A comedian known on Facebook as “God” and on Twitter as @Thegoodgodabove has been running a controversial satirical campaign in which the religious figure is portrayed as progressive, modern, and accepting. Countering homophobia and other injustices that can be prompted by religion, the social media “God” cites religious text as support for his loving messages and wittily responds to his opposition and fans alike. The social media “God” caused a stir last month by erecting a large, colorful billboard displaying a vibrant rainbow and the words ‘God Loves Gays’ in the hometown of the hate-spewing cult known as Westboro Baptist Church.
Westboro is known for spreading hateful messages, picketing funerals of U.S. military, and protesting anything which goes against their rigid beliefs with profane and offensive means. They are often found attempting to spread homophobia with shirts and picket signs reading “God Hates Fags.”
In response to the famous cult’s unrelenting hate speech, the social media “God” orchestrated the movement to plaster the world with “God Loves Gays” billboards, hoping to overshadow the group’s hateful messages with ones of acceptance and love.
What’s more, the social media “God” claims to have received a message on Sunday from an anonymous Westboro member who claims that the billboard helped to change his or her way of thinking and served as inspiration to leave the cult.
The claims cannot be substantiated, and many are suggesting that the message is an attempt to reveal the identity of the person running the page for some sinister reason. But though many are imploring the comedian to be careful and protective of his or her identity, even the skeptics are offering loving, supportive messages in regards to the member who allegedly wants to escape and encouraging “God” to do whatever can be done to help this individual.
There have been instances in the past of members, even life-long, highly involved members leaving Westboro, but they have been ostracized from their families and peers, and forced to start whole new lives separate from everything they know. It is unclear how physically difficult the process of escaping the cult is, but all reports from ex-members attest to an emotionally taxing, alienating process. Perhaps the prospective escapee is asking for help in finding refuge once all social ties are cut, or perhaps it is a hoax intended to expose “God”’s true identity. Regardless, the message of love stands high above the hate, and seems to be more effective at inspiring those who come across it.