At their first hate-mongering protest since the death of their founder Fred Phelps last week, vitriolic anti-gay followers of the controversial Westboro Baptist Church picketed at 17-year-old singer Lorde’s show in Kansas over the weekend, but were puzzled when faced with a contrasting compassionate counter-demonstration by Lorde fans.
Gathered outside the concert venue, Westboro Members brandished the usual hateful signs, reading “God Hates Fags” and “Thank God for dead soldiers”, attempting to spread their usual spiteful message of hate and intollerance, but Lorde fans were equipped with the perfect antidote, compassion.
In a powerful counterprotest, Lorde fans held signs carrying supportive messages like “Live your life and be awesome” and “sorry for your loss”, in reference to Phelps’ recent death. Megan Coleman, who helped craft the signs, told KSHB, “We realised that it wasn’t so much about antagonising them but sending out the countered safe that we are here for people who need that message and need that positivity.”
For some, the message seemed to have fallen on deaf ears, with Westbro member, Steve Drain commenting, “I don’t even know what they’re saying.” But for the watching world, the counterprotest was a stunning display of compassion and humanity.
The fringe group, who like to engage in such behaviour as picketing the funerals of US soldiers and school shooting victims, announced last week their plans to protest at Lorde’s concert, citing the 17-year-old’s “idolatrous attraction for worthless human ‘royalty'”. They cemented their distain for the pop star by releasing their own version of Lorde’s breakthrough Royals, turning the hit song into a warning of hellfire and brimstone.
Lorde, seemed bemused by the whole idea, responding to the church’s statement of intent via Twitter. “Hahaha omg just found out westboro baptist church are going to picket my show in kansas city,” read the now-deleted tweets, going on to suggest fans should wear rainbow clothing to the show. “Everyone try to kiss church members who are same sex as you they will so love it christmas comin early in Kansas City.”
— Westboro Baptist (@WBCSays) March 22, 2014
Counter-protesters hold this sign up to Westboro Baptist members in front of Lorde concert downtown. pic.twitter.com/NmxP1gS2tM
— Brendaliss Gonzalez (@brendalissg) March 22, 2014
Fans outside Lorde’s concert venue in Kansas City, protesting against Westboro Baptist pic.twitter.com/JtHnm32yp1
— Lorde Daily (@LordeDaily) March 22, 2014