The drama of a field crasher would make excellent television. Most of the time, it's just a drunk, an attention-seeker or a drunken attention seeker, but sometimes things take a more newsworthy turn. A teen was tasered by cops at a Philadelphia Phillies game last year and a father and son assaulted an umpire in 2003 at a Chicago White Sox game.
Live broadcasters don't show these crashers because they know that the TV time would encourage more people to do it. The industry-wide self-censorship helps discourage idiocy.
It's time the media took the same approach with Rev. Fred Phelps of Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas.
Phelps is getting widespread media coverage by threatening to picket the funerals of the Tucson shooting victims. It's the same game he's been playing since 1991. Find a funeral of a soldier, public figure or someone else whose death is getting major media coverage. Fax blast a press release celebrating their demise, grab the "God Hates" signs, gather up the kids and grandkids and hop in the Ford Econoline.
Because of the enormous amount of attention his deeply offensive protests receive, you might get the impression that Phelps is a significant religious leader in this country.
He's not. Westboro Baptist Church had only 71 members as of 2007, according to a BBC report, and they're members of his extended family. He has 13 children, many of whom have stuck around and brought their own kids into the loathsome family business.
Nate Phelps, an estranged son of Rev. Phelps, says the only point of the protests is to get attention. Phelps doesn't care if he attracts a single follower to his religious views:
My father equipped his church with a bank of fax machines, and daily sent faxes to hundreds of machines across the city and state, filled with invective and diatribes against anyone who had offended him. To demonstrate the effectiveness of his methods, this tiny church of 60 people, led by my father, is today known not just throughout the United States, but across the world. ...
My father has simply refined Calvin's doctrine to the point where the vast majority of us are going to hell. And he and his followers are among the privileged few chosen by God.
This doctrine is very important to understanding the Westboro Baptist Church. My father, and those who follow him, are not preaching to try to convince people of their truth. Unlike street evangelists, who are trying to convert people, my father has no intention of converting anyone, since conversion is impossible. You're either chosen, or you're not.
The best way to deal with Phelps isn't to organize counter-protests or to form a human wall of "angels" to block people from seeing the Phelps family picketing a funeral.
Instead, it's to convince the national media to stop covering the publicity stunts of a no-name preacher with no following and no influence.
Update: "Topeka's Westboro Baptist Church won't picket the funeral of a 9-year-old girl killed in Saturday's shooting rampage in Tucson, Ariz., in exchange for getting airtime on two radio stations, a church spokesman said." -- Topeka Capital-Journal
I agree that he should be ignored, but the human wall of angels is only to benefit the mourners so they do not have to see the hateful protesters. So sad that the law protects Westboro but not the grieving.
can we please send fred phelps and co to north korea where they will not have any freedom to protest at will nor liberty of being an american. phelps will meet his karma we all know this for sure.
I've often wondered why the Phelps clan hasn't been confronted by egging brigades when they picket a soldier's funeral. His group is routinely pelted by eggs when they show up at gay events; this reduces the duration of their demonstrations to a matter of seconds, and is a big reason why Fred has turned his attention to harassing veterans and public figures.
some anonymous bully boys should just show up and beat the shit out of them
Is the use of children to spew crap like this child abuse? Where is protective services? Why are't the parents being arrested for child abuse??
News flash for "visitor": "anonymous bully boys" have been showing up and pushing the church folks around for years. The American Legion's "Patriot Guard," a collection of flag-waving bikers and meth-peddling perverts, routinely shoves and threatens the protesters at their gatherings. These hero patriots, the majority military veterans, often simply beat folks up -- reporters, photographers, witnesses -- but it never makes the news. (It's not politically correct to bash vets, even when they're sporting Swastikas and ganging up on Americans they hate.) Trouble with this trash is that they routinely attack anti-war protesters, liberals, and anyone else they deem a threat to American way of life. For all of their putrid bombast, Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church have never laid a finger on anybody. They stay within the scope of the law.
All I can say is.....AMEN!! Wonderful blog Roger Cadenhead.
I don't know of any Christian that feels the way Westboro feels. We will pray for them and those they persecute. God Loves all...John 3:16
this is exactly what I said when I heard the news about thier intent to picket in Tuscon. My husband was a bit more brutal. He said if Phelps shows up in Tuscon someone with kill the S** of a B****.
