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Fred Phelps and Fellow Idiots Are Walking on the Fighting Side of Me

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An' I don't mind 'em switchin' sides
An' standin' up for things they believe in
When they're runnin' down my country, man
They're walkin' on the fightin' side of me.
Yeah, walkin' on the fightin' side of me
Runnin' down the way of life,
Our fightin' men have fought and died to keep.”
— Merle Haggard, "Fightin' Side of Me"

"Thank God for dead Soldiers."

"Fag sin = 9-11."

"God blew up the troops."

If any one of those statements above didn’t make your blood boil, I don’t know what will. Perhaps you’ve heard, but in case you didn’t, on Monday, March 15, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the case of one Fred Phelps and his Topeka, Kansas-based, lunatic fringe Westboro Baptist Church. (HELLO! All you Baptists out there, are you paying attention to what a group is doing to your faith?!)

My feelings towards Phelps run into the unprintable so I’ll stick to the facts here and let you be the judge. Phelps and his group have this nasty habit of showing up at the funerals of fallen service members with signs depicting phrases like those above, and worse. They go out of their way to disrupt the funeral and inflict more pain and suffering on a family laying their loved one to final rest.

The father of one slain Marine, Albert Snyder of York, Pennsylvania took the group to court after they showed up at his son’s funeral. A Maryland federal court ruled in favor of Snyder and awarded him $5 million, but last fall an appeals court reversed the $5 million verdict, ruling the church's protests were protected by the First Amendment.

And now we get to the crux of the issue: free speech. This isn’t about your feelings about homosexuality. This has nothing to do with your beliefs that homosexuality is morally wrong and reprehensible before the eyes of God. This isn’t about you, this isn’t about Fred Phelps, and this isn’t about all the gays and lesbians in this country.

This is about a family’s right to lay their slain loved to rest in peace and with dignity.

Throughout history the courts have determined that while free speech extends along a wide latitude, there is some speech that isn’t covered by that blanket. You can’t yell fire in a crowed room, you can’t incite a riot, and other issues don’t curry favor in the free speech market.

So while I struggle mightily with this — I’m a strong believer in free speech – Fred Phelps doesn’t deserve this protection. He and his group don’t deserve the same protections to spew their hate and vitriol.

Someone, somewhere, I don’t remember exactly, pointed out the public safety aspects of all this, equating the signs of Phelps to yelling fire in a theater. There’s a public safety concern here. This group has already incited violence when it shows up with its signs and they’ve given birth to the Patriot Riders – a group of motorcycle riders that go to these funerals and use their monstrous machines to drown out the protesters.

Yeah, these people are certainly walking on the fighting side of me. Lord knows if they ever showed up at a funeral I was attending, they’d get a hard punch to the nose. I’d probably get arrested but, I’ll tell you what, I’d gladly serve the time.

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About Mr. B

  • No Pot To

    Date: October 6, 2010

    To: Open letter to Rev. Fred Phelps

    From: No Pot To

    I suppose I should hate you : but I don’t. I am a combat veteran of the US Army, as well as a religious Jew. I should be opposing your philosophy : but I cannot.

    Please bare with me here for a little bite. I am going to say a few things you will not like, but then it gets better. I wish to give you the ‘old’ teaching from the Jewish tradition?”one so old no Rabbi speaks of it today. In the Old Testament the rule against homosexuality is quickly followed by the rule against cutting the corners of the beard. It is indeed strange that you choose to enforce the rules again gays, yet have a clean shaven face. One begins to question just what it is you really do?”follow the word of God or just concern yourself with homosexuality.

    Old testament Hebrew has gender indicators that modern English does not have. Translation therefore is a little off. The rules against homosexuality were always applied to the male gender never the female. This indicated to the ancient Rabbis that the these rules applied to men only and not to women at all, thus eliminating the need of 50% of the world population to observe them. Secondly, the rules were always applied to Jews, never to the gentiles. Since the Jewish population of this world is less than 1%, the old Rabbis never applied rule against homosexuality to 99% of the world. In reality that rule involves only one half of one present of the worlds population today (.05%). I do not speak for Jewish Law now, and you will never get a modern Rabbi to tell you this. However, neither you nor any member of your congregation is Jewish, therefore I absolve you of any need to follow Jewish Law. You are free to go and become gay if you so wish.

