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Archive for Thursday, February 2, 2006

Phelps defends funeral protests

February 2, 2006

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— War widow Brandy Sacco wept and Patriot Guard Riders grimaced in disgust as the Rev. Fred Phelps told lawmakers Wednesday that he had a constitutional right to picket funerals of soldiers, carrying signs that say "Thank God for Dead Soldiers" and "Thank God for IEDs."

"States can't decide which religious message is right," Phelps said.

Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka have made headlines picketing funerals of soldiers nationwide. Phelps said the soldiers were being killed because God was angry at the United States' tolerance of homosexuality.

Kansas and other states, including Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska and West Virginia, are pursuing laws to keep demonstrators farther away from funerals because of Phelps' actions.

Sacco's husband, Sgt. Dominic Sacco, 32, was killed in Iraq in November. At his funeral in Topeka, Phelps and his followers demonstrated.

Phelps said the families of fallen soldiers had given up their rights to privacy because military personnel use the funerals to promote their policies, and politicians show up to get votes.

Brandy Sacco, a war widow, right, is comforted by supporters during the testimony of the Rev. Fred Phelps, left, Wednesday in Topeka. Phelps defended his right to picket the funeral of Brandy Sacco's husband, Sgt. Dominic Sacco.

Brandy Sacco, a war widow, right, is comforted by supporters during the testimony of the Rev. Fred Phelps, left, Wednesday in Topeka. Phelps defended his right to picket the funeral of Brandy Sacco's husband, Sgt. Dominic Sacco.

"These funerals have turned into public platforms," he said.

But others testified that the families should be allowed to mourn in private, away from Phelps and his placards.

"To me, they are nothing short of pornography," Brandy Sacco said of the signs.

Rep. Lee Tafanelli, R-Ozawkie, who recently returned from a year in Iraq where he commanded a Kansas National Guard battalion that had two soldiers killed, testified in support of the bill.

"This bill gives a family the right to some privacy during their darkest hour, to grieve, honor and pay their respects to their loved on. This is a right they have earned and that they deserve," he said.

He said freedom of speech doesn't allow people to "interfere, denigrate or harass families at funerals."

Phelps also demonstrated in October in Tonganoxie at the funeral of Lucas Frantz, a 22-year-old Army specialist killed in Iraq.

But community members installed a 10-foot high banner blocking the view of the memorial site from the demonstrators.

On Wednesday, Phelps told the Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee that it would be illegal to adopt a law that restricted his free speech.

"We can't be lawfully moved out of sight of our target audience," he said.

Richard Strothman, of Wichita, head of the Patriot Guard Riders, motorcyclists and military veterans who have traveled across the country to counter Phelps' presence at military funerals, also supported the bill.

Of Phelps, he said, "All I see that they are spreading is hate and harassment."

The bill would make it illegal to picket or have a protest march within 300 feet of any entrance to where a funeral service is being conducted. The restriction would apply one hour before to two hours after the service.

Rep. Kenny Wilk, R-Lansing, urged the committee to make the restrictive distance farther. "If we can make it five miles, let's do it," he said.

The committee took no action on the bill but is expected to work on it later.

Comments

Cait McKnelly 8 years, 10 months ago

"We can't be lawfully moved out of sight of our target audience," he said.

Tell that to GWB and his "Free Speech Zones".

Steve Jacob 8 years, 10 months ago

Really, it's to bad they finally made this law. How many gay funerials has he protested?

shanefivedyes 8 years, 10 months ago

Its amazing how some can tie the President to just about any story in the news today. Give us all a break!!!

DuQuesne 8 years, 10 months ago

This Phelps guy is an @sshat, plain and simple. How long before he incites somebody with a short fuse and an .06? -Schuyler DuQuesne

jayhawk2000 8 years, 10 months ago

I'm lost as to why Phelpsie was picketting a married soldier's funeral. He's not turned into some dove of peace that other members of the Christian church might remember from their Bibles, has he?

redbird 8 years, 10 months ago

Very good thought there Bh99....and anytime would not be soon enough.I cannot count the times that I had to restrain myself at their stupid protest....How can one just tell their kid to hold a sign and tell everyone going by that "They're going to hell!!!".....Let's see Fred and followers...just what was that verse in the Bible saying of the judging of others.....and yes I do think the states have the right to keep the SOB and his people away from funerals,that is the biggest degree of disrespect that I can think of,showing up at a funeral with that type of blithering protest!!!

Grundoon Luna 8 years, 10 months ago

Shane, the relationship to W is complete valid here. The president is chipping away at the constitution bit by bit. He was sworn to protect the consitution and has pretty much done the opposite.

If the Christians are correct about God as they understand him, Phred is in for big trouble when he meets his maker.

