Archive for Friday, April 20, 2007

Phelps’ church plans to interrupt funerals

April 20, 2007


— A fringe church that has garnered attention and scorn for protesting funerals of troops killed in Iraq is planning to picket services for the victims of the Virginia Tech shootings.

Members of the Westboro Baptist Church have disrupted funerals across the country over the past few years with profane signs saying that deaths in Iraq are retribution triggered by America's tolerance of homosexuals.

A church news release explains: "God is punishing America for her sodomite sins. The 33 massacred at Virginia Tech died for America's sins against WBC (Westboro Baptist Church). Just as U.S. soldiers dying in Iraq each day for America's sins against WBC."

Virginia Attorney General Bob McDonnell is warning protesters that they could be arrested if they interrupt the funerals. McDonnell's spokesman sent an e-mail detailing the section of the Virginia Code that can be used to quell disturbances at funerals. The state code states that a person can be charged with disorderly conduct for willfully disrupting any funeral or memorial service.

Fred Phelps and his congregation at the church in Topeka, Kan., travel the country preaching damnation to a "nation of sinners," routinely glorying in the death of U.S soldiers.


Ragingbear 11 years ago

Hmm. Somehow I think that WBC members are going to get BADLY hurt for this one.

jonas 11 years ago

Lordy, lordy. Even they have to know how much of a reach this is. Because there was certainly NO DEATH OR VIOLENCE EVER! before America's "embrace" of homosexuality. (coughcough)

They just want to get attacked so they can sue somebody.

kshiker 11 years ago

These people disgust me to the core. How can someone be this sick to further complicate the grief of these families? It makes me absolutely sick that these people are allowed to hide behind the 1st Amendment.

willie_wildcat 11 years ago

These folks in VA suffered such a tragedy and that sorry excuse for a human has the odacity to show up at these funerals?!?!? Why am I not surprised by this. I agree with Raging bear and I think this will not be very pretty for freddy.

trinity 11 years ago

my heart just is crying over this. the patriot guard will be REAL interested in this one, i'm sure.

what a sorry bunch of losers phreddie&crew are. i speculate that the pearly gates are gonna be slammed shut in his face AND his minions, when his own judgement day arrives.

porkchop 11 years ago

"Somehow I think that WBC members are going to get BADLY hurt for this one."

"This will be the end of the Phelps' sickness."

"...the civil courts, however, could bankrupt 'em if enough rulings went against them."

As much as I'd like to believe these sentiments, there's no freaking way.

First, how is this planned protest different from anything they've done before? If these people succeed in disgusting and revolting the American public, then, in their own eyes, they've succeeded.

Second, on what basis would you bring a civil suit? "Your honor, these people are indecent bastards. I should get some money." Contrary to media distortion, this isn't (except for very rare exceptions, and mostly in California) how civil courts work. WBC members are well schooled to behave themselves at all times in the public eye. Further, most of them are lawyers anyway--not very good ones, from the perspective of serving their clients well, but VERY good from the perspective of generally abusing the system, tying up the courts, and filing countersuits until all but the most dedicated (and wealthy) simply give up on the matter.

My prediction: WBC comes out stronger than ever, when measured by their own standards. And they obviously don't care about society's standards.

Emily Hadley 11 years ago

I hope they all spend some time in jail in the Commonwealth.

Confrontation 11 years ago

It's interesting to see how many posters on this site bash homosexuals, and then they complain about Phelps. Deep down inside, you know that most homophobes approve of Phelps and his tactics. You'll deny it here, but you are just as bad as he is.

ASBESTOS 11 years ago

"The 33 massacred at Virginia Tech died for America's sins against WBC (Westboro Baptist Church). "

Uh-OH! The only "sin" that can be acted on by any church affiliated as Christian is "sins against God".

Westboro Baptist really unzipped their fly on that one. They put the "sins aginst Westboro as "blasphemous???? And they want us to take them seriously????

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years ago

A church news release explains: "God is punishing America for her sodomite sins. The 33 massacred at Virginia Tech died for America's sins against WBC (Westboro Baptist Church). Just as U.S. soldiers dying in Iraq each day for America's sins against WBC."

Admittedly, I'm no expert on how "sin" works in Christian doctrine, but is it possible that any of this is sins against WBC, specifically? Is this a new twist on "sin" from WBC?

On the other hand, I do recall hearing the term "sins against the Church" being used in various inquisitions within the Catholic Church.

Linda Endicott 11 years ago

I thought as well that there were only "sins" against God?

Do the members of WBC officially consider themselves God now?

MyName 11 years ago

Okay, VA already has a law on the books against picketing funerals, and the bottom line is that as soon as the Phelps show up to picket they're going to be arrested. Whether the conviction gets overturned on appeal or not, I don't see it unfolding any differently. Not only that, but now matter how many lawsuits they try to pull out of their butts, they aren't going to come close to bankrupting anybody, and even if the whole thing gets overturned due to constitutional requirements, VA could just pass another law the next year that is slightly different and arrest the Phelps the next time they try to pull this stuff.

