MOORE — Westboro Baptist Church, infamous for picketing the funerals of AIDS patients and Iraq War veterans, says it will stage a protest at a liquor store in Moore that is celebrating the death of the church’s former pastor, Fred Phelps, with a sign proclaiming a sale on Champagne.
Moore Liquor, at 914 SW 4, has gained a local reputation for its humorous, frequently off-color marquee signs. The shop marquee even has its own Facebook page: facebook.com/MooreLiquorMarquee and Twitter account: twitter.com/MooreLiquorMarq, where followers can see regular photos of the latest roadside witticisms.
“Fred Phelps, 1929-2014. Champagne 10% off! Not a coincidence,” is the latest storefront marquee message.
Shop owner Bryan Kerr said he put up the sign this week after Phelps died March 19. Phelps gained national fame after picketing the funeral of gay college student Matthew Shepard after he was murdered in 1998 in Laramie, Wyo.
“Fred Phelps is the kind of guy who is very difficult for reasonable people to like, and I knew I wanted to do something that had just a little bit of humor but wasn’t too disrespectful,” Kerr said.
Kerr tries to keep the liquor store marquee fresh with frequent references to pop culture and current events. “If you’re watching Dancing with the Stars sober, you are doing it wrong,” one recent message said.
“As you would expect, the response has been incredibly positive,” Kerr said of the Phelps Champagne sale marquee.
“There have certainly been some detractors, but 99 out of 100 responses have been supportive.”
After seeing a picture of the sign online, Kerr received a phone call from a woman in Virginia who wanted to purchase a case of Champagne from the store with a credit card and have it shipped to her.
Kerr couldn’t take the woman’s order because of Oklahoma’s restrictive liquor laws, but the woman wanted Moore Liquor to charge her credit card anyway, which Kerr declined to do.
The Phelps sign has attracted national attention after going viral on the Internet, but it also has given Champagne sales a slight bump this week, store employee Michael Bogan said.