Bring back the "Phred Blew Me" bumper stickers!!

llmccorkill 8 years, 10 months ago

As much as I hate EVERYTHING Fred and Co. stand for, if we limit them, we also limit ourselves and then they've won. The Patriot Guard (or any other group) feels free to step between the protestors and mourners now, but what will this bill do to their right to assemble and pay their respects? If these soldiers died protecting freedom, it has to be everyone's freedom. That's the only way America works!

bankboy119 8 years, 10 months ago

I would like to interject that I doubt Fred would have anything to do with the ACLU since they are liberals. It should also be noted that all the ACLU has done is to take away our rights so they probably wouldn't be defending Fred even if he would accept their help.

sharron5rs 8 years, 10 months ago

How about calling the widow and telling her husband is in hell. I herd that one last night on the news... All the protesters and calls are harrassment. I just cant understand how they can call themselves christans and do these things. I feel so much for the familys who have lost their loved ones...... When old freddy kicks the bucket, I wonder how many protesters will be at his furneral?

neopolss 8 years, 10 months ago

He's been at this for years, and quite frankly, no one wants to waste a perfectly good bullet on him. Who would have thought there were any homophobes left? It's really sad that people can tout the advances of the nation in fighting gender and color discrimination, but are totally blind at seeing the discrimination towards sexual orientation. How can one NOT see it? They choose to write it off with some quick comment, and expect that to hold water.

bankboy119 8 years, 10 months ago

How can you condone destorying ones own body neo? There is a giant difference in saying it's not right to be black/white/yellow/green than it is to say it's not right to be an alcoholic and destroy your liver, it's not right to destroy your body by being gay. Just because some one is gay though doesn't mean they should not get a job or anything else.

redneckgirl 8 years, 10 months ago

I know we cannot pick & choose who can have freedom of speech and in restricting Phred, we restrict ourselves...he is repulsive..but I sure wish we could make him go away.......and he needs to read the Bible he is "preaching" about! God hates the sin, he does NOT hate the person. Get it right PHRED.

bankboy119 8 years, 10 months ago

I would also encourage you to take a look at this site that discusses a better point of view of Christianity towards homosexuality than trying to use Phelps as an example.

http://www.trueu.org/Academics/ProfsOffice/OfficeHours/A000000311.cfm

trinity 8 years, 10 months ago

phreddie sucks. period, plain&simple. and to the Patriot Guard folks? I LOVE YOU GUYS&GALS. i totally admire what you are doing, and especially the restraint it must take to not cap phreddie.

and for those of you who are talking about phred's time being nearly over, etc-you've got to realize he's got his kids indoctrinated too, and they are absolute zealot KOOKS. likely worse than phreddie ever is was or will be. so you honestly think it'll be over?? hah. think again.

make the legislation do whatever it takes; this @sshat needs to be at the very least limited in these hatespeech hateful displays.

craigers 8 years, 10 months ago

I have a feeling that this conversation might go south in a couple of hours and the comment count will be well over 100.

Redneckgal 8 years, 10 months ago

I agree with whoever said that if it was there families funeral that was protested ol' fred wouldn't live to tell the story. Thats the problem. Someday someone is gonna snap and we won't have to worry about freddy anymore but then whoever does the deed will be in a hell of a lot of trouble and thats not right. Better to stop it before it comes to that.

Sigmund 8 years, 10 months ago

There are a ton of restrictions on freedom of speech; no protests at Abortion Clinics, can't shout fire in a crowded theater, and you can't say hijack in an airport. There are restrictions on speech that is slander, libel or obscene. Companies can not make false advertising claims and churches can not promote particular canidates. In fact there is speech that is required by law (not free not to speak) like the Surgeon General Warning's.

Anyone who beleives there is some absolute right to freedom of speech is simply mistaken. Reasonable restrictions on protests at funerals will probably be a slam dunk constitutionally.

snoozey 8 years, 10 months ago

I am always surprised to find that Fred P is still among the living. His brand of egocentric malevolence is not so much an example of free speech but more an example of how tolerant our society has become of lunatics. I am sorry that you so called "free speech" advocates cannot see this, but protests at a funeral are obviously inappropriate under any circumstances to a civilized people. It is disgraceful and openly disrespectful to the dead and an affront to those in attendance.

Ceallach 8 years, 10 months ago

Who finances this guy anyway?

So now we can't enact any laws to protect funerals because of fear that the new laws MAY be used against us or our great-great-great-great -- well you get the picture. Laws are written and rewritten all the time. Phelps and others use that type of fear to continue their reign of terror. I believe he is truly a terrorist, what he does and attempts to do to others is nothing short of terrorism.

bankboy119 8 years, 10 months ago

Laws that are suppose to be used for our protection have been turned against the people by censoring them. Think of Voltaire when he quotes "I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." Obviously we all are not going to agree but that doesn't mean we should silence those with different opinions. As of now, it may be your "right" to get an abortion and murder your own child, and as Sigmund said those who disagree with that decision are not even allowed to voice their dissent. Yet you can protest outside of a jail for someone who is a convicted serial killer. That is a double standard.

Ember 8 years, 10 months ago

Jannie, the right to free speech is a wonderful thing, but there should, and are, limits on what can be said and where.

The Patriot Riders, for all of your apparent dislike of them, perform a very selfless act. They give grieving families the chance to consign their dead to the ground without being harrassed by an ignorant redneck like Phelps. If I had a motorcycle or were a vet, I'd gladly join them in giving these poor families a buffer against such hatred.

It saddens me more that you are unable to see the good that the Patriot Riders do. Not trying to change your mind, but they are not bullies. A great number of them served this country and now they are serving it again.

