Westboro Baptist Church

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!

The Westboro Baptist Church And The Funerals Of 19 Arizona Firefighters

The infamous Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas, consisting of about 50 people, mostly family members, who have picketed funerals of Iraq and Afghanistan War soldiers, is now threatening to picket the funerals of the 19 courageous Arizona firefighters killed this week in the worst loss of firefighters since September 11, 2001.

That despicable church has used their sick, hateful tactic to protest the reality of homosexuality, arguing that war losses and deaths of firefighters is all due to God visiting his wrath on America for accepting the existence of gay men and women.

The Supreme Court a few years ago ruled that what the Westboro Baptist Church does is freedom of speech and assembly, but that such demonstrations must be far enough away so as not interfere with such somber events.

But this kind of conduct, while it might be legal, is reprehensible, and makes one say: “Enough is enough!”, and will hopefully lead to a strong counter demonstration that will shout down any awareness of the fact that these sick people are even present anywhere near the respect that is due to those courageous firefighters, as much as war veterans killed in combat!

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!

The Supreme Court’s View Of Free Speech: SICK And Dangerous To America’s Future!

The Supreme Court majority has gone amuck with the First Amendment guarantee of “free speech”!

The Court backed the right of the Westboro Baptist Church to picket its anti gay propaganda at the funerals of Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans!

It allowed “Crush” videos that depict animal cruelty in the past term, the production of videos that show small animals being tortured or killed for the sexual gratification of viewers!

Now it allows minors to be able to buy and use violent video games that depict extreme violence, bloodshed, and promote war situations as acceptable for children, without their parents’ approval, claiming the rights of minors were being limited by the state of California!

The comparison was made to movies, television, and books that have depicted such graphic images, but video games have a far greater hold and impact on children than any of these, and supposedly, there are ratings systems on these forms of media!

So children cannot get sexually explicit material, based on decisions of the Court years ago, but extremely violent video games are alright. But, of course, tobacco and alcohol are banned at the same time!

These are inconsistent messages, and make it much more likely that we will see greater amounts of graphic violence, as now children not only often have parents who ignore the importance of their roles, but now government is looking the other way as well, not setting a standard for children, who do NOT have all the rights of adults, and should not have the right to purchase violent video games without the consent of their parents!

The standards of decent behavior have deteriorated further and further, to the detriment of America and its future!

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! 🙁

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! 🙁

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. 🙁

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.

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

A very significant case has been accepted for oral argument before the Supreme Court on the issue of freedom of speech and assembly, and this case really will be one of the key cases of this Supreme Court session.

Fred Phelps, the pastor of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas, has very few followers, mostly his own family members, which include 13 children, 54 grandchildren, and seven great grandchildren. Phelps is an old time gospel preacher who promotes hatred of gays, and has his church followers demonstrate loudly and hatefully at the funerals and memorial services of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. This sect has demonstrated at hundreds of locations all across the country, making the mourning of the dead much more stressful for those who attend the funerals and memorial services.

A Maryland family of a dead soldier won a multimillion dollar law suit against the church, but an appeals court reversed the verdict, and now the Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case.

Earlier, a Missouri law was negated by the high court on this specific church demonstrating at a funeral of a dead soldier, so the chances that the church will be restricted do not seem very good. But it would be the RIGHT thing to do!

Should there be limits on when and where the church can protest? As much as the author is a believer in the First Amendment, it is my feeling that the Supreme Court should limit the rights of the church to disrupt funerals and memorial processions, as a sign of decency and respect toward those soldiers who have sacrificed for their country.

The odd thing about all this is that the soldiers who are having their funerals and memorial processions barraged with hate slogans are NOT gay. But the church says the country is going to hell because it does not criminalize and ban gay behavior, so God is visiting death rightfully on our heroic soldiers fighting for our country.

In the name of decency and respect for the dead, I hope the Supreme Court orders the church members to stay far away from funerals and memorial processions–far enough away so that they are not heard or seen.

Since what the church does is provocative and promotes emotion and the potential for violence, the Supreme Court should use the Schenck case of 1919 to declare that the Westboro Baptist Church is a radical, extremist group that is a “clear and present danger”, and force it to be at least two miles from any funeral or memorial procession. Free speech and assembly stops at the border of other people’s rights, and the Court should not uphold the church, but rather honor the young men and women who have sacrificed for their country, and have a right to a dignified and respectful funeral!