VA has one thing that Kansas and other midwest states don't: the Phelps will have to travel halfway across the country to test these laws and will have to do so in a court that is halfway across the country. Even if they have a ton of frequent flier miles, it will still cost them alot of money.


Second, on what basis would you bring a civil suit? Intentional (or Negligent) Infliction of Emotional Distress. I think that would be a simple enough thing to bring to court and I doubt it would be dismissed out of hand. Granted the damages awarded may not be substantial, but the bottom line is the Phelps would have to travel a long way just to defend the case.

b_asinbeer 11 years ago

So, as I understand it now, the WBC members do not die? Because if they should die in a freak accident or natural causes, wouldn't that death be due to sins against the WBC? Or are their deaths immune to that?

porkchop 11 years ago

Not sure what the law in Virginia--other than they have a reputation for being rather conservative in embracing some of the "newer" torts, like infliction of emotional distress--but if anyone in Kansas tried to sue them under either of those theories in Kansas, they'd be thrown out of court, absent physical injury caused by the distress. I don't think one of those cases has succeeded in Kansas in over 80 years.

temperance 11 years ago

Agnostick wrote: "I think Ragingbear and Marion actually might be correct on this one."

Yes, I agree. Let's enjoy the moment while it lasts.

porkchop: how "new" is "intentional infliction of emotional distress" tort? It's my understanding that it's as old as the "fighting words" standard, which dates to the 1940s (I think). My comment is out of curiosity, not criticism just wondering what you mean by new and if you know when this line of litigation arose.

OfficeGirl 11 years ago

Thanks, Blue73Harley, for letting them know so maybe they can do their best to protect the grieving families of these kids from the disgusting Phelps people. Crazy people used to take shots at crazy people like them. Where are they when you'd like to have them around? I'm so very surprised that no one has tried to 'take Fred out', so to say. He certainly aggravates enough people. The state of KS would probably be happy to be rid of the embarrassment. What losers.

rhd99 11 years ago

HEY, Freaky Phelps, yeah I am talking to YOU, take your message of hatred & SHOVE IT!

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years ago

only got about 3 lines in and said my oh my you have to be kidding me. No words can't form any printable words to express my feelings on this.

porkchop 11 years ago

First of all, my point is not "moot". Please demonstrate to me that the standards of proof in Virginia for intentional infliction of emotional distress are substantially different than in Kansas. While I freely admit that I do not know for certain the standards in that state, I do know that 1) this tort is disfavored in nearly every state; and 2) Virginia has a reputation, in many areas of the law for being conservative. This disrepute is largely because it is viewed as a way of trying to squeeze non-computable damages out of someone because we don't like what they say or do, although we are not physically or financially harmed by it.

By "newer" I mean twofold. First, intentional infliction of emotional distress is not one of the centuries-old common law torts; it was first recognized in England around the turn of the century. To my knowledge, it gained a certain amount of vogue beginning in the 1960s and 1970s, in certain areas of the country.

Finally, in regard to the suit referenced above, the judges ruling did not mean necessarily that the suit has merit; it merely meant that those specific questions referenced are fact dependent. I don't have access to the facts, so I wouldn't want to make a pronouncement, but again, the difficulty lies in quantifying damages. "My mother was so disgusted by the Phelps's vile behavior at the funeral that she wasn't right for weeks. Therefore, I should get $1.5 million dollars. Or maybe $1,200." Courts hate those kinds of determinations, as they lead to arbitrariness. Even if it gets through the trial court, these verdicts are hard to sustain on appeal.

But this is besides my original point. I guess I'm just less optimistic than many of you. I just don't see how WBC loses in this situation. Have to go back to work now. Happy Friday.

OfficeGirl 11 years ago

Do people go to Topeka to their church and picket and protest against them and their craziness? Fred is nothing but an abusive, alcoholic, IV drug addicted a$$hole. Read about him in Wikipedia. For him to be spouting anything that vaguely resembles religion and thinking anyone besides his brainwashed family would believe him--a man of his background.

rhd99 11 years ago

I am ashamed to be from a state that is home to Fred Phelps.

rhd99 11 years ago

Fred Phelps IS the definition of blasphemy. May he go down in flames.

rhd99 11 years ago

Sorry, momma. I want Fred Phelps' hatred filled group to go belly-up. It is time for America to bankrupt Fred Phelps' band of hate mongers & hang him out to dry.

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years ago

Just a question people why did the chicks get in trouble for saying what they did but everyone else can get away with it???

rhd99 11 years ago

They blasted Bush with hate in their messages while at the Grammys or whatever that music awards show is.

rhd99 11 years ago

It applies to them, SB. The Dixie Chicks have been hammered, why, I don't know. PHELPS uses funerals to his own sick pleasure against the families who lost loved ones in war or at Va. Tech.