If I ever found one of the Riders at a gas station fueling up to go run interference for a family that Phelps was preparing to protest, I'd gladly by them that tank of gas. I'd even join them except that A.) I have a big temper on a short fuse and B.) I'd hate to impose on someone's funeral.

Ember 8 years, 10 months ago

What I think would be funny is if the homosexual groups in KC, Lawrence and Topeka got together and legally protested right outside his church.

Now THAT would be a sight to see and make it worth the effort to drive to Topeka.

Charla Welch 8 years, 10 months ago

Everyone keeps going on and on about freedom of speech, but don't the families have a right to mourn their loss? And to do so in privacy? I don't want anyone, phred or otherwise, to protest the funeral of someone I know and love. I don't want anyone using the death of my loved one to promote their own agenda.

weterica 8 years, 10 months ago

"As of now, it may be your "right" to get an abortion and murder your own child, and as Sigmund said those who disagree with that decision are not even allowed to voice their dissent."

I know! It is sickening how anti-abortion forces can't get their message out there! The persecution continues and continues.

I can't even think of one pro-life voice out there! I mean, yeah, the President and a couple two, three or four of Supreme Court justices, a gaggle of congressman or so. But jeez! If you can't scream "baby killer burn in hell" to someone's face it just isn't the same.

Ember 8 years, 10 months ago

Bankboy, yes it is disturbing that some censorship laws have been enacted, but the ones that are causing troubles are currently under review, and some have already been voided.

You alluded to an earlier comment about abotion clinic rallies. These people did not obey the rules. There are limits and rules that every protest has to conform to, regardless of who is leading the protest or what is being protested. Entrances and exits cannot be legally blocked. Protestors cannot legally interfere with people entering or exiting a building. Permits for demonstrations have clear and concise times during which the protest can be held.

If you cannot conform to the law, then you will be punished. Too many of the abortion rallies included violence in one form or another, and almost every single one included someone chaining themselves to the door, if not chaining the door shut completely.

No one has the right to intrude on someone's grief. Fred can say whatever he wants about homosexuality, however inbred those comments might be. Are you saying that these families don't have the right to at least a moment's peace while they are burying a loved one?

noise 8 years, 10 months ago

"People demand freedom of speech in compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use." --Kierkegaard

Soapdish 8 years, 10 months ago

I think that's where the biggest wrench makes it into the monkey works. Obviously we want privacy to mourn at funerals and loathe the idea that he could be there. The problem to me is that every time we pay attention to him, enact a law against him, scream at him, pay him any due, he is validated. It sucks but I guess I choose to ignore him because I choose not to embed hate into my daily lifestyle. Maybe it's a value he ought to check in to because I'm with some of the other posters, if there is something after this, his actions will speak volumes...

Ember 8 years, 10 months ago

Quoting Jannie - "The Patriot Guard is little more than a vigilante group regardless the numbers."

Quoting Dr. Suess - "Say what you mean and mean what you say."

Charla Welch 8 years, 10 months ago

Jannie- Did anyone here every say the Patriot Guard uses force? Have you ever seen them use force or violence? Have you even ever heard of them before today? Don't make assumptions.

Ember 8 years, 10 months ago

Show me violence, physical violence, that the Patriot Guard has done, and I will show you people that have broken the law and should be punished by the law.

Laws, when they are obeyed, are guidelines towards avoiding social anarchy within the system of a society.

The Patriot Riders are also not at these funerals to "defend war", as you put it, but instead to give these families the chance to bury their dead in relative peace, instead of the circus that Phelps would prefer to turn it into.

Again, I find myself repeating myself. I have no problems with Fred exercising his right to free speech. What he is doing is akin to yelling 'Fire!' in a crowded theater. That is not legal, but it is still in the grey areas of the Supreme Court ruling on just that exact concept. Banning protestors from being within a certain distance of a funeral is light years from being a detriment to free speech.

No is saying he can't picket. He just can't do it in their back pockets, so to speak. That is all this law would be about, pure and simple.

chzypoof1 8 years, 10 months ago

It amuses me when people like JBL say "Veteran status means zero to me", and then talk about the government "censoring" them. If it weren't for those veterans, you wouldn't have the simple luxury of posting on this forum. Without the soldiers, our country wouldn't be what it is. Go ahead and defend Phelps, that's fine. But don't even try to take it out on the soldiers that defend the freedoms that you do have!!!!

Charla Welch 8 years, 10 months ago

"Posted by wolfmn58 (anonymous) on February 2, 2006 at 7:03 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Freedom of speach my @ss! I am a member of the Patriot Guard, An I have seen with my own eyes how these so called protesters act and say at funerals. It is everything in my power to keep myself from walking over an kicking the sh*t out of these worthless people. If you want to call them people. As long as their are protesters the Patriot Guard will ride!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

If this is your idea of a "threat of force" you are sorely mistaken. This is one man, one individual who does not speak for the entire group, saying that he restrains himself from committing violence or using force.

Ember 8 years, 10 months ago

Jannie, I was simply pointing out that you had said one thing, then turned around and said something completely different within the space of an hour.

At 7:56, you posted "The Patriot Guard is little more than a vigilante group regardless the numbers" and at 8:34 you posted "I don't feel anything about yopu or your group".

