Reverend Fred Phelps

The End Of A Hateful Man: The Reverend Fred Phelps Of The Westboro Baptist Church Is Dead!

The world is a better place with the death of the Reverend Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas.

Phelps died at age 84, and left behind a legacy of total hatred, as he became controversial for his small group of followers, mostly family, picketing at funerals of Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans, approved by the Supreme Court in 2011 with some restrictions, as freedom of speech.

Phelps and his followers were not protesting the wars America engaged in, but rather the fact that gays and lesbians were permitted to exist, as he and his flock condemned homosexuality, and said gays and lesbians were doomed to hell.

Phelps failed to attract outside supporters, and even some of his own family repudiated him over the years, but he never gave up his fanatical hatred and poisonous rhetoric.

There is the temptation to say “goodbye and good riddance,'” but more than wishing that ill thought on anyone who has died, is the hope that we will never again see the likes of anyone who calls himself “religious”, abuse that term by wishing harm and promoting hate toward anyone, whether for their race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, gender, or sexual orientation.

The ultimate victory over Fred Phelps and his ilk is the fact that 18 states and Washington, DC back gay marriage rights, that eight other states have had federal judges move in that direction—Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, Oklahoma Tennessee, Kentucky, and Utah, and that five other states—Missouri, Oregon, Nevada, Colorado, Wisconsin, as of this writing, recognize civil unions, a step toward eventual acceptance of gay marriage. So soon, it is likely, after appeal, that 26 states will be allowing gay marriage, and five others are also moving in that direction.

And ultimately, it seems highly likely that cases on gay marriage in the federal courts will lead to a Supreme Court decision, with a likely minimum 5-4 vote, including Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the majority opinion in the crucial gay rights case, Lawrence V. Texas, in 2003, and then no state will be able to deny anyone the right to marry a person of either gender, another great advancement in human rights!

Westboro Baptist Church Should Lose Its Tax Exempt Status And Be Labeled A Hate Group!

The Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas, a truly right wing nut group, mostly of an extended family headed by the Reverend Fred Phelps, which promotes hate of gays and lesbians, and was given the right by the Supreme Court to picket funerals of veterans killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, because of the fact that gays are allowed to “exist” in America, is now planning to picket and make noise at the funerals of the victims of the Sandy Hook Massacre in Connecticut.

Barriers are planned to keep these despicable people far away from the actual funerals,and pickets will counter demonstrate as well, but what needs to be done is to label this whacko group as a hate group by the US Government, and their tax exempt status as a so called “religious” group needs to be revoked!

These are ways to undermine this group, which is the epitome of what is wrong in this country, that such hate filled and extremist groups are allowed to abuse the rights of others, and the serenity of funerals!

Hopefully, this group’s members will get their just punishment in the next world beyond this lifetime on earth!

Louis J. Marinelli: The Ability To Grow And Change And Stop Hating: A Tribute To A Courageous Young Man!

Louis J. Marinelli spent five years actively working against gay rights and gay marriage, spending his time promoting hate and division.

A conservative Republican, this young man joined the National Organization For Marriage, and spent time holding rallies and organizing support against civil marriage for gays and lesbians.

And then he actually met gay and lesbians who just wanted the same right as straight people, and realized that he had behaved in a reprehensible way that greatly embarrassed him, as he now felt guilt at his promotion of prejudice and narrow mindedness. He possessed the courage to speak out publicly and create a Facebook page to that effect, and the response has been very positive!

Louis should be saluted, and we can only wish that all religious groups–whether evangelical Christians, Protestant main line groups, Catholics, Mormons, Jews, Muslims–would see it in their hearts to preach the concept of love in religion, rather than the concept of hate, war, prejudice, that all of them in varying amounts have been guilty of in the past or the present!

A big step forward would be for all religions and all decent human beings to condemn the Westboro Baptist Church of the Reverend Fred Phelps of Topeka, Kansas, and the small Gainesville, Florida church called Dove Church headed by the Pator Terry Jones, both involved in promotion of hate of gays as well as Muslims!

It is time for all who call themselves “religious” to promote the teachings of their faith with an open mind and generous heart!

The Danger Of The Westboro Baptist Church Decision: Violence Is Now Likely!

