Crime | Fred Phelps | News | Religion | Shirley Phelps-Roper | Virginia

Virginia Tech Funerals to be Target of Westboro Baptist Picket

PhelpsNever missing the opportunity to take advantage of a tragedy, Fred Phelps and his gang of haters at Westboro Baptist Church plan to picket the funerals of those killed in the Virginia Tech shootings, according to a message on their website (which I haven't linked on purpose):

"WBC will preach at the funerals of the Virginia Tech students killed on campus during a shooting rampage April 16, 2007. You describe this as monumental horror, but you know nothing of horror -- yet. Your bloody tyrant Bush says he is 'horrified' by it all. You know nothing of horror -- yet. Your true horror is coming. 'They shall also gird themselves with sackloth, and horror shall cover them; and shame shall be upon all faces, and baldness upon all their heads' (Eze. 7:18).

Why did this happen, you ask? It's simple. Your military chose to shoot at the servants of God today, and all they got for their effort was terror. Then, the LORD your God sent a crazed madman to shoot at your children. Was God asleep while this took place? Was He on vacation? Of course not. He willed this to happen to punish you for assailing His servants."

No doubt they'll blame the shootings on the gays as well. But as many people have noted, the more these nuts trot themselves out, the more a symbol of the need for tolerance they become.

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  1. Bear with my different perspective of the effect the Phelps Inbreds have. While I agree that the jawdropping extremity of their signs and statements relative to gays might wake up a few good souls, my cynicism tells me that, more than anything, it makes homophobes feel BETTER about their own “polite” bigotry. As Rex said, these Neanderthals have been doing it for years. Younger Towleroadies might not be aware that they picketed Matthew Shepard’s funeral [“Matt in Hell”] and the trial of at least one of his murderers, the funeral of President Clinton’s mother [“in Hell” because of her son’s support of gays and please spare us another debate about that] and the funeral of gay author Randy Shilts. They have even picketed speaking engagements by Judy Shepard, whom they call “the avaricious Mother from Hell,” “celebrating” the anniversary of Matt’s death. It gets worse—see one of their flyers at:

    Where, as Rex, said are the multitudes moved by their subsequent years of linking the space shuttle disaster, 9/11, Katrina, and soldiers’ deaths to “fags/sodomites, etc.”? One of the things to learn from the long-overdue Imus meltdown was how many “good people” can compartmentalize their own bigotry or the bigotry of others whom they admire. As I wrote yesterday, NBC news star Tim Russert, even though he had been publicly criticized over the years for repeatedly appearing with Imus—thus “legitimizing” his racist, sexist, homophobic slurs—STILL doesn’t get it, and thinks his poor rich pal was wrongly crucified. [Further evidence of how clueless he is was his equating Imus mocking Russert’s “own people,” Irish Catholics with demeaning Blacks and gays.]

    And, unlike, one assumes, the core audience for psychonazis like Michael Savage and Rush To By Drugs Limbaugh, Imus was the darling of moneyed, white collar, college-educated powerful men within the Washington Beltway and along the supposedly more enlightened, more progressive eastern seaboard.

    No, we can’t just expect large numbers of people to experience epiphanies whenever they see six-year olds waving signs saying “Fags Die God Laughs “Thank God for 9/11,” “Fag Body Bag,” “AIDS Cures Fags,” “God Is America’s Terrorist,” “Thank God for IEDs,” "Fags Are Worth of Death," et al. WE must start a campaign EQUATING people who campaign against and vote against gay equality WITH PHELPS. We must point to his signs and say, “America, don't look away. Look in the mirror!”

    Posted by: Leland | Apr 17, 2007 1:44:54 PM

  2. These people have no shame. I agree with the first day they will pick the wrong funeral to picket, and it will be their last.

    Posted by: Karim | Apr 17, 2007 1:46:00 PM

  3. wack-a-doodle-doo

    Posted by: Chux | Apr 17, 2007 1:47:09 PM

  4. Leland, that is an EXCELLENT point.

    Posted by: Jonathon | Apr 17, 2007 1:54:30 PM

  5. I am outraged at the Phelps clan, of course, but I'm also annoyed at the media that they play like a fiddle.

    The WBC is no different than any other group of religious zealots. "Repent your sins," "the end is nigh," "you're all doomed" is their basic message, and it's nothing new. Insane zealots have been shouting these things on street corners for literally thousands of years.

    The only thing that makes the WBC different is that they are MODERN zealots who have discovered the power and truth of the business maxim "there's no such thing as bad publicity."

    It's easy to write them off as "attention whores". They are, but to leave it at that is to grossly underestimate them.

    They clearly have a well-calculated strategy to "spread the word". They've learned that the more shrill, offensive rhetoric they inject into their "message", they more attention they get, thus - in their eyes - successfully spreading the message that they think God has called on them to share with the world.

    They think the End is near, and God has chosen them. Offensive slurs and protesting funerals are merely tools they use to amplify their message. They think it's justified, because - in their eyes - what could be more important than answering the call of God and spreading His word?

    What's frustrating is how successful they seem to be at it.

