A small but well-publicized group of homophobic, anti-Semitic Baptist zealots from Kansas brought their dumb message of hate to Manhattan this weekend, standing around with inflammatory signs like "The Jews Killed Jesus" outside a West Village synagogue that caters to gays and lesbians. But instead of straightening out the gays and bringing the Jews to Jesus, these hateful hayseeds actually succeeded in helping out one of their targets, the Congregation Beth Simchat Torah, which turned the demonstration into a fundraiser!

Leaders of the synagogue, which is currently using rented space in the West Village, asked supporters to pledge a dollar or more for every minute that the six bigoted bumpkins protested outside. After almost an hour, they raised $10,000, thanks to the Westboro Baptist Church protesters, who were vastly outnumbered yesterday by a counter-demonstration of some 150 synagogue supporters. Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum tells the Daily News, "The synagogue wants a building so we're hoping this will help us get a building. We're not intimidated by them. We're joining together today to show that we ... simply reject their language, their violence, and we won't be scared away by them."

After inadvertently helping out the gay-friendly synagogue, the Baptists moved uptown to Central Park, where their next target was a celebration of the centennial of Tel Aviv. One of the demonstrators, Rebekah Phelps-Davis, told the Times her group came to New York to condemn the city's Jewish population for its support of "the homosexual agenda." In the park, they were met with a mix of outrage and disbelief. According to the Times, one lady in a Mercedes yelled, "What is wrong with you?", while a passing jogger declared, "I feel sorry for you." And one passerby even tried to pull an Israeli flag from under the feet of one protester but the NYPD wouldn't let her.