The Westboro Baptist Church’s planned protest at Comic-Con on July 22 was overridden by a rally against hate and intolerance. (For a background story on the church’s plans, click here.)
At noon in front of the Manchester Grand Hyatt, a small Westboro group had set up “hate” signs on a corner to protest the presence of Al Gore, who is in town for a hospital-association meeting. Because Gore reportedly had switched hotels and wasn't there, the Westboro "Al Gore is a whore" protest fizzled fast.
The Westboro bunch was soon on the move with their own police escort: they went up the street and regrouped across from the convention center’s Comic-Con entrance. Counter-protestors were not far behind, and soon the few of us who had started down at the Hyatt had rallied a substantial group against racism and intolerance. People grabbed at cardboard boxes and took out Sharpies to fashion their own crude-but-effective signs.
Soon, we counter-protestors were shouting to drown out the Westboro hate-mongers. I found a man in a white robe that seemed to be dressed as God. I asked him if he would like to accompany me across the street because I held a large sign that read "God loves everybody." He agreed, and we made a winning team along the street curb of West Harbor Drive.
Soon, out-signed and out-shouted, the Topeka Baptists gathered their signs and American flags and went away quietly.