    Posted by: Rich | Apr 17, 2007 2:09:55 PM

  6. I'll say this for the Phelps least they're consistent.

    Unlike the many folks who sneer "Hollywood liberal" and "San Francisco values" whenever anything terrible happens in crazy California, then remain completely silent when it occurs in suburban Colorado, Arkansas, or Virginia.

    Those are the people we should be worried about - the liars, hypocrites, and demogogues who call themselves respectable. They're far more dangerous than Fred Phelps and his small band of hateful misfits.

    Posted by: John | Apr 17, 2007 2:16:48 PM

  7. to paraphrase..

    I loathe everything they say, and will fight to the death their right to say it.

    Posted by: W=WIMP | Apr 17, 2007 2:48:47 PM

  8. that flayer of matt shepards 7 years in hell almost made me throw up. just reading the print around it was one of the most insulting things i have ever seen in my life. these people bend the words of the bible to there own disgusting understanding of the world and the relation it has with a higher being. if there is a hell and it is as they describe, they better get use to it because thats were they are going.

    Posted by: bman | Apr 17, 2007 2:51:36 PM


    I loathe everything they say, and will fight to the death FOR their right to say it.

    Posted by: W=WIMP | Apr 17, 2007 2:52:45 PM

  10. I object to homosexuality as much as the next guy; picketing these funerals is nothing short of indecent and disrespectful.

    Posted by: Michael Ejercito | Apr 17, 2007 2:52:51 PM

  11. I object to homosexuality as much as the next guy; picketing these funerals is nothing short of indecent and disrespectful.

    Posted by: Michael Ejercito | Apr 17, 2007 2:52:51 PM

    I'm the next guy, and I don't object to homosexuality AT ALL.

    Posted by: BrokenMirror | Apr 17, 2007 3:02:50 PM

  12. Michael Ejercito's MySpace blog takes a different tone in response to the WBC protests. He states, "I am appalled by this. It is so easy to hate these people. But we are called not to hate, to bless those who curse us, to pray for those who persecute us."

    Michael, I pray for you.

    Posted by: Andrew B | Apr 17, 2007 3:17:10 PM

  13. I'm simply pissed that Dubya was at the convocation. How dare he try to lead the nation through mourning a senseless tragedy while he and his ilk are committing senseless tragedies left, right, and sideways around the world.

    But back on topic: I hate everything that the Phelps family stands for. They are an embarassment to the entire world. I'm not advocating violence, but part of me wishes that THEY were on the receiving end of the crazed gunman's actions.

    Posted by: Alex Sarmiento | Apr 17, 2007 3:19:33 PM

  14. Griffin, they don't need to change the second amendment (IMHO). They just need to reinstate the Federal Assault Weapons Ban (AWB) that Bush let lapse back in ‘04.

    Alex, why wouldn't the President be there? Yeah the guy is atrocious, but he's still the president. I think it shows the magnitude and gravity of the situation that the President is there.

    If he didn't go, people would cry foul that he wasn't there.

    Posted by: RP | Apr 17, 2007 3:41:15 PM

  15. Hopefully, one day humanity will wake up and stop believing in "magical" stories about god. Maybe one day these stories will go the way of Odin, Zesus and Ra. Why does humanity still feel the need to cling to ideas about the nature of the world which fly in the face of rational thought? Even more, why the need to kill in the name of those beliefs? Religion is outdated and does not serve the needs of humanity or help with the answers to the challenges we face. It is a force of division and an obstacle to the spiritual and rational evolution of the human race.

    Posted by: busytimmy | Apr 17, 2007 3:52:44 PM

  16. "... and baldness upon all their heads"

    Uh oh, I didn't realize that baldness was involved. I'd better watch my step...

    Posted by: stefan | Apr 17, 2007 4:08:05 PM

  17. "Why does humanity still feel the need to cling to ideas about the nature of the world which fly in the face of rational thought?"

    Because humans are not creatures of rational thought, but of emotion.

    Because we are the first animal with the capacity to contemplate our place in the natural world and that ability scared the living shit out of us. So we developed a faith system to make sense out of the mystery of life.

    Because we haven't figured out how not to give in to our need for order and answers when in fact, the universe offers very little of either.

    Because for some people, living in poverty, war-torn nations or dying of hunger, faith is the only thing they have to hold on to.

    Posted by: mark m | Apr 17, 2007 4:29:57 PM

  18. More seriously, I wonder what happens when they age, or get sick? I notice that the picture shows them as young and healthy. But when things start to go bad - with the normal and even more serious ailments of a normal life - will they be reviled and kicked out of the group? What if one of them went bald - or got cancer? Would that be seen as punishment for some sin? Or would they see it as god punishing them for the sin of *someone else*?

    People like these tend to find ways to blame others for their problems. I'm sure it would be no different here.

    Posted by: stefan | Apr 17, 2007 4:37:09 PM

  19. Stefan, have you looked at these people from the Phelps clan? They look like rejects from Night Of The Living Dead right now!

