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Archive for Thursday, October 5, 2006

Westboro protesters drop plans to picket

October 5, 2006

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— A Kansas church group that routinely pickets military funerals has dropped plans to demonstrate at funerals of five Amish girls fatally shot in an attack on their one-room schoolhouse.

Instead, members of the Westboro Baptist Church issued a statement Wednesday saying a representative will appear on a nationally syndicated radio talk show.

The Web site of show host Mike Gallagher indicated that the group was offered an hour of airtime this morning in exchange for dropping the planned demonstration.

In preparation for the demonstration, Gov. Ed Rendell said earlier Wednesday that he appealed to the Topeka, Kan.-based group to allow the Amish to conduct their funerals in privacy.

Members of the Westboro Baptist Church routinely picket military funerals, saying that American servicemen and women are dying overseas because God is displeased that the United States tolerates homosexuals.

In a statement on its Web site, the church blamed Rendell for the deaths of the Amish children because of comments he made about the Westboro group on national television several months ago.

"They're insane," Rendell responded when asked about the group's statement.

In June, Rendell signed legislation into Pennsylvania law designed to restrict Westboro Baptist Church's picketing by making it a crime to demonstrate within 500 feet of a funeral or memorial service in Pennsylvania.

State police will provide security at the girls' funerals to keep reporters, the public and any potential demonstrators at a "respectful distance" from mourners, said Kate Philips, Rendell's press secretary. The Federal Aviation Administration also will keep aircraft, such as media helicopters, at least 2 1/2 miles away, she said.

The state police may allow a single helicopter in the sky for pool television coverage, if the Amish approve, she said.

"We're trying to look at every possible precaution available with the ultimate goal of allowing these people to mourn as we would want to if this happened to our family," Philips said.

Troopers also will limit travel and parking near the funerals, she said.

Comments

Porter 8 years, 2 months ago

They didn't change their minds. Mike Gallagher was smart enough to buy them off. They get their exposure, and his ratings go through the roof.

The best part is that this Amish community won't have to deal with them.

I wish Fred would just get it over with and come on out of the closet...

staff04 8 years, 2 months ago

I would consider coming back to religion from atheism if the sky god would come and blast that bastard's church with a giant bolt of lightning.

roger_o_thornhill 8 years, 2 months ago

To stop those monsters 1-2-3, Here's a fresh new way that's trouble-free, It's got Paul Anka's guarantee... Guarantee void in Tennessee.

       Just don't look!  Just don't look!
       Just don't look!  Just don't look!
       Just don't look!  Just don't look!

trinity 8 years, 2 months ago

right on, Pywacket. that post said it all. thank you.

Confrontation 8 years, 2 months ago

For all the fools on here who claim that all Muslims must apologize for 9-11, why don't all the Christians apologize for Westboro Baptist Church? Oh, I forgot, you're Christian, so you're special.

geekin_topekan 8 years, 2 months ago

If they were a black group their compound would've been burned to the ground by police,citizens or zealots years ago.

acg 8 years, 2 months ago

I swear I think if I had read/seen that these freaks had gone to picket at these girls' funerals that my head would've exploded, so I guess it's a really good thing they changed their minds. I can't even imagine this, what the purpose or reasoning would be. I work in Topeka and I see these morons all the time and I want scream and hit people every time I do. I just don't get being so hateful and close minded.

galpal 8 years, 2 months ago

I wish somehow something could be organized so that money is pledged to a gay rights group everytime these lunatics picket. It may make them stop if they know that they are helping the very "fags" they are protesting against each time they picket. I saw on one news story, they were actually calling these poor gunned down children "whores".

I agree- Fred needs to come out of the closet and get it over with. These people are an embarrassment to Kansas and to the human race.

prioress 8 years, 2 months ago

I'm sorry--I simply cannot believe that allowing hate-filled nutjobs to bully and oppress grieving parents at funerals is what our country's founders intended when they spoke of freedom of speech. That is preposterous.

Sadly, you are wrong. If we can muzzle the Phelps family, others are not far behind. A point not often discussed in Washington these days: The Constitution applies to all of us, not just those with whom we agree.

prioress 8 years, 2 months ago

No decency no conscience whatsoever....Just even the thought of picketing the funerals is just sick.

I agree. It's also a good time to remember that Fred is not a Christian and doesn't represent the faith. The same can be said for the Islamic terrorists who have corrupted their own religion. Fred in the 'closet' is also priceless. His most 'normal' kid, the one who left decades ago, is gay.

Linda Endicott 8 years, 2 months ago

This is a new low, even for Phred. I can't believe they were actually going to picket the funerals of those poor little girls.

