The Westboro Baptist Church's antics have become so desperate and silly of late that many now ignore the hate group's fringe views and publicity stunts. But for one lesbian teen, they crossed a big line by parodying one of her favorite band's "sinful" pop songs in an effort to spread messages of homophobia and bigotry.
Rebecca Anderson may only be in high school, but she wasn't going to let the Kansas-based group get away with tarnishing the reputation of Panic! at the Disco. Instead, she donned a "yes homo" T-shirt, draped a rainbow flag on her bedroom wall and promptly took Westboro Baptist Church to task in a new video that lampoons their sophomoric skit "You Love Sin, What a Tragedy," a parody of the band's classic "I Write Sins, Not Tragedies," about an ill-fated wedding gone wrong.
"This parody is a direct response to the homophobic hatred and propaganda," Anderson said, making clear that her song was not targeted at Christians or churches in general. "My general experience of both is of tolerance and understanding with a willingness to enter into dialogues about difference and diversity within their communities."
Taking a topical spin on an otherwise memorable chorus, Anderson actually makes her rhymes work pretty well, much better than the WBC's bigoted version.
"Well, I'll look at it this way," she sings at one point. "I mean, half your church is probably gay."
Anderson said she hopes like-minded people will join her in speaking out against their offensive statements, as many already have and continue to do, even with other recent events that the beleaguered church clings to for publicity and survival in the public eye.
Following Robin Williams' death on Aug. 11, the Westboro Baptist Church announced they would protest the actor and LGBT ally's funeral because of his divorce, his "hedonistic ways" and because he was a "fag enabler."
Quick to rebut the church's bigotry, nonprofit group Planting Peace challenged the protest with love, organizing a charity fundraiser to benefit St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, a cause Williams strongly supported, according to the Huffington Post. The same group owns the rainbow-clad Equality House erected directly across from Westboro's headquarters.
Meanwhile, on a British Channel 4 show called The Last Leg, host Adam Hills said, "I will personally pay for every member of the Westboro Baptist Church to fly to Iraq right now. I'll even fly you first class," to see how they'd contend with violent radical Islamists currently wreaking havoc in the region.
Ten years ago, such a response to the Westboro Baptist Church's antics wouldn't have been as swift or widespread, as America was still figuring out exactly where it stood in terms of LGBT people and LGBT equality. But since then, numerous unprecedented victories for equality both in politics and in mainstream visiblity have pushed the church to the fringe, making them more of a punchline than anything else.
It's only a matter of time before Westboro becomes a thing of the past. But it's heartening to see how younger generations of LGBT people have been able to stand up for themselves in the face of this kind of bigotry, boldly striking back without fear or shame.