Filed under: Creative Activism, First Amendment Issues
Westboro Baptist loons run into protest wall—made of zombies?
by Howard Portnoy
August 2, 2012
The Supreme Court may have greenlighted the hate-filled demonstrations by misguided adherents to the teachings of the Westboro Baptist Church, but the high court never said that counter-protests were not also covered by the First Amendment. Ever since the court handed down its controversial ruling, “human walls” have become commonplace at military funerals—gestures meant to neutralize the church group’s message of hate. In one widely reported example of the trend, the rock band Foo Fighters showed up in Kansas City in September of 2011 to “serenade” Westboro congregants.
Now one trend has meshed with another. KIRO-TV reports that last Friday, protesters assembling outside the Joint Base Lewis-McChord in DuPont, Wash., were met by—get ready for it—a wall of the living dead.
The event was organized on Facebook by Melissa Neace and three of her fellow zombie enthusiasts. Neace wrote on the page:
I have decided that the most violent free way to protest back is simple … a zombie apocalypse. So I ask EVERYONE who is able to attend that day, please come dressed in your finest zombie outfit.
At the event, Neace told the News Tribune, “We wanted to turn something negative around, into something people could laugh at and poke fun at. It was the easiest way to divert attention from something so hateful.”
It remains to be seen whether a zombie theme is the most appropriate vehicle for honoring fallen heroes, but suffice it to say that DuPont has its share of zombie hobbyists. The zombies outnumbered the protestors by a reported level of 300 to 8.
More on this topic here.