Jersey_Girl 11 years ago

I realized last fall after Phelps and his flock protested the funerals of children killed in a school bus accident in Alabama the Monday before Thanksgiving that they should just be ignored. They're like bratty little children, thriving on all the publicity and attention they get protesting tragic funerals. I would imagine it would take the strength of and patience of a saint to do so while mourning the violent death of a loved one, but the rest of us could our part by just ignoring them. There's no doubt in my mind that they'll all burn in Hell in the afterlife for their unChristian-like behavior. Why give them any power in this life?

Jersey_Girl 11 years ago

My understanding is that the Dixie Chicks got blasted for bash Bush at a concert in England and people were upset that they did so in front of foreigners in a foreign country.

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years ago

sasquatch34 I am trying to be a nice person today.

gogoplata 11 years ago

I say we end this discussion right here. Stop giving him the attention. He says he is serving God. I say he likes the attention.

snowWI 11 years ago

Phelps is part of the reason why Kansas has such a negative reputation compared to other states. It also does not help that the evolution vs creationism debates keep going on in this state.

Jace 11 years ago

How do they all get to these events, anyway?

Do they all pile into a couple of big coach buses---with great, big neon-colored hate slogans plastered all over the sides of the buses...and then just hit the highway to wherever? Wyoming. Virginia. Missouri. etc. etc.

Justanopinion 11 years ago

I do not appreciate what happened at VT but I often wonder why, if it is going to happen, does it happen to people like those at VT rather than to people such as the phelps clan themselves so that we can all go stand at thier graves with signs that say "God hates haters"

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years ago

???? opinion no idea. Guess we can ask that question forever.

mom_of_three 11 years ago

I hope the Patriot guard goes to Virginia, by the hundreds and drowns out the phelps' families. The media should not give attention to phelps', but to the Patriot guard. Don't even mention his name in the media, we will all know why the guard is there.

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years ago

Is there anything good in the news today??

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years ago

now bowhunter do not insult the regular real loonie toons by compering them to the Phelps bunch.

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years ago

Oh yeah and phelps you missed two already thank goodness.

JayCat_67 11 years ago

Stupid thing is I was just thinking this morning that I would not be the least bit surprised if this A$$HOLE and his inbred group of hatemongers showed up at the funerals. Psychic? No, just seen it enough times to know what to expect.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 11 years ago

WBC will be the next Waco. They are gonna get killed, en mass, one day. Someone is going to throw open their bedroom window one night and yell 'I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore!", then go wipe those people out.

[I'm not encouraging it, I'm just predicting it.]

Then Phred's beliefs about hell, sin & condemnation will be put to the test. He'll find out FIRST HAND what an angry God looks like.

yourworstnightmare 11 years ago

The tactics of Phelps should surprise no fundamentalist christian.

He is simply taking the tactics used by Operation Rescue and others to the next step.

Right-wing fundamentalist christianity is very close to Phelps and WBC. The scary part is how widespread and growing fundamentalism is in America. It is not there yet, but it wouldn't be far for fundamentalist christianity to go to become like Phelps and WBC.

The anger, the hysteria, the dishonesty, the blind faith, the righteousness, the fervor of fundamentalism all lead down the road to Phelps.

JayCat_67 11 years ago

I think it'd be more appropriate if each family member got to spend a year in prison as some big fat smelly dude's/woman's "b*tch". Not only would they have to live the rest of this life with that lovely baggage, but those who don't believe in He!! could get some satisfaction too. More entertaining for everybody.

mechman 11 years ago

freddie & his clowns go screwin around them Hillbillys he will need the state Police to protect his can!!!!!!!!

Jersey_Girl 11 years ago

How does the paper know about this? Does Phelps send out press releases of his misdoings?

Tychoman 11 years ago

Yes he does send out press releases.

MyName 11 years ago

porkchop-- I think your analysis of whether the courts would find the Phelps liable is pretty accurate, but I think that if I were to bring a civil suit against them for picketing at a funeral (which is to answer your earlier question), I would probably include that in the list.

If the Phelps do in fact follow through with this plan, I would say that they will almost certainly be arrested if they are close enough to actually disturb the services. And if they aren't close enough to bother anybody, then they probably won't make the news (which would be a loss for them). So the best way to make the Phelps lose, in this case, would be to ignore them, at least enough to make sure they don't make the national news.

The other way is obviously for them to be arrested, found guilty of breaking the funeral picket laws, and have that conviction stick.

Tom McCune 11 years ago

Jim Jones David Koresh Fred Phelps

Same guy. Different names. When the authorities start closing in and calling their bluffs, they self destruct. Unfortunately, they also take some of their acolytes with them.

hwarangdo 11 years ago

What has awoken the Balrog from the deep, dark recesses of Moria? Freddie the Freeloader has arisen. Gandolf where ARE you?! But wait! The great wizard is thundering in amongst a band of Harleys! Great Thunder! Thank you Patriot Guard for what you do!!! Kidding aside, the WBC cult will go down in the annals of time as the epitomy of evil. Unfortunately for grieving families and friends at the funerals, we will have to witness just how far down the wormhole Freddie has crept. Pond scum rarely see's daylight. Meanwhile, take heart - despite all the rantings of WBC, there ARE still truly good human beings in the world ...

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