The father of the fallen Marine, who sued the Westboro Baptist Church for disruption of his son’s funeral with anti gay hate demonstrations, now must pay court fees to the Reverend Fred Phelps, a damn shame after having suffered through having to see his son’s memory distorted by the presence of police, sheriffs, swat teams, and emergency vehicles to prevent violence.

So because of a so called church that promotes just the opposite of what religion is supposed to do, the taxpayers are stuck with a tax burden, and a family has to endure what no one wants at a funeral of a loved one, a disruption of one of the worst moments of anyone’s life!

The Marine’s father warned what is obvious: There will eventually be bloodshed as relatives of a fallen soldier will go after the Reverend Fred Phelps and his relatives with guns, and innocent bystanders at a funeral could also become victims.

As the father of the Marine said, the eight Supreme Court Justices showed no common sense in their decision.

And they forgot the basis of the Schenck V. US case of 1919, that there is no such thing as total freedom of speech, if it presents a “clear and present danger” to others. To live in an idealistic world view about the First Amendment right of freedom of speech is going to provoke more bloodshed and violence, and at some point, it will be recognized that the Supreme Court did not do the responsible thing in this case!

The Westboro Baptist Church, The Supreme Court, And Free Speech

What the author feared would happen has indeed occurred!

The Supreme Court of the United States has, by an 8-1 vote, decided that the hateful, anti gay Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas, headed by the Reverend Fred Phelps, and consisting of about 50 people, almost all his relatives, have the right to disrupt military funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq or Afghanistan to protest the fact that gays have rights, and that America is going to the devil because gays are allowed to exist in America!

The fact that a military funeral is a time of mourning and stress for those connected to the dead soldier apparently had no effect on the Court, except for Associate Justice Samuel Alito, who, somewhat surprisingly, was the only dissenter.

So the Westboro Baptist Church can continue its evil deeds and disrupt funerals and promote hate, and the right of privacy of funeral attenders, including the family of the deceased, does not matter!

This despicable group not only has done this dastardly deed to families of soldiers, but also were present at the funeral of the nine year old girl murdered when Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was seriously wounded in Tucson, Arizona in January. The only difference there was that a large group of sympathizers of the parents of the young girl formed a wall of resistance to these characters, and kept them much further away from the funeral procession.

This is not, in the author’s mind, freedom of speech, or freedom of religion, or freedom of assembly. To call the Westboro Baptist Church a church is a mockery of the whole concept of religion!

All decent people will deplore this decision, and be embarrassed that Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan joined with Chief Justice John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, and even the ultimate swing vote, Anthony Kennedy, in writing this reprehensible decision!

This is not a victory for free speech, but rather a victory for hate, and insanity, and lack of respect for the dead, and lack of patriotism regarding the military, who sacrifice themselves every day in far off lands!

Surprising, but the author must commend Samuel Alito for having the courage to go against the tide, a man that the author has not highly admired. So I salute Alito for his brave stand for decency!

Arizona Does Something Right: Banning Of Westboro Baptist Church Hate Demonstration At Funerals Of Tucson Victims Of Mass Shooting!

Finally, Arizona has done something right, by its state legislature passing in record time today a ban on demonstrations or picketing by the hateful, sick Westboro Baptist Church at the funerals of the victims of the Tucson shootings last Saturday.

That despicable, so called religious group, which has picketed and demonstrated at the funerals of soldiers who died in Iraq or Afghanistan, because of the group’s hatred of gays, is finally being limited, as what they want to do is shameful! ๐Ÿ™

So they will be allowed no closer than 300 feet, the equivalent of a football field, and additionally, there will be counter demonstrators dressed as angels who will stand in the way of these hateful crackpots, remaining silent, but blocking the vision of these sick, perverted members of what is primarily a warped group of family members of the so called Reverend Fred Phelps! ๐Ÿ™

This action has already been followed in Ohio over a military funeral, although the case is now in the Supreme Court, has been argued, and we are awaiting their decision at some point later in this term of the Court.

It is hard to imagine that the Supreme Court would give license to this group by the argument of freedom of religion and assembly and speech, since they have no purpose other than to disrupt and cause emotional harm and suffering upon people who have suffered a loss of a loved one.

To think that the specific purpose of their demonstration is to condemn the Catholic faith of the nine year old child victim makes one want to mourn the loss in this group of what religion and Christianity are all about–to love thy neighbor!