That is why I posted the quote from Dr. Suess. Which statement, by you, is how you feel and which one is, for lack of a better term, a lie about how you feel?

And as for my "reading horizons", as you put it, I doubt you have read most of the volumes I have. Machiavelli's treatises was one of the more challenging, but that was because it was in the original Italian and that language has undergone quite a few syntax changes and connotation changes over the centuries. Plato, Socrates, Aristotle. The list goes on and on.

It's just sad that a quote from an author who wrote exclusively for children under the age of 8 was the most appropriate for your comments.

redmorgan 8 years, 10 months ago

It'll be a great day when that sick excuse for a human being dies. I plan on picketing his funeral with signs that say "God hates Fred Phelps" and "Fred Phelps is going to hell". I know if he and his inbred clan picketed the funeral of my husband or son, I would definitely be one to blow a fuse and put a quick end to his career. Hey, I'm a redhead...I've got a bad temper!

lovenhaight 8 years, 10 months ago

Picketing his funeral would be exactly what he would have wanted. I say someone steals the casket and parades it through the Castro in San Francisco!

Linda Aikins 8 years, 10 months ago

The Phelps-ites just want attention, and boy are they getting it here.

My girl friend (not girlfriend) and I walked arm-in-arm with hands on other's south cheeks through a Phelps picket line once. It was cool. They made a little chirping noise as we went through, so I kissed her. Again, cool.

Ember 8 years, 10 months ago

chuckling

I just have nothing to do this morning, tpatric. But that is a somewhat amusing link to insert in here.

Ember 8 years, 10 months ago

Fred dies, I wanna cover his headstone in gay pride stickers.

redmorgan 8 years, 10 months ago

I'll tell you what-that picture of Phelps just makes my skin crawl...his eyes look freaking demonic! He reminds me of that evil spirit from the old Poltergeist movie...the old quaker guy with the white hair!

aeroscout17 8 years, 10 months ago

JBL, you really need to talk about what you know, not what you think you know. A statement from one member of the Patriot Guard does not mean that is the action the organization will take. I myself would like to take care of Phelps, as would many others, but as a law-abiding citizen, I won't.

The Patriot Guard goes out of its way to disassociate itself from other angry groups that intend to harm those at the funerals. They are invited guests at the funerals and simply are there to support the families and block the view of demonstrators. Spend some time on the website and read the trip reports and other items in the forum. Better yet, go to a funeral where they are at and observe how the Guard conducts themselves.

Linda Aikins 8 years, 10 months ago

Yes Redmorgan - so true. It's always sad to me too that he has all those little kids there picketing with those bent-over figures on their signs.

redmorgan 8 years, 10 months ago

Agreed, Gootsie. Making those kids picket with them kind of adds a whole new definition to the word "dysfunctional".

Adrienne Sanders 8 years, 10 months ago

Redmorgan- that guy from Poltergeist is exactly what I thought about that pic.

Did y'all know that Phred also protested at the funerals of the miners in WV? http://www.therecorddelta.com/main.php?story_id=3924&page=23

I'd never heard of the Patriot Guard before then, but I applaud what they do.

redmorgan 8 years, 10 months ago

dulcinea47, really? My husband and I looked up some pictures of him on the internet about a month ago, and that was what immediately came to mind! My husband thought so, too. I used to have nightmares about that guy from Poltergeist when I was a kid!

Adrienne Sanders 8 years, 10 months ago

Heh, me too. I think that was the first scary movie I saw. Now I'm prob. going to have nightmares about Phelps. :/

staff04 8 years, 10 months ago

DuQuesne mentioned an .06 earlier...Phelps wears a bulletproof vest whenever he is out in public. I wonder why, if he is carrying out God's work, he needs a bullet-proof vest... I wonder why God wouldn't protect him...

Jamesaust 8 years, 10 months ago

"As much as I dislike Fred and his tactics, I don't see how this is anything more than yet another restriction on our 1A rights. It's not content neutral, which is problematic, and it defines zones in which people may not protest, which is again problematic."

(I don't mean to single this commenter out. This same expression occurs several times today.)

There is not a restriction of free speech rights but their EXECUTION. Fred does not have a right to deprive others of their rights. Here, the family wishes to exercise their rights to speech in the time and manner they decide. They do so in private and at an event Fred is not invited to. Fred in contrast seeks to deprive them of this. The first amendment is not satisfied by letting two groups drown each other out. One group has a prior, superior claim to the time and place. Fred can speak to his hearts content at the place but other times, or the same time but other places. This type of legislation allows everyone's speech rights to take effect. In short, Fred has no more right to protest your funeral than your neighbor has to play Wagner's 'Ride of the Valkyries' at 3 am at full volume next to your house. Time and place! (and maybe volume.)

The quote from Voltaire is nice but its RECIPROCAL. Our constitution guarantees everyone's rights, not just Fred's.

If you read the article carefully, you'll see Fred's legal tactic -- soliders funerals are not private because there's some connection to the government. And it is restriction of speech BY government that is the most problematic first amendment issue. None of that theory washes, however. A spouse, child, parent, friend, etc. of a military servicemember is not a "public person" or part of government. Nor is a funeral a "public platform." I've never attended a military funeral that was used by government as a means of public policy "promotion."

hottruckinmama 8 years, 10 months ago

as far as the bullet-proof vest-the man puts small kids-i think his grandkids? out in front of them with signs. he uses those little kids as little human shields. now i cannot understand why they couldn't get him for child endangerment at least.