    With that said, I must admit I whole-heartedly support your philosophy and your actions even though they seem designed more to ‘wound’ than to ‘teach.’ Yes! You are right! God hates homosexuals Yes, you are right. 9/11 and dead soldiers are God’s answer to the degradation he sees in this country today. No one who voluntarily wishes to follow the word of God as taught by the Jews can denie this.

    After 9/11 I watched on TV as members of the US Congress stood on the steps of the Capitol Rotunda and sang, “God bless America.” I ask you, just what ‘truck’ does that pack of scoundrels and thieves have with God? Why should God listen to them? For that matter, why should God bless America? Name one thing America has done since the Viet Nam war that would beget the Grace of God? Don’t think too hard. There isn’t a thing. I watched as President George Bush became the high-priest of the nation, saying prayers and blessing the troops as he sent them off on their holy mission. That seems to be very appropriate. A corrupt, career politician and an unrepentant drunk became the high-priest of this country. I watched as solders entered Afghanistan and said to the local population, you can listen to music now. And they would turn-up their ghetto-blaster to hear Little Steve Wonder singing, “Let’s do it in the road…” The Moslem’s in a religiously oriented country don’t want to hear that. Hell, I don’t want to listen to it. Those GI’s didn’t have a clue what brought them there to begin with. The American went to Afghanistan fighting for oil, trade routes, and the rule of law. But as for Al Qida, after watching their society being slowly beaten down for decades with American smut, debauchery, and pop-culture, Al Qida began to fight back. They were fighting for morality! Common human decency! God!

    Ah… War is easier. It is easier to fight the boogie-man than it is to attack the real problems that this country faces in the 21st century. For instance in the State of Florida alone, there are over 20,000 names on the registered sex offender list. That is just one state. Add them all together and what do you get? Ah, but it’s easier to fight Al Qida than it is to deal with that problem?”the real problem. George Bush went to world war III against Al Qida, but if you collect every member of Al Qida in the world together they wouldn’t even fill-up George Bush’s White House. If you collect all the sex offenders of the world together, there wouldn’t be enough room in the Sate of Florida to house them all. It is much easier for Americans to spend all their time, money, and ambition swatting flies while they ignore the ‘elephant in the living room.’

    Reverend Phelps, your cause is just! Your reasoning is sound! Your mission is clear! Your motives may be a little suspect, but you are a lone voice in the wilderness shouting for the Laws of God. You are to be commended for these actions. I urge you to keep going; keep trying. To save just one soul is to save an entire universe. Good luck. May God go with you. I only ask that you widen your scope just a little. Include all sexual deviations and hypocrisy.

  • Nihilo

    Has anyone seen that old corpsy body of his anywhere? Last time I saw him, he looked so withered on his own hate and starved of physical attention, that his eyes swerved left and right in an attempt to soak up some form of external disgust just to keep going on. The man is a leech, and it should be made an example of him and all of his children that gave up their right to be considered anything equal to or above a human instead of fighting back; that you can say what you want, but that doesn’t mean you won’t pay for whatever spews out that hole you call a mouth. I’m fairly certain that any judge with self respect will flip him the bird as he tries to present any kind of a case against the offender. These people gave up their rights a long time ago, so bleed them dry of funds and attention.


    It’s time to stop laying ANY association at the feet of the Baptist church. It’s remarkable ignorance to see how many people hear Westboro “Baptist church” and recklessly manage to even think of Christ’s church in any way at all. This is yet another sign of how televangelists and the media have managed to make Christ and His church out to be something that doesn’t even remotely resemble fact.
    He’s NOT a “Baptist” in any way shape or form. He is NOT a “representative” of anything Christ or the New Testament declares. Which, despite what the “denominations” of men say, is the ONE and ONLY workable portrait of The Church OF Jesus the Christ. It’s no different then the murderous lunatics Joe Smith and Brigham Young in hijacking the Name Of Christ to satisfy their greed for power, money and undue respect from a following.
    How do we dislocate Christ, from these lies when Media spreads their lies as something true, and the church is spinelessly hell bent on “pleasing the world?” If “a” church is anti-Semitic, then it is IMPOSSIBLE for that church of men to be Christ’s. If a church is based on and thrives on telling people that ANY “works” of man equate to or are needed to gain salvation, then Christ is of NO EFFECT and the church is not, can not be, and never will be – HIS. GET IT STRAIGHT or shut your mouth!