They are so sick.

bigun539 8 years, 2 months ago

I have seen this Phelps clan many times. When small children hold up very suggestive signs, it makes me want to vomit. They are the 'sick' ones. A small child should have no idea of all of this. I hope to God the kids do not know what they are holding up. I guess it takes all kinds of people to make up this world, but I wouldn't call the 'Phelps' clan people. They are way down the food chain, so to speak.

roger_o_thornhill 8 years, 2 months ago

Still, it is sad that there wasn't the same outrage when the Westboro folks were tormenting the families of gay folks.

willie_wildcat 8 years, 2 months ago

No decency no conscience whatsoever....Just even the thought of picketing the funerals is just sick. His daughter got on tv last night and said that they reason it happened was that their govenor made some remarks about the church. Karma cannot come around soon enough.

mom_of_three 8 years, 2 months ago

I don't believe the founding fathers had these protests in mind when they drafted the Constitution, bill of rights and the Declaration of Independence. Things were so different then.
No, you can't pick and choose who the Constitution applies to, but if the gentleman who wrote it knew what the country was going to do with it over 200 years later, I think there would be plenty of adjustments.

dthroat 8 years, 2 months ago

Confrontation - where did you get that on this thread?? The only reference I read about Muslims was the Islamic Terrorists who have sabatogated their religion. Maybe I missed it but I didn't see anyone bashing all Muslims.

And, while I might not apologize for Phred and his crew (I refused to call them a church) I certainly make sure people know that I don't consider them Christian.

Laura Watkins 8 years, 2 months ago

Posted by galpal (anonymous) on October 5, 2006 at 9:26 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I wish somehow something could be organized so that money is pledged to a gay rights group everytime these lunatics picket. It may make them stop if they know that they are helping the very "fags" they are protesting against each time they picket.

At the annual drag show at KU in Spring 2003, the GLBT group at KU arranged something where people could pledge to donate X amount of money for every minute Fred's group was there. They didn't stay too long after that and I don't think they showed up to protest to the drag shows after that...or they at least weren't there last year. I think it's a great idea.

Also, Fred Phelps was the first person to teach me the word "faggot". I was going to a concert at my church when I was pretty young and he was protesting because the singer was divorced...and therefore a whore.

laughingatallofu 8 years, 2 months ago

Maybe we should take a hint from the Amish:

"Judge not, lest ye be judged."

The best thing to do about Phred is to ignore him, as difficult as it might be for us to do.

laughingatallofu 8 years, 2 months ago

<<< Posted by staff04 (anonymous) on October 5, 2006 at 11:40 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I would consider coming back to religion from atheism if the sky god would come and blast that bastard's church with a giant bolt of lightning.

I suggest that there is more "religion" in you than you realize. Look up the definition of "Faith". Better yet, Google it.

roger_o_thornhill 8 years, 2 months ago

It is possible to IGNORE free speech without infringing on it.

Bone777 8 years, 2 months ago

I agree that the founding father's would be ashamed of the way people have used the constitution to hide behind.

I have no doubt, Ben Frankin would have belly bucked Fred right out of the street and Thomas Jefferson and his home girl would have laid boots to the rest of the bunch.

prioress 8 years, 2 months ago

sounds like a job for the aclu thats (sic) the kind of crap they do best defend the jerks and perverts ========= Unfair, untrue and off-base. ACLU sticks up for all, eventually.

Christine Pennewell Davis 8 years, 2 months ago

well they did not show up and we should all be thankful for those poor girls family. Still breaks my heart when I read or hear anything about this.

laughingatallofu 8 years, 2 months ago

Posted by macon47 (anonymous) on October 5, 2006 at 10:46 a.m. (Suggest removal)

sounds like a job for the aclu thats the kind of crap they do best defend the jerks and perverts <<<

Macon47,

I'm not a travel agent, but if you want, I'll be happy to look for flights for you to Afghanistan, Iraq, Nepal, Equatorial NewGuinea, Burma. They don't have an ACLU there, so you can live out your life blissfully. When do you want to leave? Let me know.

laughingatallofu 8 years, 2 months ago

75x55,

I believe that if you showed up at my house with a bullhorn at 3 am, you'd be arrested for "disturbing the peace". It doesn't matter whether you're cussing at me or singing me a lullaby. You can argue all you want, but you're still going to be found guilty of "disturbing the peace".

With the Amish--- they're entitled to their privacy (same as I am entitled to at 3 am). Free speech has nothing to do with it.

If the ACLU wants to argue that point, let 'em.

Bone777 8 years, 2 months ago

Why is everyone so serious. That is freakin' funny.

Ben Franklin belly buckin, and Thomas Jefferson and his home girl layin' the boots.