If these are truly Christians, then they are a mockery of the faith!

Elizabeth Edwards’s Funeral And The Westboro Baptist Church: Time To Say NO To Hateful Demonstration At Moment Of Mourning! :(

The author has written before about the hateful Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas, led by the Reverend Fred Phelps, a church consisting of mostly his family of about 50 relatives, which demonstrates at military funerals of soldiers who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan, promoting their hate of gay rights, and claiming America is going to hell!

There is a case in the Supreme Court right now, which will soon be decided, as to whether this is an issue of free speech, assembly and religion, or one of obscene, disgraceful behavior which interferes with the mourning of families at these military funerals of our heroes.

Now, with the death of Elizabeth Edwards, the estranged wife of former Senator John Edwards, a woman much respected, admired and loved by millions of people, the Westboro Baptist Church plans to picket her funeral in the same despicable manner that they do at military funerals. ๐Ÿ™

It is time for this outrageous behavior to be banned at any point anywhere near the mourners, not only at the Edwards funeral, but ALL funerals, military or otherwise, now and in the future.

To call this freedom of speech, assembly and religion is a total distortion of the meaning of the First Amendment. Such reprehensible behavior should NOT be endorsed or supported, and hopefully, the Supreme Court will soon rule that the Westboro Baptist Church should not be allowed any closer than three miles to any funeral that they wish, with their hatred motivation, to disrupt.

It is time to take a stand against what is wrong, and ban it anywhere near the site of a funeral, and allow the mourners to have peace of mind and solitude as they mourn their loved ones.

Religious Leaders And Bigotry: The Hypocrisy Of Some Clergymen Of All Faiths! :(

Whatever religion one professes to believe in, one of the basic tenets of religion is not only to save humanity from its sins, but also promote tolerance and open mindedness toward those who do not share your beliefs!

On that test, many clergymen have failed miserably, and the problem is not only that these are their personal shortcomings, but that it has such a dramatic impact on their congregants, and often on the society at large! ๐Ÿ™

Hate and prejudice is unacceptable rhetoric from a clergyman of any faith, and yet it prospers in American society!

For example, we have Franklin Graham, son of the the famous evangelist Billy Graham; and we have Terry Jones, pastor in Gainesville, Florida, both of whom spew forth anti Islamic rhetoric, which poisons the body politic, including the threat before September 11 that Jones would burn Korans at his church! ๐Ÿ™

Then we also have Jones; the Reverend Fred Phelps of Topeka, Kansas; Pastor Eddie Long of Atlanta; and Rabbi Yehuda Levine of Brooklyn, New York as examples of religious leaders who promote hate and prejudice against people who are gay in their sexual orientation! ๐Ÿ™

We also have the Catholic Church promoting anti gay sentiment, at the same time that many of its priests are shown to have been involved in such activity! And of course, the Pastor Eddie Long has been accused of similar activity with young men in his congregation, and yet rails against gays with poisonous rhetoric! ๐Ÿ™

Whether evangelical Christians, Catholics, Jews, or mainline Protestants, we see too many examples of hate for people of a religion or those of a different sexual orientation, and these people are committing the ultimate sin: not following the concept of tolerance and open mindedness!

How can someone call himself or herself “religious” and then promote hate, prejudice, and discrimination in their sermons and public activities? And how can someone claiming to be “religious” be a parent and disown his or her own children over what is natural to them, as much as someone who naturally is heterosexual? ๐Ÿ™

These leaders, and others like them, and ordinary citizens who are parents and reject their children because of being different, are not truly “religious”, but instead are hypocrites who are dividing families and society by their hate! ๐Ÿ™

What is being truly “religious”? It is being a person who treats others who are different, with dignity and respect, and accepting diversity in this world with equanimity! It is how you deal with people every day of your life, not whether you attend church or synagogue on the Sabbath, as many such people sin all week and then think going to religious services somehow makes up for their horrible behavior on a daily basis!

It is essential that such religious leaders be called out for their reprehensible behavior, and be repudiated as hate mongers who do not deserve a collar! ๐Ÿ™

And it is time for parents to act like parents, and be there for their children through thick and thin, not rejecting them under the guise of being “religious”!