  • Well, I’ve reread this article and all the commentary including my own. This really isn’t about freedom of speech and has everything to do with homosexuality. See, that’s how Phelps and most religious fanatical or profit making groups get away with their poison. They blame it on the fags. Classic example is the Vatican’s response to their Pope’s dilemma. Let’s blame it on the homosexuals. Let’s not. Pedophiles are not homosexuals — they are pedophiles. They prey on the young because they lack something in their core which causes them to have delusions of power which can only be achieved by seducing innocent prey. They are predators. They are not necessarily evil but evil nonetheless. The Vatican has to find a way out for their duly-elected leader, so they’re taking the Phelps’ approach.

    This is the modus operandi of many fringe right wingers. In order to get their message to resonate they prey on the homosexuals because, let’s face it, they’re an easy target. That’s how people like Phelps succeeds. That’s part of Hitler’s success. The funny thing is the hatred which is directed towards gays is relatively new in the whole scheme of things. Do the research for yourself. So regardless of the pending SCOTUS decision, Phelps will remain ever vigilant in promoting his campaign of hate. He will gather a flock of weak-willed individuals who have no self worth or purpose in life. The sheep in his flock are those who need to be saved.

  • Benjamin

    @Gary — everyone in entitled to their opinion…

  • Gary

    The Westboro Baptist folks very likely position themselves on public property, where they have the freedom to say what they please. While I would not want to demonstrate at a funeral, much of what Phelps and his people say is true. God’s judgment is on America. We are a wicked, sin enabling nation, and our best days are behind us.

  • Freedom Fighter

    While everyone is entitled to their opinion, and freedopm of speech; the only opinions that takes any sort of precedence in my mind, are the ones who have gone to battle, and willingly make sacrifices that the majority of you blowhards aren’t willing, and don’t have the balls to do. If you don’t make those sacrifices like us soldiers do, then you haven’t earned your right to say the nasty shit you say, and you definitely don’t have a right to infringe upon a family burying their loved one who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

    Oh, and whenever you hateful ingrateful people pass away, I’ll be sure to make a special trip so that I can utilize MY WELL EARNED Freedom of Speech, at your funeral, so that your loved ones,(if there is still anyone left that could love someone like you) will have to listen to me and others like me protesting against your awfulness. Signs and all.

    If you are a God fearing man, who follows the teachings of the Bible, then you would also know to do unto others what you would have them do to you, and since you have no problem doing this to my fellow comrades, I have no problem doing it to you folks.

  • Jessica

    If you’ll all be so gracious as to accept the opinion of a devout Christian; I’d just like to say that The Westboro Baptist Church is a blight on Christianity, and that Fred Phelps is an embarrassment to the people of God…..Please know, that most of us don’t share Phelps views ……. While these people may guise themselves in a superficial, cellophane wrapping that ‘looks’ like Christianity; the reality is that they are nothing more than wicked, immoral idolaters; who have chosen to ‘worship’ a morally corrupt, mentally unstable old man in lieu of Jesus Christ…

    Phelps has so misconstrued Gods Word, that his teachings border on the Satanic. He’s even gone so far as to expose his own grandchildren to his twisted culture of fanatical hate; encouraging parents to bring children as young as six years old to protests; forcing them to hold up signs relating to causes which they don’t even have the intellectual capacity to understand (see documentary, ‘The Most Hated Family in America’ by Louis Theroux of the BBC)….. For most of his life, Phelps was nothing more than a drug abuser; who ruthlessly beat his own wife and children… Read on…

