Wednesday, June 14, 2006

When "God Hates Fags" comes to town: My night with the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas



I reported yesterday about Shirley Phelps Roper, spokeswoman for the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas and the notorious "God Hates Fags" website, coming to our studio later in the evening to talk about her group's demonstrating at the Southern Baptist Convention going on in Greensboro. They're especially miffed at a ten-foot statue of evangelist Billy Graham that was unveiled during this year's conference. Well, Phelps Roper was scheduled to be live in the studio between about 7 and 9 P.M. About quarter past six we got word that she was en route to the studio... along with several other members of Westboro Baptist (who happen to be members of her family) who were being given a police escort on the highway. ETA was going to be sometime after 7. Shortly before 7 two protestors arrived, one of whom had a small sign saying "God is love". By this point we had a camera set up on the sidewalk outside the studio and we got a few minutes live footage of them making their presence known.

About 7:15 the caravan (2, maybe 3 SUVs) arrived at the studio and parked along the curb. We immediately heard some of them say that they weren't expecting counter-protestors to be present.

Shirley Phelps Roper had arrived, bringing with her about 10-15 other Westboro members who disembarked their vehicles...

...and immediately began engaging the protestors who were already there...

The Westboro Baptist people then went inside the studio and Shirley Phelps Roper (in red shirt) talked with host Mark Childrey before the show began, as members of her family began whipping out the signs for which they have gained so much notoriety...



This kid looked to be no more than 5 years old. He's looking through a bag containing several of the "God hates..." signs:

I can only say that the mood among the Westboro Baptist gang was nothing short of jovial. They seemed outright happy to have been there. I've never seen anything like it before: I mean, here were these people with these signs saying some downright horrible things, and I didn't see them stop smiling at all. You know, the guys who ran the gas chambers at Bergen-Belsen didn't even really think about what it was they were doing: they just pumped in the Zyklon-B, cycled out the bad air, then went home and had dinner and played with their children. More often than not being "happy" with their work didn't really register with them. And here were people who couldn't be happier showing the world how much they hated other people. It was just... mind-boggling to see, being one with a history background. But anyway...

While Phelps Roper was getting started inside the studio with Mark, the rest of her entourage took to the sidewalk outside the studio to do their "protest". I'll let the pictures speak for themselves...




While they were out on the street waving their signs around, the Westboro mob was singing some absolutely blasphemous song... no, not "parodies". A parody is something funny. There was nothing funny at all about what was coming out of their mouths. Song mockeries like "God Hates America" and "America the Burning", replete with all kinds of lyrics about "fags" and thanking God for dead soldiers. To me, personally, hearing such classic songs like "America the Beautiful" filked like this by these heartless bastitches was the worst thing they did that night. It was enough to make me dream of seeing them beaten to a pulp by a mob of Ray Stevens fans.

And no I'm not caring right now whether this is the most objective report I can file or not. But I'm not going to let these people win some kind of victory over me either. I'm posting this because I believe in the school of thought that Mel Brooks practices when he attacks Hitler: the best way to destroy someone is to make others laugh at them. And the Westboro Baptist Church is a pretty laughable bunch. If they hadn't been doing this for fifteen years already (and if they really weren't so deadly serious about hating other people) they might be mistaken for shoddy satire. They're pathetic is what they are: running around the country with God only knows what kind of funding they have to manage on, going to the slightest little event that insults their petty sensibilities, and proceeding to act like clowns waving stupid signs around.

Speaking of which, look at those signs: with a change of wording they would look like protestors in support of Rastafarianism. "Want you some ganja, mon?"

Okay, back to last night...


The "Billy" here is a reference to Rev. Billy Graham. Yah, I never thought I'd live to see the day either: someone in the middle of Reidsville, North Carolina waving an anti-Billy Graham sign...

Desecration of the American flag is something big with these people, apparently...


Meanwhile, inside the studio the interview with Shirley Phelps Roper was well underway...


