Mar 23, 2016

‘God Loves Uranus’: A Counterprotest of a Westboro Baptist Church NASA Protest

JASON KOEBLER
Motherboard Vice
March 23, 2016

On Monday, some people over at the notoriously hateful and absurd Westboro Baptist Church decided to protest at NASA headquarters in Washington DC, apparently because NASA’s planetary defense programinterferes with God’s plan to allow Earth to be destroyed by an asteroid.

This is something we would ignore entirely were it not for the fact that two women—Margaret Hart, an astronomer who currently does STEM outreach at Johns Hopkins University and her friend, Amy Callner, a teachers union researcher—dressed up in the outfits you see above and staged a delightful counter protest on their way to a science conference.

“When else are we going to get to roller skate down the street with foil hats on holding a sign that says God Loves Uranus? Some folks say ignore them, but that's no fun,” Callner told me. “We'll see your stupid and raise it, WBC.”

I spoke to Hart on the phone about the mini protest, here’s how it went:

“Amy said ‘Why are they going to NASA?’ And we thought it was probably because it was on the way back to where they left their car [from another protest]. I’m an astronomer, that was my undergraduate degree and I worked in the field. It’s something near and dear to my heart. I happened to have a silver body suit—I was a tin man last year for Halloween. I even had silver face powder, but I had to go from the counter protest to a work meeting so we decided to play it low key. Amy has work clothes underneath that onesie, by the way. 
We were the only two counter protesters there, but a bunch of NASA employees kept coming out to see what WBC was doing. The employees were thrilled beyond thrilled, they took a bunch of pictures of us. After a few minutes, three people from the church showed up on the corner—Amy is pretty savvy at protesting and so we had already approached the police and they told us we had to be across the street from them, so we didn’t end up talking to any of the church members. We were there maybe 15 minutes, but they actually good a picture of us as we were skating by the car.
When we heard about it, we thought, ‘What, huh, why NASA? We made a sign saying ‘Huh?’ because that’s what everyone was thinking. What they put on their website was that arrogant NASA has taken the glory from God. We think this translates to they were protesting for no fucking reason. But, yeah, our counter protest went great.”

In case you are interested in staging a similarly hilarious counter protest, the WBC will apparently be protesting at NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City on April 1.

http://motherboard.vice.com/read/god-love-uranus-a-counterprotest-of-a-westboro-baptist-church-nasa-protest

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