RonBurgandy 8 years, 10 months ago

Uhem.

Mr. Phelps, You are not spreading God's word. You are spreading the devil's hate. Say what you want to justify it, it doesn't matter if you convice any of us. You are going against the word of God and you will have to face up to that. Enjoy your last few days, it's a shame you had to drag others into your ring on hatred.

Thanks, RonBurgandy.

staff04 8 years, 10 months ago

htm- Interesting tactic...

I have to say, as much as I detest the man, Jamesaust and others who acknowledge the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights are correct. The First Amendment wasn't written to protect the speech that is inoffensive, but rather specifically to protect the speech that many find MOST offensive...

jfgibson 8 years, 10 months ago

It angers me that the freedom of speech is the crutch that these protesters use to be able to say whatever they want, where ever they want to do it. There is such a thing as common decency. The people who are being buried at these funerals are the ones who have fought and protected all our freedom's to be able to have freedom of speech. If it wasn't for these armed forces and the ones who died before them we wouldn't have our freedom of speech protected. These are people who have given their LIVES for our country. Whether you agree with the war or not it takes a great person to be able to do that. I wonder how Fred would feel if we all went to protest at his son's funeral?

RonBurgandy 8 years, 10 months ago

I consider myself a person of high morals and, in such, wouldn't do anything to harm anyone, even Mr. Phelps here. By "last few days" I was referring to his age b/c he looks old. Does anyone know how old he is?

That said, it is a shame that these greiving people have to deal with a menace such as Mr. Phelps and co. As previously stated, w/o these soldiers, he wouldn't have the rights to do what he is doing today. He is just a sick, sick individual.

assistant1234 8 years, 10 months ago

Jamesaust - EXACTLY! Great post.

For the record, so-called "free speech zones" are a favorite tool of the left-wing radicals who currently run our universities. (Sorry libs, you can't blame W for this one.) For some all too numerous examples visit the web site of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education at http://www.thefire.org

jfgibson 8 years, 10 months ago

I agree with Kline. He is only doing this to gain publicity for his "causes". He was obviously raised as a selfish, tactless person. If he was a man true to his cause and someone who really wanted to change things he would be in Washington. (Just to state, I do not agree with anything that man has ever said.) I just read that he was at the funerals of the miners in WV. Is that right?

Confrontation 8 years, 10 months ago

He seriously looks like Satan in the article pic.

mom_of_three 8 years, 10 months ago

Phelps did go to West Virginia to picket, and someone from that state sent an editorial to the Wichita Eagle wanting to know why our state can't do anything about him or why we let him do what he does.

I would like to know how he affords all this time off from work -

I detest the man and everything he stands for. Someone did have a good question earlier, maybe on other question - You can keep people a safe distance away from the President, why can't a limit be set on funerals? How many times has he been arrested for trespassing?

mushfish 8 years, 10 months ago

This person(if you can call him that) doesn't deserve any mention in your newspaper, let alone the front page. LJW you should be ashamed!

Staci Dark Simpson 8 years, 10 months ago

I live in Tonganoxie where Phred picketed the funeral. I was on my way to the grocery store and drove by the VFW park where the fallen soldier's services were. I can honestly tell you it was disgusting to see this jerk and his bunch protesting. This may not go away after he dies. His whole "church" is like 95% his family members, yes those are his grandkids picketing. I must say I was impressed when the Patriot Guard came driving up. For those of you knocking them (namely JBL), how would you like Phred at your families funeral? Everything they did was honorable and I am proud of them for serving our country. I also thank them for being at the football game to block out the Phreds. Did you also know Phred picketed a Women of Faith convention I went to? I am not sure the purpose other than I believe it was satan in a cheap suit. Peace!!

lilchick 8 years, 10 months ago

The Patriot Guard is a blessing for those who are wanting to pay their respects without listening to others claiming that their loved ones died because the US is too accepting of homosexuality or who just don't like the war. They are simply a barrier between the service and protesters. For those of you who are wondering what their exact purpose is and don't want to do research on it, here is their mission statement:

Patriot Guard Riders Mission Statement

The Patriot Guard Riders is a diverse amalgamation of riders from across the nation. We have one thing in common besides motorcycles. We have an unwavering respect for those who risk their very lives for America's freedom and security. If you share this respect, please join us.

"We don't care what you ride, what your political views are, or whether you're a "hawk" or a "dove". It is not a requirement that you be a veteran. It doesn't matter where you're from or what your income is. You don't even have to ride. The only prerequisite is Respect.

Our main mission is to attend the funeral services of fallen American heroes as invited guests of the family. Each mission we undertake has two basic objectives.