    Two of (Fred Phelps’) sons, Mark and Nate, allege that their father is a child abuser who repeatedly beat them with a leather strap and a mattock handle (similar to an axe handle).[34] They insist that the church is actually a carefully planned cult that allows Phelps to see himself as a demigod, wielding absolute control over the lives of his family and congregants, essentially turning them into slaves that he can use for the sole purpose of gratifying his every whim and acting as the structure for his delusion that he is the only righteous man on Earth.[35] In 1995, Mark Phelps wrote a letter to the people of Topeka to this effect; it was run in the Topeka Capital-Journal.[36] The children’s claim is partially backed up by B.H. McAllister, the Baptist minister who ordained Phelps. McAllister said in a 1993 interview that Phelps developed a delusion wherein he was one of the few people on Earth worthy of God’s grace and that everyone else in the world was going to Hell, and that salvation or damnation could be directly obtained by either aligning with or opposing him. As of 2006, Phelps maintains this belief.[35] Phelps and his family picket approximately six locations every day, including many in Topeka and some events farther (away). On Sundays, up to 15 churches may receive pickets.[37] By their own count, WBC has conducted over 30,000 pickets, in all 50 states, in over 500 cities and towns.[38] Their travel budget exceeds $200,000 annually.[39]

    Nate has alleged that his father’s violence toward his mother and his family was due to an addiction to amphetamines and barbiturates, which Phelps used to help meet the demands of law school. The stress of schoolwork, combined with the difficulties faced by the simultaneous use of uppers and downers, heightened Phelps’ “quick, violent, and indiscriminate” temper.[40] (Taken from Wikipedia)….
    Don’t let these people get to you. Phelps has done little more with his life than to dupe a bunch of intellectually deficient, morally confused ‘simpletons’ into believing that they are doing good by hurting people. His agenda is nothing new. The KKK, the Neo Nazi movement and hoards of terrorists have been committing similar atrocities in ‘God’s name’ for generations.

    Jesus told the Church that we could easily recognize His true disciples; because they would possess the fruits of the Holy Spirit…. These are;

    • Love
    • Joy
    • Peace
    • Longsuffering
    • Kindness
    • Goodness
    • Faithfulness
    • Gentleness
    • Self-control

    The Westboro Baptist Church is sorely lacking. God save them.

  • If someone targets a particular group for harassment, say a group like the families of fallen warriors, isn’t that a hate crime?

  • mutterhals

    I don’t think they should be legislated into oblivion, they should just be ignored. Pretend they are some random crazy homeless guy that just wandered onto the street and started screaming obscenities. That’s basically what this group is. I know that’s easier said than done, but all protest does is afford them credibility, via the free speech argument. They don’t even deserve bad publicity.

  • won’t do any good doc, most over the previous 8 years were appointed by Bush flunkies

  • Alan,

    Benjamin currently serves as a combat photojournalist. I would trust him and I also admire the courage he has shown to leave the comforts of this country to do that, could you do the same?

  • Then perhaps it’s a pity they didn’t have the benefit of Ruvy’s comments as an illustration.

    So, Doc, what’s the appellate court’s address and what’s the name of the presiding judge.

    I just love letter-writing….

  • I surprised the appellate court doesn’t see how this can incite a riot.

    Then perhaps it’s a pity they didn’t have the benefit of Ruvy’s comments as an illustration.

  • Well written, well read article and I Dugg it Ben.

    Can you imagine the continuous pain that the most dominant and burning memory of your dead brother/son’s funeral is of these assholes lining the route and outside the church?

  • While they have every right to say whatever disgusting thing they like, I surprised the appellate court doesn’t see how this can incite a riot.

  • Ruvy, since you advocate church burnings and crucifixion, I’d say Pastor Phelps isn’t the only American lucky that you live a third of a world away. We are ALL positively blessed that you emigrated.

  • Ruvy wades in with his Louisville Slugger (#9) and later (#14) advocates crucifying Phelps and his followers. “I mean that literally,” snarls Ruvy, “nailed on a cross half naked so their bones will sag on the cross and slowly kill them while they die from exposure. They, of all ‘Christians,’ deserve to experience first hand the alleged fate of their ‘savior.’ They deserve to know what Roman savagery is like.”

    More often than not Alan, YOUR legal system does not work when it comes to dealing with people who deal out hatred – particularly needless hatred. Even the Catholics who condemn homosexual behavior at least have the decency to say “love the sinner and hate the sin”. It’s a big line of bullshit, but at least the homosexual who wants to follow the Vatican’s dictates has chastity as a way out of Rome’s version of a “lake of fire”. That’s a whole lot different from “god hates fags”.

