How to deal with a hate group


RESIDENTS of Kansas City rose above the ‘God hates fags’ vitriol of the Westboro Baptist Church to show that compassion is the perfect antidote to hate.

Megan Coleman who helped make the sign after the death of Westboro’s ex-leader, Fred Phelps, said: “We realized that it wasn’t so much about antagonising them but sending out the countered safe that we are here for people who need that message and need that positivity.”

The message didn’t quite get through however.

WBC member, Steve Drain, said: “I don’t even know what they’re saying.”

The organisation gained a repulsive notoriety for picketing the funerals of US servicemen killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.


6 thoughts on “How to deal with a hate group

    • Did you know that Fred Phelps had been excommunicated from the church in August 2013 after he called for kinder treatment of fellow church members? Also, I just thought they were over-zealous and somewhat deluded but after reading ‘A Peek Inside The Westboro Baptist Church’ it appears that they are also evil!

      “Shirley Phelps-Roper, the church spokeswoman, says the members want God to punish Americans for tolerating homosexuality. They picket funerals to make people angry, she says: They want people to reject God and be condemned to hell.

      “Our job is laid out,” she says, in comments sprinkled with biblical references. “We are supposed to blind their eyes, stop up their ears and harden their hearts so that they cannot see, hear or understand, and be converted and receive salvation.”

      One might conclude Westboro Baptist Church is an enormous enterprise. But the church in Topeka, Kan., claims only about 100 members, almost all from the family of a man named Fred Phelps. And even though they call themselves Baptist, Mark Potok at the Southern Poverty Law Center says their extreme theology sets it apart from any other church.

      “Westboro Baptist Church is an organization that essentially has no friends whatsoever on the far right, the far left or anyplace in between,” Potok says.

      Bill Sherman, the religion writer for newspaper Tulsa World visited them in their compound in an upscale neighborhood of Topeka. He found them polite, normal people — and a model of success.

      “They’re college educated. They’re well-spoken. The daughter herself argued before the United States Supreme Court,” Sherman says. “They’re not what I expected.”

      Eleven of Fred Phelps’ 13 children have law degrees. Four are estranged from the family, and most of the rest live in the family compound and practice law.

      “They have a very well-respected law firm in Topeka,” Sherman says. “People in town said, ‘Well, we don’t like them, but if we want to win a case, we’ll go to them.’ ”

      Church spokeswoman Phelps-Roper says their booming employment and family law practice pays the bills for their travels across the country, when they shout their anti-gay message. They travel in vans to keep down the costs, which she says can add up to $200,000 a year.

      Do they have secret contributors? Phelps-Roper is adamant they do not.

      “We all work, and we all pay our own way,” she says. “We don’t ask for anything from anyone, and we don’t take anything from anyone.”

      The protests are in themselves a source of some income, according to Potok. Over the years the Phelpses have filed lawsuits against communities that try to stop them from demonstrating.

      “And as a general matter they have won,” he says. “They know their First Amendment rights very well, and they’ve been very good at defending them.”

      When they win, they often receive tens of thousands of dollars in court fees. And their winning streak is likely to continue, now that the Supreme Court has decided that Westboro’s right to free speech trumps the right of families to bury their loved ones undisturbed.”

      npr—March 02, 2011

      WBC does not believe in having funerals or memorials because “We don’t worship the dead in this church, so there’d be no public memorial or funeral to picket if any member died.”


      • I didn’t know that. It seems like too little too late.

        I don’t get them at all. What makes them do this? It’s like they’re all crazy.


      • Kathleen,

        It sickens me to learn that they are a bunch of lawyers making their money off their victims via court cases; you know, the ones they target with their hate speech. It seems that they are in it for the sheer joy of making money off their hatred. And it sickens me that their Government cannot stop them. Does that mean the USA has no Hate Speech Laws? Shame on them!


  1. My first thoughts about his passing was that the very ones who would block the protester from getting close to the solders family as they put them to rest would try to protest Mr. Phelps funereal. This we all know would be acting just as he did. For we all know that he is paying for his actions now in the very place that he kept telling people that is where they were going.


  2. How come compassion was a perfect solution to their hate? They didn’t even know what it was about.

    But religion can lead to that. The Koran tells Muslims not to let their compassion stop them from stoning women to death.

    When love and compassion are to be denied, how much worse can religion get?


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