  1. Show our sincere respect for our fallen heroes, their families, and their communities.

  2. Shield the mourning family and friends from interruptions created by any protestor or group of protestors.

We accomplish the latter through strictly legal and non-violent means."

mztrendy 8 years, 10 months ago

I don't think that @sshole knows what he's about. He picketed my uncle's funeral, who by the way, was a homosexual. It took everything in my dad's willpower not to go kick the crap out of that man. I will gladly go take the day off to picket his funeral. A bulletproof vest doesn't protect the head...

lilchick 8 years, 10 months ago

Main Entry: vigilante Pronunciation: "vi-j&-'lan-tE Function: noun Etymology: Spanish, watchman, guard, from vigilante vigilant, from Latin vigilant-, vigilans : a member of a volunteer committee organized to suppress and punish crime summarily (as when the processes of law appear inadequate); broadly : a self-appointed doer of justice - vigilantism /-'lan-"ti-z&m/ noun

Main Entry: militia Pronunciation: m&-'li-sh& Function: noun Etymology: Latin, military service, from milit-, miles 1 a : a part of the organized armed forces of a country liable to call only in emergency b : a body of citizens organized for military service 2 : the whole body of able-bodied male citizens declared by law as being subject to call to military service

How can you describe the Patriot Guard using either one of those words? They are not trying to supress or punish crime or joining ranks to fight. They simply pay their respects to fallen heroes and act as a buffer between protesters and the greiving families.

hawkbygod 8 years, 10 months ago

This is a valid time, place, and manner restriction of speech. The peoples' interest in providing a peaceful and dignified manner in which we can morn our losses outweighs the protester's need to be closer than 300 ft.

memoirs_of_a_sleepwalker 8 years, 10 months ago

"For the record, so-called 'free speech zones' are a favorite tool of the left-wing radicals who currently run our universities. (Sorry libs, you can't blame W for this one)."

Yes. And free-speech zones are also a favorite tool of the right-wing common people--refusing to think--who currently protest funerals in the name of God. What's your point, moron? How does educating the masses become worse than preaching hate? Brilliant.

redmorgan 8 years, 10 months ago

I don't consider Phelps to be part of the "right-wing"; he's part of the "pyscho-wing". Oh, and name-calling is a bit puerile, don't you think?

compmd 8 years, 10 months ago

Maybe i'm missing something, but don't cemeteries have private ownership in most cases? why don't families arrange with the owner that phred and his merry band of waclkjobs are not permitted on the property? arrest him for trespassing. I would like to see how well he handles a night in jail.

seriously, what is stopping anyone from doing this?

redmorgan 8 years, 10 months ago

I don't know this for a fact, but I believe they stand outside of the cemetery grounds on the sidewalk, ie public property. Anyone know?

christie 8 years, 10 months ago

This is such an easy thing to handle...

All cities have to do is require a permit to hold any type of demonstration. Require a 30 day notice. Since most funerals happen rather quickly, there would be no time for Phelps and his crowd to have the proper permit.

And/or... require a $10,000 deposit, with waivers. Keep the deposit as soon as any trouble starts... start some trouble... pretty soon at $10,000 a whack Phelps will be out of commission. Waive the deposit to anyone else, make Phelps pay cash.

lilchick 8 years, 10 months ago

Although I really want to agree with you christie, you can't charge just Phred's groups with the $10,000, he would have his lawyer kids all over it like stink on sh*t. And the cost of 10 grand would be too steep for smaller groups to pay. However, I do think the waiting period for permits is a great idea.

OfficeGirl 8 years, 10 months ago

The Patriot Guard sounds like a wonderful group. Bless them. Mr. Phelps is crazy and there are really no civil words to describe how he makes most of us feel. Yes, there is freedom of speech, but...he uses his freedom to harrass, to instigate and yes, like yelling "Fire!" in a theater, his speech could incite a riot. All of his evil idiocy spread in the name of Christianity. That is wrong and he will be punished some day. He's going to upset someone someday who will kill him. The bulletproof vest does not protect his head. There's a rumor that he's like this because he has a son in CA who wouldn't fit in with his group of picketers--walks to the beat of a different drummer.

CanadianPassport 8 years, 10 months ago

For the record, Phred also campaigned heavily for Al Gore before Gore became VP and the two parted ways. He is a big admirer of Sadam Hussein and Fidel Castro. I don't think calling him right wing really explains his behavior. Can't we be content to just label him insane? Read the Wikipedia page on him. It's fascinating. He is the most horrible person I have ever heard of or imagined. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rev._Fre...

Child abuser, professional @$$hole, racist, cheat, liar, extortionist ... it goes on and on. He abuses everyone around him. I think the solution to this man is clearly outside the law. God needs to expedite this man's exit from our world.

redmorgan 8 years, 10 months ago

Wow, thanks for the link. That was some pretty interesting stuff. Geez, this guy is NUTS! I bet he prances around his basement in womens' underwear...

moosejeffries 8 years, 10 months ago

fred almost got killed in new york . the police had ot run him out of town or face a riot

lunacydetector 8 years, 10 months ago

i remember years ago, phelps and his clan supposedly got a wedding confused for a gay guy's funeral up at k.u. he was protesting at someone's wedding! of course this made the news.

the thing i don't understand is why does he protest at a funeral when the person he is protesting is dead? heck, i think he even protested those poor miners who died - imagine the families - first they are told their loved ones are alive, believing it for hours, then they are told they are all dead except one, then at the funerals they get fred phelps and his group protesting.