    Posted by: Johnny Lane | Apr 17, 2007 5:10:57 PM

  20. It's a stupid idea for them to announce that they'll show up at the victims' funerals.


    If I knew some extremist, right-wing, cantankerous, religious douchebags were going to be FUCKING PICKETING my relative or friend's FUNERAL, I'd be waiting in the damn bushes with a big-assed wooden bat ... specially branded for the occasion with "RE: WESTBORO ASSHOLES" on the handle. Then I'd have myself a Phelpy-Baptist Whompin' Party.

    You know, I'm just about as liberal as they get, and I'm a total pacifist 99% of the time, but shit ... sometimes I just get sick and tired of listening to peoples' raving, mouth-foaming, ignorant, stupid, trash. I know people have the right to say what they want in this country and I acknowledge that sometimes that means being forced to listen to stuff you don't want to hear, but dammit. God. Fucking. Dammit. If someone were picketing such disgusting crap at a funeral of a loved one of mine, I think THAT would be the time I finally snap and go postal.

    Posted by: Nikki | Apr 17, 2007 5:16:12 PM

  21. Nikki, in my opinion, you are dead on. And I think that is exactly what is going to happen. So I sent an email to this morning as follows.

    "Go ahead and show up. With the sheer volume of people who have been
    traumatized who will be attending these funerals, your worthless idiotic demonstrations will surely set off a powder keg of emotions. And, this will be your last stand, no doubt. You people are demons from hell. Human trash. You don't even qualify as garbage. Hag face needs to be the first to go.......straight to hell!"

    I received a response from hag face herself, Margie J. Phelps as follows:

    Thanks for writing

    We're going to put you down under the "undecided" column.

    Meanwhile, unfortunately for you, God has decided. He's judged this nation
    and all its reprobate citizens, and found them wanting. The siege is
    coming, america is doomed, the destruction draweth nigh.

    Go to and watch all the videos, and in particular click
    on special audio and video and watch the video of God Hates the World.
    It'll do you a world (get it, world! :-D) of good. Then go to and read all the words and listen to all the sermons. Then get a Bible, open it, read it, and OBEY.


    I encourage everyone to write Hag Face (Margie) directly and let your true feelings be known. But be warned, you will be sentenced to hell and damnation!

    Posted by: Johnny Lane | Apr 17, 2007 5:32:23 PM

  22. Maybe God will send a crazy nut to shoot the whole Phelps clan. Or perhaps a tornado to take out the their church. Or, how about this, plague, blindness or any other form of torture and disease! What a group of losers. I hope that the next post I read about Fred and the clan is that they were accidently hit and run over by a Soulforce bus! "Accidently" of course.

    Posted by: RB | Apr 17, 2007 6:00:00 PM

  23. I wonder why there is only one church like WBC? In a big country like this, you'd think (but not want perhaps) there would be more. With Phelps Sr. not doing so well these days I don't see the church going on much longer. They are like Internet trolls, don't feed them.

    Posted by: anon | Apr 17, 2007 6:57:44 PM

  24. According to BBC the shooter was a 23 year old Korean kid who was a loner. He used a 9mm and .22 caliber both of which are primarily used by the police. He most likely bought the weapons from the same kind of people who deal drugs. Even if you ban honest people from having guns people will still get them. This kid most likely premeditated this to some degree, although we won't know more for several weeks in all likelihood.
    You can not stop people from getting guns and committing violence against other human beings. I'm living in France and the only people who have guns are the police and the criminals and they do have less violence in France but I honestly think it has more to do with their culture than their gun laws. If you haven't noticed America is quite more corrupt than most of us like to believe. In America if someone wants a product or service they will get it and they will use it especially if they are willing to take their own lives to do it, whether for reasons of religion or insanity. Don't believe me, just look at what drug prohibition has done and is doing to the US.
    Also religion based entirely on faith is dangerous. Typically as long as people try to combine religion with logic and reason it comes out tempered but once reason is abandoned then you get blind faith that leads to things like 9/11 and the WBC. Also the Phelps can easily invoke the god of the Old Testament to come to their side in an argument and their is much scripture to back up their point of view, although I think they focus too much on us. I still hope that Larry Kramer's idea for a Queer Army gets off the ground though I don't think it will because we don't have enough confidence in ourselves much less our community to do so.

    Posted by: Jason Young | Apr 17, 2007 7:26:50 PM

  25. They follow their own, internal logic, despite the hogwash most see it for. Faith really is that close to insanity (in this case symptomized by extreme hate).
    The people at WBC identify themselves by the "ungodliness" and "sin" of the rest of the world.
    I agree to some extent with likening them to internet trolls, as stated above. Nonetheless, as long as (to them) the rest of the world exists, their identity as the only true people of faith will remain.
    If you haven't seen it, check out that BBC4 documentary on WBC. If you can stomache the bile, it's fascinating.

    That said, I do think some progress in terms of battling homophobia is made each time they open their mouths. And I admit to a bit of schadenfruende each time another bigot looks at them and says to themselves: "oh, that's just wrong" and feels a bit of guilt which spurs them to rethink their beliefs.

    Posted by: boytokyo | Apr 17, 2007 8:37:00 PM

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