A Business Model for the Westboro Baptist Church (aka godhatesfags.com)

I’ve given up on my belief that the congregation of Westboro Baptist Church is actually a satirical performance art group highlighting intolerance.   I still believe that they are batshit insane, but I no longer believe that that they take their special brand of crazy ‘on the road’ due to the strength of their beliefs.

For the unaware Westboro Baptist Church has made a name for themselves by crashing funerals of dead soldiers and making ridiculous religious assertions such as these made at the memorial for a dead US soldier [PDF]:

God Hates America, and
God is killing our troops in His wrath.
Thank God for IEDs.

Some time ago, I started reading up on Fred Phelps and WBS.   I couldn’t understand how they could afford to travel, juggle legal bills, and maintain a church with a congregation (of less than 100 members) that is largely made up of family by either blood or marriage (~80-90%).

Then it hit me – could Westboro Baptist Church be a rainmaker for Fred Phelps REAL business – his own law firm?   It appears that 11 of his 13 children are either lawyers themselves or are married to a lawyer.   It’s easy to envision scenarios where a provocateur could incite a local government or private entity to ‘infringe’ on their ‘First Amendment Rights’, and then sue their way to the bank.

Since the freak show is due to be in town on 12/07/09, everyone would do wise to consider WBC true purpose – which incidentally is NOT spreading ‘the good news’.     I personally recommend parody and satire,   preferably for as large an audience as possible, although this is a good start.

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