....i understand the anti-war message of the democrats and all, but why does a small faction of democrats protest at a soldier's funeral? i wouldn't be surprised if phelps joins forces with cindy sheehan since phelps is a registered democrat.

hottruckinmama 8 years, 10 months ago

your right lunacydetector he is a registered democrat. i remember when he ran for govener a few years back. but i' m dang if i can figure it out. he seems pretty right wing to be a democrat to me. i think maybe they should be some kind of a political party of there own. like the nut party or something.

redmorgan 8 years, 10 months ago

I would be really interested to see him undergo some kind of legitimate psychiatric evaluation...I wonder if there's even a name for what's really wrong with this guy. It's obvious he needs to be on some kind of medication.

snakiller 8 years, 10 months ago

its too bad that he can promote such a stirring ...and the attention that is given to him only encourages him because people are interacting and he is becoming some bigger than life impossible target not to take down ..doing things such as marion has done ...i am wandering if the families that contract with the funeral home to take care of their loved ones...if you have the right to refuse some at the memorial ... and how much of the property they own ...so like any business, they have the right to refuse someone there ... i dont know, i am like billy jack ...when the ones who help create the law, can abide by the law, then i will. they would not be near my loved ones ceremony ...and further more...what makes him the monster and part of his charm is he has used the law and taken to his advantage which is no different than several others have done ...politicians included ...i mean look at all the hypocracies ...starting with our cheif of staff ...i dont know who is worse here ...simply dismiss the fanatic ..a stronger congregation can always win out ...and truth will always prevail ..refuse him in your perimeter ..those are your rights!

assistant1234 8 years, 10 months ago

memoirs_of_a_sleepwalker, maybe you should read all of the comments before you post your brainless venom. My point was to comment on an earlier post where a someone blamed the policy of "free speech zones" on the President. That comment was ridiculous, but it was topped by your blaming the "right-wing common people", whatever the heck that means. Why don't you visit the link I provided earlier and find out WHAT I am talking about before you start with name calling.

snakiller 8 years, 10 months ago

marion ...in case that was not clear ...things such as what you have done help stall out his tactics ...fight fire with fire ...thats it

aeroscout17 8 years, 10 months ago

If you really want to read an in-depth chronicle of Phelps and his family, check this site:

http://blank.org/addict/

neopolss 8 years, 10 months ago

Posted by eetsheetbeeches (anonymous) on February 2, 2006 at 10:12 a.m. (Suggest removal)

If Prairie Park can have demonstrations then so can Fred Phelps and co. Fred is widely known for filing lawsuits against people and I hope he does file suit against anyone who would say that he does not have the right to speak out. Don\'t you know he\'s reading this?

Some of the comments above are considered terroristic threats. Might want to chill out slightly.

=============================================

Bring it.

Speaking of Phelps, exorcism anyone? He truly is possessed.

Crispian Paul 8 years, 10 months ago

I work in Topeka and rarely a week goes by when Fred and his klan are NOT protesting something or another. Yes, he is an a$$hat. Yes, he will die soon. But, there are too many people that will continue this mission of hatred and fear after he is long gone. His family, the Davis family and the Hockenbarger families of Topeka all intermarried and are part of the founders of Westboro Baptist. They all have children and continue to raise more youngsters in this church. We need to look to ways to limit his scope. Limiting his free speech is a slippery slope, though. (As much as I would love to never have to see another God Hates Fags neon green poster).

Crispian Paul 8 years, 10 months ago

Also, Wikipedia has a pretty exhaustive run down of these families, the FBI watchdogs that view them as a cult, the fact that Fred is suspected of having something to do with the death of one of his son's first wife, c. Lots of great info on Fred's childhood, why he was a civil rights atty (for the record, they state that he believes that blacks have a right to an atty simply as the servants of white men), so on and so forth. Also, there is an awesome picture floating around on the net of two guys, one on each side of Fred, opening up their jackets to reveal "He's" and "Gay". MUAHAHAHA

Crispian Paul 8 years, 10 months ago

Saw someone posted the wikipedia long. AWESOME

tpatric 8 years, 10 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Linda Aikins 8 years, 10 months ago

That wikipedia article was frightening! I have know about this group for several years and did not know about all the abuse. How horribly sad.

Harry_Manback 8 years, 10 months ago

Phelps is an idiot and a very cruel man. However, it is his free speech right to say what he wants, no matter how disgusting it may be to others. If we were to limit his ability to protest, we would also limit legitimate protests as well. He makes us question our morals, and I certainly hope most people realize how crazy he is, which is kind of a good thing.

Charles L Bloss Jr 8 years, 10 months ago

Thank God for the Patriot Guard! Thank you, Lynn

Broderick 8 years, 10 months ago

One comment in the Wikipedia article really stood out for me. It refers to Phelps as being "addicted to hate." I can't think of a better description of this man's life. It is the only thing he has left. If you can imagine a life completely devoid of love, this guy lives it. His hatred towards others has done nothing but corrode his own heart.

I would also submit that for all of his venom, there is no one on earth that Fred hates more than himself. While I don't think he's going to hell (sorry folks, no such place), he has squandered his entire life, which is all any of us get. Yes, his church and his kids will continue on, but without him, Westboro Baptist will soon collapse like the villain's hideout in a Hollywood movie.

