Westboro Baptist Church, home of the best known anti-gay protest organization in the US, led by Pastor Fred Phelps, has a new target for its public outcry. This Thursday afternoon the organization will be picketing outside the San Francisco headquarters of Twitter.The
NBC Bay Area reporter Jackson West unearthed the schedule for the group's trip to the Bay Area and writes that after a day of protesting outside Jewish organizations, the congregation will travel to Twitter's brand new office.
The organization says that they aren't protesting against Twitter, rather encouraging the organization to do its duty in serving God. Megan Phelps-Roper, granddaughter of Pastor Phelps, tweets:
Don't be silly! We're not protesting Twitter as a platform; that's like picketing television! =) We're picketing the people who run @Twitter, who don't use their position & voice to warn a generation of rebels of the consequences of their rebellion. Same goes for those at Foursquare & Gowalla (tho I personally find their products useless -- at least relative to Twitter. =)
Westboros, we've tried to browbeat the people at Twitter HQ into using the service in a different way, and it just doesn't work. Besides, Facebook is right down the road and 10 times as big.
Thankfully social media technologies like Twitter and Facebook are making it easier than ever for marginalized people, like young gay people, to have a public voice. As Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg often says, accurately if perhaps cynically, more open communication on these kinds of platforms will bring about more understanding between people, more empathy and a more peaceful world. Maybe the Westboro Baptist Church ought to be protesting these platforms themselves after all, then.
We'll limit our comments on this noxious organization to that. Good luck on Thursday, folks at Twitter. I'm sure if you'd like some support, a Tweet-up wouldn't be hard to organize.
@Jesus did not respond by press time to a public reply on Twitter requesting comment on this story.