    Any asshole who calls for my death, and Phelps has called for the death of all Jews, is my enemy. A Louisville Slugger or a cross is a good way to get rid of these bastards. And as a Jew who does not believe in taking shit from anybody, that is the appropriate solution to the sick fucks who constitute the followers of this piece of garbage, Phelps. That was the appropriate solution to the Nazis in 1926 as well, and is the appropriate solution to anyone who calls for the death of my brethren and sisters – this especially applies to the Wahhabi garbage who pollute Islam with their heresy.

    As I said originally, this bastard Phelps is very lucky I live a third of a world away. It ain’t a long drive down I35 to reach this garbage and burn down his church.

  • Bennjamin,

    YES, this does make my blood boil, and it seems to me that the Court has lost its’ mind.

    When I see that money has a LOUDER voice and more civil rights in this country than individual human beings and that this FRED, can disgrace our loved ones who died for HIS FREEDOM then I say it is time for TERM LIMITS in the SUPREME COURT.

    Great article!

  • That should have read, “no matter how much I disagreed with him”.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Ruve, it’s not me who’s confused about your beliefs. 🙂

  • Jordan,

    I don’t believe in Christianity or in the divinity of Jesus – but assuming for a moment that I did, I don’t think any messiah would see fit to save Phelps from the lake of fire he deserves to burn in.

    With the exception of one or two individuals who have commented here over the 4½ years I’ve been here, there is nobody I would be so nasty to as to assume his religion had no validity at all – nobody how much I disagreed with him.

  • Jordan Richardson

    (Note how Ruvy puts quotation marks around not just ‘Christians’ but ‘savior,’ calling into question both Phelps’s legitimacy as a Christian and Jesus’ status as our savior.)

    Can’t imagine why he would do that…

  • Benjamin

    Hi Alan,

    Nice post. As to that hat, I was assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division (as was Duvall in Apocalypse Now) while overseas and it was a rare moment we were allowed to wear our Stetsons … It always amazes me how many people go after the damn hat …

    I get what you’re saying about Merle, not trying to mythologize him, just no other lyric comes even close to expressing the feelings I have for Mr. Phelps.

    I also understand what you’re saying about sinking to Phelp’s level but I’ve also come to the belief that in rare times, when the other side is so egregious, we have no choice to fight fire with fire. I feel that too often by trying to maintain an air of loftiness and appealing to a higher instinct, we (all inclusive of any of the “other side”) loose our point in the fray by not being loud enough. I long ago lost my belief that appealing to one’s intellect, in the majority of cases, proved any worth.

    And no worries, while I still I’d go after Phelps and his group, I’d never punch an 80-year old man, I was definitely referring to one of his followers, more my “own size.”
    And please don’t think I’m backing down from my statement, most certainly I feel my anger would get the better of me and I’d be at the front of an altercation with this group.
    If the same group were to hold their protest during some parade (as say the KKK or neo-Nazi groups have often done) or in a different location (say the other side of town) on the same day as the funeral, I wouldn’t be even as close to upset. As is, this group purposely interjects themselves into the most volatile of situations to make as inflammatory of a point as possible.

  • I distrust squirrelly young men in spectacles who dress up like Robert Duvall in Apocalypse Now, quote the likes of Merle Haggard, and threaten to give an 80-year-old pastor “a hard punch in the nose” to prove what red-blooded Americans they are.

    In March 1973, two weeks before the last U.S. combat troops pulled out of Vietnam, Merle Haggard (having been pardoned by California Governor Ronald Reagan for crimes that had landed Haggard in San Quentin) celebrated “the way of life our fightin’ men have fought and died to keep” by entertaining President Richard Nixon at a black-tie soiree in the East Room of the White House. Obviously, some are called to serve and others are called to sing. Funny, though, how nobody airlifted from Saigon was invited to exchange his smelly fatigues for a freshly pressed tux and join Merle, Dick and the First Lady for a photo op. Tellingly, the only active serviceman in attendance that delightful Saturday evening was Lieutenant (junior grade) David Eisenhower, grandson of the 34th President, son-in-law of the 37th President (the aforementioned Dick), and inspiration for Creedence Clearwater’s “Fortunate Son” about the preferential treatment received during the Vietnam era by those born to position. If I were you, I’d go easy on mythologizing Merle Haggard as a great patriot.

