Resource Center Dallas to formally dedicate Westboro Baptist Church’s gift to the gays

Here’s the press release that just came across from RCD’s Rafael McDonnell:

Dallas — Resource Center Dallas will hold a formal dedication August 6 (Friday) at 10 a.m. for an ice machine it bought as a result of its “Hell Freezes Over” counter-protest of the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC). Dallas Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Pauline Medrano is expected to attend.

WBC protested the Center and Congregation Beth El Binah, a mainstream Reform Jewish congregation which meets at the center, on July 9. The “Hell Freezes Over” fundraising counter-protest was launched July 1 and ran through July 19. Donors were asked to give 50 cents or a dollar a minute for the 30 minutes of the scheduled protest. The fundraiser raised nearly $11,000 and drew contributions from Texas and seven other states. It was the most successful counter-protesting fundraiser in Texas against WBC, and one of the most successful ever nationwide.

A plaque will also be unveiled in honor of the people who donated to “Hell Freezes Over” and to Westboro Baptist for serving as the donors’ inspiration.

—  John Wright

Phelps clan fundraiser nets $7,700 for Resource Center Dallas; Holocaust Museum sets attendance record

Resource Center Dallas raised more than twice its goal and the Dallas Holocaust Museum set attendance records in response to a visit by the Fred Phelps clan.

The Phelps clan from Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan., began their tour of Dallas with a group of 17, half of them children, in downtown Dallas outside the Holocaust Museum. Every time they began to sing songs mocking the Holocaust, the counterprotesters and passing DART trains drowned them out.

Once the Phelps clan left for their next picket at the Jewish Community Center, most of the counterprotesters toured the museum. According to museum president and CEO Alice Murray, they set an attendance record.

Although Holocaust survivors were asked to stay home rather than be subjected to the Phelpses’ hatred, two came to deliver the message that they had lived through a lot worse than a few stupid signs. Survivor Max Glauben spoke to a standing-room-only audience about his war experiences. Survivor Mike Jacobs sold his book and walked through the exhibit chatting with visitors.

At the Jewish Community Center, counterprotesters blocked the view so children inside wouldn’t see the hate-filled signs. Yavneh Academy, another stop, was closed for the day. The Texas Jewish Post newspaper office, also picketed, is on the sixth floor of an office building set back from Beltline Road across a wide parking lot. The newspaper was not disturbed.

The Phelps clan’s final stop was Resource Center Dallas, where they were protesting Congregation Beth El Binah. The picketers were greeted by 350 counterprotesters. Most were carrying nonsensical signs to taunt the Phelps group.

Before the Phelps clan’s arrival, volunteers chalked the sidewalk across from the center in rainbow stripes and arranged with police that the rainbow-striped sidewalk would be the only place where the Phelpses would be allowed to stand.

Before the clan arrived, the Resource Center had already collected about $5,000 in donations from around the country for “Hell Freezes Over,” a counterprotest fundraiser. Despite a downpour, another $2,700 was raised during the 30 minutes the Phelps clan picketed. The fundraiser had a goal of $3,100 for a new ice maker for RCD’s nutrition program for low-income people with HIV/AIDS.

Rafael McDonnell of Resource Center Dallas said the brakes on the food pantry’s van had just gone out, so some of the additional money would be used for that repair. He joked that he hoped the Phelps clan would return soon.

Congregation Congregation Beth El Binah president Diane Litke said they’d an attendance record for a July Shabbat service and were delighted to have helped the center raise that much money.

Murray said the museum collected a number of donations and gained new memberships. But she said the day was really about promoting tolerance.

—  David Taffet

Phelps clan bears false witness, doesn't show up for scheduled protest at North Dallas HS

These fine folks braved the cold this morning to counterprotest the Phelps clan, but the whackos from Westboro Baptist Church never showed.

According to their Web site at, the Phelps clan from Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan., was scheduled to be in Dallas today, beginning with a protest outside North Dallas High School at 8 a.m. Now I know we’re not supposed to give these whackos the publicity they’re seeking, but given that the high school is only a few blocks from the Instant Tea Brewery, I couldn’t resist my first opportunity to see them in person. Unfortunately, they never showed, and at about 8:15 a.m., we got word that the entire clan had gone to Skyline High School in South Dallas instead. Still, I wanted to reward the efforts of these counterprotesters, who braved the cold and unfurled their signs for me. Maybe they can head up to the Westin Galleria, where it looks like there’s a Facebook event for a counterprotest from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. says the Phelps clan will be protesting a “2010 Women’s Event,” but I can’t promise you they’ll be there.

UPDATE: Local activist David McFatridge sent along photos and a video from the Skyline High School protest. I’ve posted them after the jump.

—  John Wright