Yasmin Nair

Fred Phelps's Westboro Baptist Church/God Hates Fags Tries to Protest Chicago's Center on Halsted

Filed By Yasmin Nair | December 16, 2008 1:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, The Movement
Tags: Chicago, Fred Phelps, Fundamentalist Christians, God Hates Fags, Westboro Baptist Church

These guys are not giving us any rest. As some of you know, I've been covering and photographing the group as it makes its way through Chicago.

protest.jpgMost recently, on Saturday, December 13, they decided to picket the (LGBTQ) Center on Halsted, in the city's Boystown area. I was there to capture the very intense encounter between WBC/GHF and the over 100 counter demonstrators who showed up to support the Center. The Church even brought along two very young children, as you'll see in the photos.

More details forthcoming from the last time I spoke to Fred Phelps Jr. (when the group showed up outside Obama's transition office on December 4), but for now here's the breaking news story published today in Windy City Times, along with photographs. As always, feel free to post photos from my sets; I do ask that you cite my name as the photographer.

More after the jump.

Excerpt from Windy City Times breaking news story:

"Things became quite intense at the Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted, when five members of God Hates Fags ( GHF ) --also known as Kansas' anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church ( headed by the Rev. Fred Phelps ) --showed up Dec. 13 near the facility before a forum was scheduled to take place.

According to Leslie DeMonte, director of Special Events and Volunteer Services, COH only heard about the proposed appearance of God Hates Fags at 3:30 p.m. the day before. The Center was due to host a discussion "LGBT Change Is Coming" on the 13th and GHF was supposed to be making an appearance in order to protest the event.

The Center's executive director Modesto "Tico" Valle rallied the group of counter-demonstrators who had come to show their support: "This is our home." ..."

For more, see "Center on Halsted picketed."

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Any report back on, or photos of, actions by S.I.N - other than their communique?


According to the S.I.N member I spoke to, they plan on more actions. I'll let you know if I hear of any more :-)

looked like a happy little protest there. i loved the use of sheets to block them in.

Nice protest - good job in standing up to them.

I've always wondered one thing: Phred Phelps comes and protests wherever he wants to, pretty much with impunity (that, and the threat of lawsuits if he's interfered with). But nobody ever protests his poisonous cult. Maybe it's time for a group (Soulforce would seem the obvious choice) to protest at Westboro Baptist on a Sunday morning. I've been to Topeka and passed Westboro, and it's just a large home with a metal poleframe barn behind it as a church, in a residential neighborhood. It could be protested, but you'd have to be very respectful of the homes surrounding.

Just a thought. ........

But I wonder if it would be worth anyone's time to drive all the way out there...

Gee, a group called God Hates Fags, now just suppose, and it doesn't take too much imagination to do so, that the group was against jews, or blacks?

How far would it get before it had enough injunctions and court orders against it that they could repaper the inside of their church?

When does free speech and free expression become incitement? At which point do you draw the line with rhetoric that Does get people killed?

What if Phelps was muslim, and his group protested against christians? Don't you think the justice department would have closed them down long ago as a terrorist or subversive organization?

GHF is a terrorist organization, they just terrorise a group that the rest of society doesn't really give a damn about, so they get a pass.

How many more of us have to die because of this twisted f***, before someone takes notice?

Great pictures,Yasmin. The people is Chicago sure got game. What were the Phelpsers doing in the police station?

Thanks, Greg.

They began their protest outside the station, on the end of the block where the Center is located, instead of directly opposite the building. When the counter-demonstrators's shouting became really loud (I could barely hear myself think, let alone ask the women any questions), they spoke quickly to the police and were escorted inside. The photo of the woman holding up the sign inside the precint door looked, to me, like a last defiant gesture.

Yasmin, have you seen any groups organize an "Every Minute Counts" on your journeys? Curious, as I think it is brilliant.


Hi John,

I've heard of everyminutecounts, but I haven't seen them in action at the events I was at.

Will you still be publishing your interview with Phelps Jr. on Bilerico?

Hey Bil,

yes, it was a short but revealing conversation I had with him outside the DNC HQ, and I also spoke to another member of the contingent that day. That'll be up on bilerico soon, I promise, before Sunday.