    As for the issue at hand, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last fall that the protestors were protected by the First Amendment. The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to review the case, but meanwhile the Appeals Court decision remains the law of the land.

    I’m no constitutional scholar, yet clearly neither are you nor the other commenters on this thread. Jessica Lada (#5), for example, says the First Amendment “allows people the right to petition the government. It’s so that we are allowed to voice our feelings in opposition of the government and make our voices heard. That has nothing to do with stomping on a family’s god given right to bury their son or daughter or whoever in peace.” What she overlooks is that Lance Cpl. Matthew A. Snyder was killed accidentally while assigned to the Marine Expeditionary Force occupying Iraq at the U.S. Government’s behest. If our nation’s leaders squandered this 20-year-old’s life in a needless, immoral war, we have not only a right to express our outrage but a duty as citizens of conscience to do so. And if we must test the limits of constitutional protection to make our protest effective, so be it.

    For now, we ought to let the legal process run its course before resorting to violence. First you incite riot with your inflammatory words and cocked fist. Then Ruvy wades in with his Louisville Slugger (#9) and later (#14) advocates crucifying Phelps and his followers. “I mean that literally,” snarls Ruvy, “nailed on a cross half naked so their bones will sag on the cross and slowly kill them while they die from exposure. They, of all ‘Christians,’ deserve to experience first hand the alleged fate of their ‘savior.’ They deserve to know what Roman savagery is like.” (Note how Ruvy puts quotation marks around not just ‘Christians’ but ‘savior,’ calling into question both Phelps’s legitimacy as a Christian and Jesus’ status as our savior.)

    Honestly, how does all this invective advance your cause? When you denounce Pastor Phelps and his supporters as “idiots” and “lunatics,” and the ever-delicate Silas Kain (#13) blathers about how Phelps’s “conception was an abomination of God’s law–his was a misdirected session of sodomy,” you do nothing more than lower yourselves to the pastor’s level of discourse. And when Ruvy calls for the application of Roman savagery, he drags you all beneath the pastor’s lowest rants.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Phelps is the way he is because of a bizarre combination of drug abuse and Calvinism. He firmly believes that only he and a few others, and I really mean a few (like two or three), are going to be able to get into heaven.

    The rest are fucked, hence his behaviour towards 99% of humanity. We’re all, Canadians and Jews and fags, going to hell.

  • zing,

    Phelps’ gay-bashing – and his reprehensible behavior at the funerals of American soldiers disgusted me. And in comments several years ago here I said as much.

    If any of these shits any pulled any of this kind of crap in Israel – particularly dishonoring a soldier about to be buried – they would be beaten up until they were dead. And nobody would say a word to complain.

    Not too long ago, Phelps and his minions decided to take off publicly and go after Jews. It hadn’t been the first time, and had I known his attitudes previously, I would have said several years ago what I’m telling you now.

    Phelps and his followers deserve to be crucified. I mean that literally – nailed on a cross half naked so their bones will sag on the cross and slowly kill them while they die from exposure. They, of all “Christians”, deserve to experience first hand the alleged fate of their “savior”. They deserve to know what Roman savagery is like. They have placed themselves beyond the pale of civilized behavior.

  • There are plenty of decent Baptists. The douche bag ones are those who suffered oxygen deprivation during immersion. In the Phelps case however, his conception was an abomination of God’s law — his was a misdirected session of sodomy.

  • RJ

    “You clearly don’t spend much time with Baptists, RJ. But they are certainly marginally less reprehensible than many of your evangelicals and charismatics in this area.”

    I will readily admit that a significant percentage of Baptists probably have a strong dislike for homosexuals.

    But seriously. How many Baptists do you think support people who protest with “GOD HATES FAGS” and “GOD LOVES DEAD AMERICANS” at the funerals of Marines and soldiers?

    I’m thinking almost none.

