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Westboro Baptist Church Backs Off Protest Plans at Tucson Victims' Funerals

4 years ago
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Members of the Westboro Baptist Church have decided not to picket at the funerals of the victims of the fatal shootings in Tucson, Ariz., in exchange for publicity, a spokeswoman says.

Shirley Phelps-Roper, daughter of the Kansas-based church's pastor and founder Fred Phelps, said Westboro agreed to drop its plans to protest outside the funeral of Christina Taylor Green and the others killed last Saturday because it preferred to reach a wider audience over the air waves, the Topeka Capital-Journal said.

In an interview with 102.1 The Edge in Toronto, Canada, on Tuesday, Phelps-Roper agreed to call off the protest outside the funeral of 9-year-old Christina if host Dean Blundell permitted her to talk on the air about her church's views, which she did. Christina died when a gunman opened fire at an event hosted by Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.). The congresswoman was severely wounded.

Westboro Baptist Church demonstratorsAfter getting a promise for an interview on the nationally syndicated Mike Gallagher Show in New York, Phelps-Roper said the church agreed not to protest at any of the six victims' funerals, the Topeka newspaper said. Gallagher, in an e-mail, confirmed that church members would appear on his program Monday. "I 'm proud that my radio show could be used as an effective tool to prevent them from hurting those grieving families," he told Politics Daily. Westboro also has an interview scheduled with KXXT-AM Christian radio in Phoenix Saturday, according to the Associated Press.

Westboro Baptist, a small, militantly anti-gay church, routinely demonstrates at the funerals of U.S. service members and others who, members believe, are part of an American culture that accepts homosexuality. Their deaths are a sign of God's wrath, the church says. Westboro members often hold aloft placards with such slogans as "God hates fags."

Members would have been kept at bay had they followed through with their plans to picket in Arizona. Gov. Jan Brewer on Wednesday signed into law a prohibition on protests within 300 feet of a funeral for one hour before a service and for an hour afterward.

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The US Supreme Court ruled in a majority decision, that it's OK for a religious fringe group, or anyone for that matter, to practice cruel and unusual behavior at funerals for deceased war veterans. Then there's the Veterans Affairs Committee announcement that it had missed a 31 January deadline to implement programs specifically to help severely wounded war veterans. Short of a desk job in the National Guard, there's no member of the Supreme Court with any active duty military experience, and that speaks volumes. But despite having a retired general officer heading the VA, our vets continue to get less attention than they desperately need. It's too bad that accountability, experience and leadership needed in times like these, is nowhere in sight.

March 03 2011 at 9:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This is little more than legal blackmail-- a sad day for our country when self proclaimed hate mongers can buy off radio stations so they wont picket a funeral, vominting their anti-God hate. (Yes- they stand against everything that the God of the Bible stands FOR-- love of all, EVEN those we perceive as "sinners".) One wonders if some of these so called "Christian" radio stations are simply supporting the venomous message of this "church", who defame and insult the loving name of God with their hate filled talk.

January 13 2011 at 3:52 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

You know, I'm OK with the God thing - it's just the crazy groupies who scare me. These folks just reaffirm that you can do anything you want as long as you invoke God.
Westboro Baptist Church - no. Westboro Baptist Cult - I think so.

January 13 2011 at 9:36 AM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply

Those people from the Westboro alleged Church are Anti - American. They seem to worshp the devil and must have forgotten that the Bible says to "Love Thy Neighbor"
They are a bunch of heartless, gutless freaks who need to study the Bible and / or leave our great country ~ it's obvious that they don't love America but want to partake of the FREEDOM that our soldiers fight for.

January 13 2011 at 6:49 AM Report abuse +8 rate up rate down Reply

So these despicable, disgusting poor excuses for Christians............poor excuses for human beings got what they wanted afterall..............MEDIA ATTENTION !!!!!!!!!!!!!
How stupid can the media be to give in to these bunch of hate mongers. How can they make any kind of deals with them. They are no better than terrorists. It's UNREAL.

January 13 2011 at 6:47 AM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply

You have got to be kidding me. This group of hate mongers are holding the USA in ransom to spread their message of hate. God bless the USA for free speach but I have to tell all the people out their in the cult of the westboro baptist church if you you showed up at my 9 year old daughters funeral you would see and feel the wrath of the Lord come down upon you and judgement day would be on your doorstep!!!!!

January 13 2011 at 6:40 AM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply

All the damagaing political rhetoric doesn't even compare to the damage to our country as that of the media. If there weren't so many camera crews and news hounds hyping ever little detail of people lives and faults we would all be better off.

January 13 2011 at 6:32 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Well, I see this as another example of Jim Jones, remember? He was the one who murdered hundreds of people in Jonestown, Guyana. He was the leader of Peoples Temple, which was also in the beginning seen as a Chrisitan community. If this Westboro church is not stopped soon, let's just hope history doesn't repeats itself.

January 13 2011 at 6:32 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Why don't we call the people of this so-called "church" what they really are? Terrorists. They terrorize families, and now, they're terrorizing the media. By radio stations giving in to them and allowing to spew their nonsense, the terrorists have won.

January 13 2011 at 6:15 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

This action speaks volumes about these people. Perhaps they should have their own reality show (seems everyone else has one). Nobody would watch, but at least they might stay away from funerals.

January 13 2011 at 6:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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