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The wheels on the bus go, "OMG -- this zealotry is nutty!'

by Jeremy Hooper

Taking the bus can be annoying. For starters, they're unpredictable. The schedule if the driver's, not your own. Especially in winter's cooling temperatures, the last place most of us want to find ourselves is standing outside waiting for public transportation to show up.

Also, they can be crowded. During heavy commuting times, you very well might find yourself with a purse jabbing your back, an elbow nearly missing your face, and three other booted feet smashing your own. And again, this is the cold season, when close chambers like the ones found on most buses become breeding grounds for sniffles and sneezes.

Oh, and another thing -- the buses are sometimes coated in ass-crazy dogma, the likes of which denies God's love for gays and warns of America's impending destruction. Or at least that's what D.C. commuters might soon be facing if Westboro Baptist gets their way:

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Ugh. If there was ever a time to support the American automobile industry, this is it!

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Your thoughts

How can they afford this? I thought all of their money was tied to paying a court-ordered judgment.

Posted by: Ed | Nov 18, 2008 9:11:31 AM

Um...where do they get the money for this stuff?

Posted by: Me | Nov 18, 2008 9:11:35 AM

I love buses. I met my first long term boyfriend on one. Sorry Westboro.

Posted by: Mike in the Tundra | Nov 18, 2008 9:16:03 AM

How the hell would they even do this?

Posted by: RainbowPhoenix | Nov 18, 2008 9:19:50 AM

Ed: From what I understand, they have their monies structured in such a way that makes it hard for the court to touch it. Shirley and I once exchanged emails about it -- I'll try to find it.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Nov 18, 2008 9:26:09 AM

Wait these aren’t real right? (I can’t see the ipaper at work) I don’t think any form of government (local, state, or federal) would be able to do this.

Posted by: Randy | Nov 18, 2008 9:27:14 AM

Randy: Well, they are genuinely seeking to run the ads. There is no doubt that there request will be denied.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Nov 18, 2008 9:37:21 AM

I hope they don't get denied. I argue for the atheists to be able to advertise this way. I argue for "Zack & Miri Make a Porno" ads to be on buses. If I truly believe in freedom of speech, I have to argue for their right to advertise this way, too.

Posted by: Rebecca | Nov 18, 2008 10:33:28 AM

"If I truly believe in freedom of speech, I have to argue for their right to advertise this way, too."

To what end Rebecca? Would you be in favor of the KKK advertising images of a lynching with the words "Send All N**g**S to Hell!"? Or, how about a Neo-Nazi group advertising an image of Holocaust victims with the words "Hitler didn't kill enough K*k*s."?

Clearly, these examples and Westboro's ads are a perversion of not only the First Amendment, but also the ability to advertise on tax-payer supported, public buses.

Posted by: Jon | Nov 18, 2008 11:15:12 AM

I hope they don't get to publish it. As a Christian it's hard enough to battle the widespread ignorance regarding homosexuality without the "help" of Westboro Baptist Church.

God hates fags? No, Hitler hated fags and I can't see God and Hitler having things in common. As a matter of fact if you look in the bible in Malachi 2:16 it says "“For I hate divorce!” says the Lord, the God of Israel." and no the word "divorce" is not some kind of euphemism for gay or queer, it means what it means and we Christians engage in divorce aplenty.

Pastor Phelps should heed Matthew 7:5 "Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye." People like Pastor Phelps should look within, at their own sin, their own hatred and ask God to reveal the truth that God doesn't hate "fags" and wants them to be treated as his own children for no matter your sexual orientation God DOES love you and it's something we should all remember.

Posted by: ed the art guy | Nov 18, 2008 12:29:16 PM

I would personally boycott any buses that displayed such trash. I know I wouldn't be the only person. WBC offends even anti-gay Christians with their slogans about 9/11, Katrina, Iraq and whatever else is the flavor of the month for them.

Posted by: | Nov 18, 2008 2:14:24 PM

Rebecca, it's hate speech. Someone else already made the point but I have to agree, if the KKK asked to take out advertising that says 'niggers should die!', it'd be grossly inflammatory and inappropriate. Be it the word 'fag', 'nigger', 'jap', etc, they are all used today to discriminate and make a group feel inferior. Language like this is NOT constructive, period, and using it in any way other than decrying its usage is inappropriate. (Well, unless we're talking about 'nigger' and the like being used in a historical context like in 'To Kill a Mockingbird', but that doesn't make it any less awful or hurtful, it's just that we can't censor history, but that's another issue.)

Phelps is merely pointing the finger and saying 'you suck, we're better than you'. I'm not sure how anyone wouldn't see it as hate speech. The atheist bus campaign on the other hand didn't make fun of anyone, it didn't seek to offend, it was merely a carefully worded ad designed to make people think.

Besides, it'd be terrible PR for any bus company to publish ads like that.

Posted by: aaa | Nov 19, 2008 3:58:40 AM

I think based on what we've experienced since birth, we have EVERY right to use our own free speech by ripping them down and destroying them (the ads....yeah....I'm talkin' about the ads).

KKK posters? Misogynist posters saying women need to stay at home and serve man? AntiSemitic posters? I see no difference.

Posted by: John Bisceglia | Nov 19, 2008 1:01:36 PM

I suppose if the WMATA were to deny this hateful request, they'd attempt to sue on the basis that it violated their First Amendment rights. However, that will be the shortest lived court case known because anyone with knowledge of Constitutional law knows that the precedents from Employment Division v. Smith could be applied. Since censoring hate speech/"fighting words" is an exception to freedom of speech, and likewise a compelling state interest, WBC would simply be throwing their money away by taking legal action. Likewise, WMATA should take extreme caution in considering their ad campaign because the same legal arguments would be utilized in a suit against them.

I've grown awfully tired of WBC's extremism ranging from hate speech to anti-Americanism. They make me ill with their bigotry and lack of patriotism. We have no room for such evil in organized society.

Posted by: Andrew | Nov 19, 2008 3:10:41 PM


A) I would NOT feel at all bad if some NUT "off'd" this family of weirdos and hate-mongers...Oh well, sorry can't help feeling that way

B) What parent would like this bus pulling up/around thier children,esp. those children who can read. Whether they like LGBT peopke or not...its Inappropriate to have Filth like that advertized on a side of a bus.

Posted by: Disgusted American | Nov 19, 2008 3:52:06 PM

People when you see that bus - have your eggs ready!

Posted by: Disgusted American | Nov 19, 2008 3:53:38 PM

Isn't this hate speech? Will these ads be accepted by the Metro system in DC (or anywhere?). Imagine if it said "God hates (fill in the blank)".........

Posted by: Chris | Nov 19, 2008 3:54:34 PM

Ugh, these Phelps Phucks need to go away. Any one notice that Shirly's e-mail is [email protected]? He he...

Posted by: Erik | Nov 19, 2008 4:00:26 PM

great write up! I'm surprised they all haven't been ridden far off the road by the Veterans, after their cemetery protests and slurs against our fallen soldiers. Personally i think God must hate psychopaths.

Posted by: grego | Nov 19, 2008 11:13:54 PM

Fighting words, indeed. Likely to incite to violence, indeed. Put one of these on a bus here in Minneapolis, and I'll f$¢king PROVE it.

As they say... don't poke the bear!

Posted by: Grr | Nov 20, 2008 6:09:43 AM

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