  • zingzing

    oh, dave… not all baptists are bad. back when i lived in the south (and a few times when i lived in seattle), i used to regularly go to baptist churches to get down on some gospel music. thrilling stuff when they get going. of course, that was mostly black baptist churches, while the real humdinger retarded baptists seem to be of the white hew and in a southern locale. and while i wouldn’t bet on rj’s 99% figure, i wouldn’t go much further down than 90%. phelps is far too far out there, even for the most ridiculous baptist.

    ruvy–did phelps’ gay-bashing make you angry at all? (i’ve noticed it’s a subject you tend to keep your distance from…)

  • I’m fairly certain that 99% of mainstream Baptists find these kooks to be repellent.

    You clearly don’t spend much time with Baptists, RJ. But they are certainly marginally less reprehensible than many of your evangelicals and charismatics in this area.


  • Ruvy

    I don’t know about any of you folks out there, but I’m a Brooklyn boy. Definition? A Brooklyn boy is someone who understands clearly that a baseball bat’s uses do not end with hitting baseballs. Other spherical objects – like skulls – are also good for practicing that line drive.

    With his Jew-hatred, this putz Phelps has managed to piss off this Brooklyn boy.

    I don’t live in America anymore. If I still did, this putz Phelps would understand never to piss off a Brooklyn boy. He and the shitheads he calls “worshipers” are very lucky that I live a third of a world away from him….

    It’s so good to be alive….

  • And another thing. Rev. Phelps’ volatile reaction to homosexuality convinces me of ONE thing. Fred Phelps has more in common with Eric Massa, Larry Craig, David Dreier and Charlie Crist than not. Usually “God fearing” men who are this flammable are usually flamers. There. How’s that for exercising free speech? So, you fundamentalist cowards, which among you will come forth and sell your story to the national Enquirer? You know you’re out there!

  • Benjamin

    And RJ, to your point about yelling fire — really you’re going to split that hair?! You know what was meant, the phrase is road worn and weary.

  • Benjamin

    To RJ – good catch on insight vs. incite 5 in the morning brain, sorry. As to what do I expect other churches to do? Same thing I expect moderate musilms to do — condemn and speak out against this hate. The sad truth is that Phelp’s actions are tarring the good work done by many religious organizations by tying his protests to a church just like radical muslims are doing to the Islamic faith.

  • In addition, he makes Kansans (like me) look bad. I’m not cool with that.

    Freedom of speech is incredibly important to me. If we didn’t have it, I couldn’t do my job. But Phelps does more than just speak his mind, he protests. The first amendment reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” But as far as I can see, this allows people the right to petition the government. It’s so that we are allowed to voice our feelings in opposition of the government and make our voices heard. That has nothing to do with stomping on a family’s god given right to bury their son or daughter or whoever in peace. If shouting “fire” in a crowded theater isn’t protected by the first amendment, then Phelps shouting “god hates fags” at a funeral shouldn’t be protected either.

  • For the record, I detest Fred Phelps and almost everything he represents. In my opinion, he is using his “faith” as a mechanism toward a more sinister goal than he claims. However — he has the right to free speech. But in exercising his right, I believe it becomes incumbent upon him and his merry band of followers to be financially responsible should violence break out at a protest. Here’s a test case in point:

    A soldier dies in Iraq. His/her body is brought back for burial. The family has the right to bury their own with some modicum of dignity. Phelps and his group have the right to stage a protest but in doing so they must accept responsibility for their actions. They should pay for the extra law enforcement and in the event of violence, they should be responsible for all the costs associated with the same. Phelps and his followers have an infinite host of alternatives in expressing their protestations. If they choose to make a protest in public at a venue not of their liking then they should pay for every bloody cent of controlling it. And, if they cause physical or emotional harm to the survivors of OUR dead, they should be prepared to deal with the consequences.

  • RJ

    “you can’t insight a riot”

    Should be “incite.”

    Who edited this?

  • RJ

    “You can’t yell fire in a crowed [sic] room”

    Sure you can – as long as there really is a fire, or at least that you have a reasonable suspicion that there is a fire.

  • RJ

    “(HELLO! All you Baptists out there, are you paying attention to what a group is doing to your faith?!)”

    What, exactly, are mainstream Baptists supposed to do about it? They can’t silence them (First Amendment), nor can they force them to stop being – or at least calling themselves – “Baptists” (also First Amendment).

    I’m fairly certain that 99% of mainstream Baptists find these kooks to be repellent. Nobody that I’m aware of has embraced them. So what can be done?