Linda Endicott 8 years, 10 months ago

How close can you get to the White House to protest? Congress? The Pentagon? Not very close...there are restrictions because of safety reasons, and the possibility of a riot starting, and if those laws are there to protect our president, congress, and military, why shouldn't we be able to have the same protections? If Phred went to Washington to protest Bush, how close would he be allowed to get? And if he tried to file a lawsuit saying his "rights" had been violated, how far do you think he'd get?

I don't think it's unreasonable at all to limit how close to an event you can be in order to protest. And I don't think it violates anyone's right to free speech. You can still say whatever you want. You just shouldn't be able to do it right in the other bugger's ear. That smacks of harassment to me.

Oh, Phred's message will get across...it already has...but you don't have to be right up someone's a@@ to get your message across. As long as there are TV and radio stations, newspapers, and 24 hour cable news networks, Phred's protests will get heard, regardless of where he holds them...

Cindy Sheehan didn't even get into the state of the union address...but she got her point across anyway, didn't she? How many cable news networks has it been on already?

What if Phred found out that a family member of yours was gay, and stood in the street in front of their house with one of their little protests? Would you just consider that free speech, and his right, or would you consider it harassment?

Linda Endicott 8 years, 10 months ago

Also, I don't suppose somebody showing up at a military funeral with a "support our troops" shirt would be considered a "protestor", would they? This proposed law is about protestors, isn't it?

Shardwurm 8 years, 10 months ago

I'm for this law as long as they can repeal it within 24 hours of Phelps' death so his family can get some of what they've given.

Linda Endicott 8 years, 10 months ago

And if you had a family member that was gay, jannie, would it just be okey-dokey to you for Phred to stand in the street outside their house and protest 24 hours a day, and make any kind of vulgar comment that they want to?

mom_of_three 8 years, 10 months ago

Kake news in Wichita spoke to the guy recently. There is a written article or you can watch the video.

http://www.kake.com/home/headlines/2252792.html

Linda Endicott 8 years, 10 months ago

Well, Phred's not in your country...he's in the USA, and he has to comply with the laws here...

cybermaiden 8 years, 10 months ago

This is an interesting article about Phelps:

What I found most surprising is his allegiance to Saddam Hussein. Weird...

Linda Endicott 8 years, 10 months ago

I read the whole article, and it was just simply bizarre...this man needs to be hospitalized forever...he's definitely a danger to himself and others.

qtown14 8 years, 10 months ago

Phelps, seems to me, to be a publicity hungry fool who will do anything morally wrong to be in the spot light. So what if someone is homosexual!? It's their right to live as they wish! Protesting at a funeral of a fallen soldier!?!? A family is mourning their loved one and all Phelps can think about is protesting homosexuality?!?!What the heck good does that do? If you ask me he just lacks a large amount of common sense and respect towards others.

qtown14 8 years, 10 months ago

My beef is protesting at a funeral regardless of who is being buried. He's just a local idiot.

Kathleen Christian 8 years, 10 months ago

Phelps is one of those people that give Christianity a bad rep. He is an embarrassment to Christianity. Jesus may have lost his cool in the market place near the temple but he didn't insight followers to gather a contant protest. Jesus did His protesting in a quite manner and out of love. Phelps is accomplishing nothing but breeding more hate and violance in our society. God says we have a free choice to choose wheather to live in a Godly manner or to live in sin. I do not think another human being has the right to FORCE that choice upon us (excluding necessary laws of society, of course), but this is what Phelps is trying to do. He must have a God complex and think he is one. Personally, I don't like him, but I'll pray for his misguided soul. What he did to that poor woman's husband's funeral was obscene. I lost someone in the Viet Nam war - to me all soldiers are heros.

WarandPeace 8 years, 10 months ago

JBL, as a member of the Patriot Guard myself and several others attended the funeral service of a young PFC that was killed by a roadside bomb, protesters where there, but they didn't come out until almost the end when most of the Guard had left. They are in essence pretty cowardly protesters. Let me tell you a few things you don't seem to be able to realize.

A) As a combat vet I can tell you that NO soldier loves or likes war. War, for any reason is never a good thing. I have held dying friends in my arms so you can have the freedom to post as you wish in this country. I would think you would show a little more appreciation than you do for the freedoms you contend to have. They were not just granted you at birth, people fought and died to uphold those freedoms never forget that.

B) you call us Patriot Guard Riders a milita. I believe a milita is an armed group. Nobody in the PGR shows up to any of these events armed I can say that for a fact. It goes against everything we are trying to accomplish.

C) any comments made at these events by PGR members that even closely resemble a threat is made in response to threats thrown at us. I promise you this, As a PGR member no matter how vile the insults and comment thrown at me are I will never act out in violence. I will however act in self defense should someone try and use violence against me.

D) if you have no experience first hand with either the protesters of Mr. Phelps, or, first hand experience with the PGR, how informed are you really? Anything you get will be second hand and with whatever political slant the person handing it out has. I would invite you to go along sometime with the PGR, and see what it is exactly that they do. I would invite you to see the grieving families, and what impact the protesters have on them. Then, and only then will you get the full emotional impact on what it is that the PGR is doing and why. Until then, your just spewing uninformed garbage at the wind.

And lastly, my two purple hearts say your welcome for your freedoms, even if you don't see it that way.

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