George Washington and Alexander Hamilton bare knucklin.

All the while saying," Free Speech my A$$, this is just plain wrong." BAM, WHAP, KABLOWEE!!!!!!!!!

prioress 8 years, 2 months ago

The ACLU will protect everyones right, as long as the person is not a Christian.

Also not true; look up their case history. Since "Christians" are a majority, they will likely have fewer cases than some other groups. The Constitution is designed to protect minorities, particularly unpopular ones. This accounts for some of the misunderstanding. Just one example: http://www.aclu.org/religion/discrim/26970prs20060929.html Another: http://www.aclu.org/religion/tencomm/16254res20050302.html

EvaTrujillo 8 years, 2 months ago

I think if the Phelps cult had showed up at the funerals, it would cement the belief that the Outside world is not an option for any Amish man, woman or child.

Here is a simple guide for teaching our young'uns about the cult of Phred: 1. Some people are bigots.
2. A bigot is someone who doesn't like you because of your hair color, or something else about you that's You. 3. Some bigots carry signs telling us what they are bigoted about - but some people who are bigots do not carry signs. Plan 4A If child can not read and does not know about same-gender relationships - These bigots carry signs that tell us that they don't like it when people play leap frog.
Plan 4B If child can read but does not know about same-gender relationships
These bigots carry signs that tell us they do not like it when women date only women instead of men, or when men date only men instead of women. Plan 4C If child can read and knows what homosexuality is - This cult doesn't like homosexual people.

BOE 8 years, 2 months ago

With Westboro protests now triggered by criticizing their church, Phred can mark his calendar "full", even though most of America has received his memo (to the "nth" degree):

"We, the Phelps/Westboro clan, lead pathetic and miserable lives and we won't stop behaving like collective and indivdual horse's a**'s, till everyone is fully aware of that fact.").

And now, Phelp's didn't even have to show up to get what he wanted/needed. It's been blasted across the media so that now, everyone is disgusted merely by his threat.

What a contrast it would be, though.

A religious sect that is humble, eschewing attention (much less limelight and fame), suffering a horrible tragedy with grace and dignity, opposed to one that eschews grace and dignity, to worship attention, limelight and fame.

The intention of the 1st Amedment was to protect unpopular speech. Majority, popular, or innocuous speech or even mildly offensive speech, very rarely needs protection.

If you start limiting speech, you'll eventually limit your own. History and experience make that an undeniable fact.

Since the Phelps clan would be one of the last entities on earth that I would give up or limit any Bill of Right's protections for, I most certainly refuse to _ willingly _ spite myself on their behalf.

jonas 8 years, 2 months ago

scenebooster: I think the problem is a general ability to differentiate between protecting someone's rights to hold and express religious viewpoints, and their lack of right to force those viewpoints into the public square. A good percentage of complaints that, anecdotaly, I've seen about ACLU targeting Christians are, I opine, the ACLU preventing Christians from trying to get or maintain a special privelage or majority advantage.

Tychoman 8 years, 2 months ago

WBC is evil, the leader's a loon, his descendants are nutcases. But they're never going away. Pity. I'm with you on the lightning bolt, staff04. I'd even take a meteor or even a strategically placed airline engine a la "Donnie Darko."

Let us count the ways we could be done with WBC...

Linda Endicott 8 years, 2 months ago

I don't know of any other individual or group that has stated a plan to protest at the funerals of innocent children and hold offensive signs.

Exactly how does limiting them to a distance of 500 feet violate their rights to free speech? They still have free speech, and spout their venom anyway. The news media is proof of this. Their voices haven't in any way been silenced, and so neither has their free speech.

They can still say whatever the hell they want to...just further away. I fail to understand why so many people think that it takes away their right to free speech to limit where they can stand to say it.

The same thing has been done concerning the White House and Congress, but nobody has suggested that anyone's right to free speech was violated by telling protestors that they couldn't state their opinions right outside their offices.

This was done as a matter of safety, and I don't see that this is any different. In fact, making Phred and his followers stay 500 feet away while they spew forth their venom is probably much safer for them.

And their free speech hasn't been stopped at all. They still say all that garbage, don't they? The media still reports about all that garbage, don't they?

EvaTrujillo 8 years, 2 months ago

Amoung our midst, we have the vile and repulsive PHred Cult. They bred and then they begat their philosophies to their offspring. We, the people of these United States can not stop their entitlement to free speech, but we can teach our young'uns about what bigotry is and how hurtful it is, while using the Phred cult as an example. Parents and legal guardians, as you are driving and the children are in the back seat, and then you see the bigots, use the simple explanation that was suggested above in an earlier post.

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