The counter-protestors were busy, well, counter-protesting...

The Westboro Baptist Church was starting to be an impediment to pedestrian traffic...

And Reidsville's finest were starting to take increasing note of the shenanigans...

Shortly before 8 P.M., more Reidsville Police officers than I've ever seen congregate in one place descended on the scene (I'd say four or five, maybe more than that, police vehicles parked on the street) and approached the Westboro Baptist protestors. The Chief of Police informed the Westboro Baptist gang that (a) they were blocking the sidewalk and (b) the signs they were waving were too big. In short, they couldn't be demonstrating outside the studio as they were...



At this point Shirley Phelps Roper left the interview and discussed the situation with the officers. It was agreed that her group would leave the sidewalk and come inside, where they sat inside the station and sit in another studio while the interview went on. After the situation had been brought under control, the Reidsville Police left, amid cheering from the counter-protestors...




And the interview went on. It was now sometime past 8 o'clock...

It was sometime after this that came my only direct interaction with Shirley Phelps Roper (or anyone else from Westboro Baptist Church for that matter) of the evening. The rest of her group had left the studio when I wasn't looking and during a commercial break I asked someone if they knew where they had gone to. Phelps Roper snapped at me "Why do you want to know where they've gone to?" I told her that I'd wondered if they had gone out to dinner, that there were several good places to eat in the surrounding area, "that's all". It was the tone she used toward me that I wanted to make note of: she really did come across as someone very paranoid. Anyway, that's the first and probably last time that I'll have any interaction with someone from the Westboro Baptist Church, so I might as well mention that.

Here's the side studio after the other members of the church had left (and it turns out they did go out to grab a bite to eat) with the signs they left behind...

It wasn't long after the break that Johnny Roberson, a local minister who had debated the Phelps family the last time they were in the area, was brought out and another debate ensued between Phelps Roper and Roberson. It was during the next commercial break that I really took notice of the profanity that Shirley Phelps Roper seems inclined (and even proud of) toward using, when she referred to Roberson as an "asswipe"...

So much else I could report on, like the heated argument that broke out among the Westboro Baptist group and another person in the lobby area during the interview. But as it was, it was now going toward 9 o'clock and I'd decided that I'd seen enough, so I punched out and headed for home.

That is what happened when the Westboro Baptist Church came to town. Coming into contact with these people is not something that I enjoyed in the slightest bit. There is nothing Christian at all about the Westboro Baptist Church: they are so fixated on God's justice that they have no concept at all about God's grace. I would even say that their idea of His justice is warped beyond measure. If anything good has come of their hate-driven activities, it escapes my mind: "by their fruits shall ye know them", we are told. Well, the fruit of Westboro Baptist reeks of rot and is crawling with maggots. The most uplifting thing they could do to further the Kingdom of Heaven would be to just go away... far away! The farther the better. And maybe I'm doing the wrong thing anyway by reporting on these loons.

But, God has called me to be a writer, and to be a witness for Him. Who knows: maybe I'll do more for Him by writing about all this than the Westboro Baptist miscreants ever will.

20 comments:

Mattias A. Caro said...

Well, thanks for taking this on. It seems that they've now gotten enough air time to show that they are completely crazy.

Ron Hudson said...

Very well written. I am interesting that you used "by their fruits you will know them". In a film interview a couple of years ago, I used the same quote, not quite verbatim as it has been decades since I have been a religious man, but homophobia in the church brought out the inner Christian in me. I do agree, though. This is not the love of God as I see it. It is something twisted and sick.

adam said...

wow. un-stinkin-believable. that's just sad. thanks for giving me the heads up about your site...

Kevin Bussey said...

Wow! They never stop. I found your site through Adam's. I was the one interviewing her in Greensboro! They are misguided!

Gateway Pundit said...

Great job! It would be hard to be around that demon lady. What she does with her children is a crime.

Theo Boehm said...