The audacity that men use the Lord's name to promote their own agenda is, for the lack of a better word, appauling. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and their own thoughts. They are also going to have to settle up once the final trumpet is sounded. What really urkes me is to the extant that this person goes to defame the bereaving family and their deceased loved ones. The picture posted above, really gives it perspective. "God Blew Up the Shuttle," "God Hates America," "God Hates Fag Enablers." I really, really have to say that this man really, really needs to be examined psychologically. He not only is causing a hate crime, but to involve his family and children and teaching his children to hate is simply brainwashing and abusive in my opinion.
In the good book Matthew 7:26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a fool who builds his house on sand.
So, if that is the case, and he is using God as his platform, what can a man expect when he turns God's words into hate?
The Lord also said to love our enemies. Well, I can't say that it would be an easy love, but I think a prayer of enlightment for this man is sorely needed; for him and his family.
You are absolutely right. I blogged the same thing this morning. bloggertobenamedlater.com
The bigger issue is just flat ignoring him. He hates being ignored more than anything.
I love these people. They do a great service to gays and anyone they target. They look like such fools that it makes everyone else realize we are not like them and don't even want to resemble them. I almost hate saying this because they might actually read it and stop.
"Topeka's Westboro Baptist Church won't picket the funeral of a 9-year-old girl killed in Saturday's shooting rampage in Tucson, Ariz., in exchange for getting airtime on two radio stations, a church spokesman said."
So being a lot of things, acording to these people is a sin and worthy of hate, but apparently being a whore is just fine.
Seriously, folks need to ignore these people. It wont stop them, but it will minimize them.
So you're suggesting the media should not cover these people and you're leading the way by writing an article about them? Not following your logic here.
The media is never going to stop covering Phelps on its own. The story is too easy. The only way it will stop is if people complain about the coverage of these publicity stunts.
Every one is missing the point. The reason Fred Phelps and his lot are getting to so many people is because he is UNDENIABLY speaking gods WORD. Nobody has ever been able to pick him up on his knowledge of the bible. The trouble is and now please pay attention to what i am getting at.Fred Phelps omits to tell people of Gods love for the whole world.Jesus died on the cross for all. Yes Rev Fred Phelps, ALL. God Loves all Homosexuals and all types of sinners. God does not however love the sin.If every one was to direct there energies to debating Rev Fred Phelps according to Gods word i think we would soon be able to quieten him down. Make no mistake if we all keep blatantly sinning we are doomed.We must repent and turn to God.A loving God that sent Jesus to die on the cross for ALL our sins.
I have a possible solution. In the NPR report today Phelp's daughter states that the family supports these activities through their own employment/businesses. So, technically, the people that do business with them are supporting their hate speech towards American families/soldiers/children/etc.... Why doesn't someon...e start photographing/publishing the names of anyone who does business with the Westboro Baptist Church or its members. By supporting the WBC & its members with their $$ they are supporting their cause and we should know who they are. Start a website "People Who Financially Support Westboro Baptist Church Hate Speech" with their names, photos and bios. The Phelps family couldn't do any of this without the money provided by the business support of their local community.
thank God for rev. Phelps. I know so many friends who got into this homosexual liberation movement and now they are dead with the AIDS virus. Maybe if rev.Phelps was listened to and thought about more intellectually than emotionally, we would have less AIDS and less wars
I was on a military honors team and personally saw these idiots on many occasions. I personally can not wait till one of their loved ones pass, I think everyone who feels these people are idiots should show up and protest that funeral, I don't believe anything would be able to drown out that crowd
The U.S. laws need to change to protect events and funerals from bigots like Phelps and his condemned followers who are severely brain washed; I hope the followers have a revelation that what they are doing and being taught is wrong and poisoning the children in to doing evil.
Phelps, You point fingers at others then four will point back at you.
Rev. Phelps, you're time is very close and you have to stand before God on judgement day and it wont be pretty. God judges man by how he treats his fellow man and what good he has done in life.
Fred Phelps you are a cower and a pathetic, bitter old man that did nothing but abuse all your life and it will come around and bit you in the a**.