged. No good pictures. No explanation as to why a 'church' would protest Catholic High Schools or Military funerals when they gave money to Al Gore's campaign.
But, I did finally meet AlexC. And Santa Claus.