Interesting piece. Those idiots showed up in our little Boston 'burb to demonstrate as a result of a gay rights kerfluffle at a local school, so I got a chance to see them up close and personal. We did our best to ignore them, and they eventually went away. Not before the town had to spend money on police overtime, of course. They left sooner than expected, probably because they couldn't afford to stay around here, and the local Whole Foods doesn't carry pork rinds.

Anonymous said...

I live in Kansas and have been personaaly graced with Reverend Fred Phelps presence on a number of occasions. The last time was at the University of Kansas where he told me my mother should be proud of me and my pierced tongue. I laughed and asked him if he thought that was an insult. He stood against a crowd of college students making fun of him and called them all sinners. It was pretty fascinating. I wondered what gay guy died to bring him to the school...

Timsgal said...

As a born-again Baptist, I'm embarrassed that these people belong to the Baptist denomination. I recently saw Ms. Phelps-Roper and two of her daughters (who are just as hate-filled) on Tyra Banks' daytime talk show. I could not believe how angry these people are! How can someone call themself a child of God, yet, instead of trying to compassionately win souls for Christ, tell everyone God hates them? Who wants to believe in a God who only hates and punishes and does not show grace? "But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ ... For by GRACE are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God; Not of works, lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2:4,5,8,9)

I absolutely love the following passage, and wish Ms. Phelps-Roper would apply it to her life:
"Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of EDIFYING, that it may minister GRACE unto the hearers. ... Let all BITTERNESS, and WRATH, and ANGER, and CLAMOR, and EVIL SPEAKING, be put away from you, with all malice; and BE YE KIND one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. ... And walk in LOVE, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor." (Ephesians 4:29-32; 5:2)

Christians are supposed to shine as lights in the world, and have good testimonies. All that is remembered of this church is their hateful judgements on others. Such a shame that they have given born-again Christians a bad name. It's an even greater shame that there are people who will not receive Christ because of this church.

Jamie said...

I just do not understand how these people can say they are christians....i just wish someone would point out the whole part in the bible of "judge not lest ye be judged"...i guess their "version" of the Bible left that part out...also, one thing that makes me upset is the whole thing with them stepping on the flag and saying God hates the USA and God hates soldiers....do they not understand that those soldiers who are dying are the ones who fought to give them the right to stand out there and look like idiots????As far as i'm concerned, if you don't like america, get the heck out! GOD HATES NO ONE, GOD IS LOVE!!!

Anonymous said...

Apparently, some people only have enough religion to hate but not enough religion to love. Criminy, I'm agnostic but hell, even I'VE got more love and appreciation of others and their differences than those idiots ever would or even know how to. Why those brainless
turds would rather believe in a god that hates everyone else for whatever reason instead of loving them is just beyond me. Besides (and no offense meant to Christians in general), they don't know the first thing about whether or not any gods exist, let alone how those gods feel about anybody. They only know what they choose to believe,
which of course doesn't mean that it's the truth.

But you know what the worst part of it is? They're brainwashing their children with all that crap! If you're an adult who wants to believe it fine, but don't warp your kids minds while they're still impressionable and unable to decide for themselves what or how they should feel about others. No kids deserve that kind of mental abuse, which is what it is. Those people are in need of some SERIOUS lobotomies big time!

Anonymous said...

You gotta give it to these cretins though; at least they don't cut off heads and blow up buildings like some of their Muslim colleagues do. As someone who does not believe in god one way or another, I can’t say that I find them worse than any other religious extremist, but of course given a chance I’d love to slap them around for a few minutes.

Tom said...

They are deceived, and they are following a man, not Christ(a common problem in Churchianity). I would only ask, Why give them the time of day? Continue to show the love of Christ to all you meet; Christ has the wrath of God in reserve for all who hate Him. When Christ talked of the broad gate and way to destruction, vs the narrow way and strait gate to eternal life, this was not just a comparison of lost vs saved, but a statement about those who claimed to follow Christ. They are decieved, as THE MAJORITY of supposed Christians are. They know church. They follow the Pastor/Deacon/Elder/Priest/Pope/Church/etc...untildoomsday, and learn a lot about Christ, but they are never saved. They are too tightly wound around their own ideas. Forget these jerks....Do you really know Christ?

