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This is one of many various large signs used by Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church. Fred Phelps and Westboro Baptist Church are responsible for the websites http://www.godhatesfags.com and http://www.godhatesamerica.com.

The "AIDS Kills Fags Dead" was, in fact, seen at the Matthew Shepard funeral. The Westboro Baptist Church, as a practice, pickets funerals of gays and lesbians, especially those near Topeka, Kanasas. They also travel to high profile funerals of gay people, such as the Matthew Shepard funeral was, mainly for media attention. Of course, "Fag and sodomite" to Fred Phelps means anybody who doesn't agree with him.

The tragic and sickening irony was that there was nobody to protect Matthew Shepard from the homophobes that beat him and left him for dead, but the Westboro Baptist Church had a barricade and police protection to picket his funeral.

As well as being offensive, this slogan is simply inaccurate. Observe:

  • AIDS doesn't kill anyone. Opportunistic infections kill people.
  • Thanks to new drugs such as AZT, AIDS may no longer kill anyone dead (as opposed to killing them live? Who the hell came up with that sentence anyway?). It's becoming something you die with, rather than die from. No, I am not saying AZT is a cure which works for everyone and no-one dies of AIDS anymore. I'm just saying the survival rates are getting marginally better.
  • AIDS isn't known for its targeting of people due to sexuality. Equally or more accurate slogans would be 'AIDS kills people who've had blood transfusions dead', 'AIDS kills people who share needles dead', 'AIDS kills babies with HIV-positive mothers dead' and 'AIDS kills heterosexuals dead' (the majority of new HIV infections are through heterosexual intercourse, presumably because gay men use condoms, while heterosexual couples use non-barrier methods such as the Pill). For some reason, however, no-one is using these slogans. How... odd.

This phrase was not coined or popularized due to its accuracy. It trips off the tongue and sticks in the mind so easily because it is a parody/corruption of the advertising slogan "RAID kills bugs dead". RAID commercials featuring this slogan, with a particularly enthusiastic and morbid voice-over, were ubiquitous in the mid-80's, when HIV was still being reported as a disease afflicting only homosexuals. RAID is still using this slogan today, apparently unconcernced about any negative associations. Thus both phrases serve to remind us that the armies of hate and consumer culture might as well use the same methods, since they share so many of the same homogenizing goals.

The population base of people willing to openly display homosexual hatred in this country is simply much larger than that of public racism (at least in the non-institutionalized Ku Klux Klan sense), probably because it is encouraged by the predominant religion. In addition, I can't think of any jingles offhand where a word can be replaced with "nigger" to form an endorsement of white supremacy, and I'm not going to waste anyone's time trying to come up with one. The puns just got lucky in this case.

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