SAN DIEGO (CAP) - More than 100 protesters from the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church converted to the "dark side" while protesting this year's Comic-Con event, trading their fanny packs and "GOD HATES AMERICA" t-shirts for metal bikinis and bright red tights.
"I can't believe I ever had a problem with these people," said Shirley Phelps-Roper of Topeka, Kansas, daughter of the church's founder, Fred Phelps, and organizer of the Comic-Con protest. "I would have done this years ago if I knew it felt this good to wear a Wonder Woman bustier.
"Er, I mean in public," she added.
The controversial church is best known for protesting against homosexuals, and had announced that Comic-Con, which spotlights the latest in comic books and science fiction/fantasy entertainment, was a natural target.
"A God-fearing heterosexual person wouldn't be caught dead in form-fitting Spandex tights that show off the bulges of their nether regions," said Fred Phelps prior to the protest. "And we all know about what's going on between Batman and Robin, whom God hates."
But many of the protesters have apparently reconsidered, putting down their "GOD HATES NERDS" signs and picking up Superman capes and Jedi robes at the urging of the science fiction fans in attendance.
"Comic-Con is all about fun and love and individuality, not hate," noted Sarah Milbaum, one of over 300 women at the convention dressed as "Slave Leia" in a gold metal bikini. "Gay, straight, bi ... As long as you have a slavish, possibly socially isolating devotion to something geeky, you're welcome."
Then, in an effort to show solidarity with the gays and lesbians who've been targets of Westboro protests, Milbaum tried to make out with another Slave Leia, Lisa Funkhauser, but the two wound up bumping heads instead.
"That's what I get for not wearing my glasses!" declared Milbaum, emitting a braying laugh not unlike Arnold Horshack from the 1970s television series Welcome Back, Kotter.
In addition to wearing metal bikinis, Westboro protesters were also seen dressed as Power Girl and the Black Cat, two more obscure comic book characters known primarily for their prodigious cleavage.
"Why shouldn't I show off what God gave me?" said church member Libby Phelps, dressed as "Ms. Marvel" and thrusting forward her barely-contained Spandex-clad bosoms. "My grandpa's an idiot."
Most of the male Westboro members opted for Star Trek: The Next Generation jumpsuits. When reminded that George Takei, who played Sulu on the original Star Trek series, is gay, church member Benjamin Phelps responded, "It turns out that protesting homosexuals is highly illogical. They should live long and prosper." Then he gave the Vulcan salute, prompting clumsy high-fives from his fellow Trekkers.
The uprising among Westboro protesters actually prompted a visit from Fred Phelps himself; the church leader tried to rally his members by reminding them of the connection between gays, AIDS victims, dead soldiers, Hollywood celebrities and comic book characters. But his speech prompted chants of "Get a life!" after which another former protester, Margie Phelps, threw a Captain America shield at him, hitting him in the face.
Interviewed later after he regained consciousness at Scripps Mercy Hospital, a woozy Fred Phelps admitted, "It probably doesn't help that even I have no idea what I'm talking about."
- CAP News Staff