Anonymous said...

very well written. i've never been to your site before but i'd be glad to coma again. it makes me sad to think that some people believe that there are sins that god cannot wash away. everyone has the chance to repent and this biggotry only makes respectable christians look like outcasts god bless you and everyone like you for your unbiased and true words

Timsgal said...

What I forgot to mention in my earlier post is that this church (Westboro Baptist) is very small and is comprised mainly of family members (the Phelps family). It really is more of a cult than anything. Unfortunately, they're a small group with very big mouths. I was going to e-mail Ms. Phelps-Roper, but I read other letters posted on their website. She is a brash and vulgar woman and her oldest daughter is just as bad, if not worse. I don't want to be caught up in all of that mess.

A sad fact is that none of them give a testimony of when or how they accepted Christ as their Savior. They just think that God hand-picked a few people and decided that they alone would go to Heaven. So, if what they're saying is true, Christ died on the cross for nothing and His shed blood is worthless. Also, even though I accepted Christ nearly 29 years ago, according to them I'm going to Hell because I've been divorced and remarried.

Maybe if these people are ignored, they'll just go away. People like them thrive on negativity. And, even though they use the word "Baptist", that doesn't mean anything. Don't judge a book by its cover. 99.9% of Baptists don't share their beliefs. Who knows ... maybe Satan's using them to deter people away from God and His true gospel.

Anonymous said...

Why would anyone in their right mind read, or care about, what these people think, say or do? When Armagedon comes,( And it will ) God will take all the non believers and forgive them.Why? Because He is the light, the life and the love we all need. Paul

Ricardo said...

patethic and ridiculous are all homofobics!! beeing gay is not a problem. the problem is the retarded society living in the stone age!

Anonymous said...

Interestingly, I saw these people on televisiion recently in Sydney on a documentary put on by the BBC. Fred Phelps stated that Billy Graham was headed for hell. The church members seemed to thrive on opposition. If they had no food to eat and were reduced to beggars, I'm sure they would quite happily receive a sandwich or two from a fag or two. Incidentally, homosexuality was not the only sin that brought on the destruction of the twin cities of Sodom and Gommorah. All kinds of iniquity abounded in these cities. Further, they were not destroyed because of sodomy alone. They were destroyed because there were less that 10 righteous souls remaining. Americans must be very tolerent people. These people would not last two minutes in Australia. When Australians vent their anger they do it in style. No such church would last very long in Australia. Where I must agree with them though, is that Sodomy is one of the iniquities that is contributing to the demise of Australia and America although it is small by comparison with the depraved sins that are practiced here now. Witchcraft and violence of all kinds, cruelty to animals of the most unbelievable kind, corruption that defies logic and religious apostacy that is impossible to fathom. As pathetic as these demonstrators are, they do at least highlight some of the way some of us feel about fags who are in fact rotten through and through.

lucas S said...

FUCK U GUYS D-BAGS GO TO HELL

PS FUCK MR.BITNER OLD WHORE AND TIME OR TINA WOLF

Michelle's Spell said...

These are some truly scary pictures! Thanks for posting this insightful article. I don't know what in the world these nuts get out of such bizarre and creepy antics, but I feel terrible for the people they hurt and the children they raise.

Marty said...

I can only hope that since their going to protest at Combat Veterans Funerals, with those goofy grins on their faces, and desecrate the American Flag that Good Men and Women died for, and are still dieing for right now, that sooner, rather than later, someone uses a full auto weapon to wipe those smiles off all their faces for good. I'd pay to see that! I wonder if you'd get sucked down to Hell like the suction when a ship sinks at sea if you were standing too close? They'll be knocking the bottom out of Hell soon enough, either way!