Foiled Falwell Bomber was Targeting Westboro Baptist Protestors

Counterprotest

Mark David Uhl, a Liberty University student, was arrested after a family member’s tip led authorities to homemade bombs in the trunk of his car. Uhl had apparently told the family member that he planned to target protestors from Fred Phelps’ Westboro Baptist Church who were planning a demonstration at Reverend Jerry Falwell’s funeral. The soda can-sized bombs were described by police as “sort of like napalm”.

FalwellwestboroThe Associated Press reports: “The Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church sent about a dozen members to protest across the street from the funeral, claiming Falwell was a friend to gays. The group also has picketed soldiers’ burials, claiming the deaths are God’s punishment for a nation that supports homosexuality. Falwell frequently spoke against homosexuality, and gay rights advocates have consistently opposed him. A group of Liberty University students staged a counterprotest; it wasn’t clear whether Uhl was involved.

…Jesse Benson, 19, of Zanesville, Ohio, said he lived with Uhl this year and that both shared the view that the Westboro group is a ‘sorry, disgraceful bunch of people,’ but that he was certain Uhl would never have done anything to harm them. ‘He had a very, very deep respect for Jerry Falwell, as do I,’ Benson said in a telephone interview. ‘Jerry Falwell would not have approved him harming anybody for any reason. Out of respect for Jerry Falwell, he never would have done anything.'”

Just one more incident that goes to show how full this country is of really screwed-up, religious people.

The Associated Press reports that 33,000 people viewed Falwell’s body over a period of four days.

You may have missed…
Westboro Baptist to Picket Jerry Falwell Funeral [tr]
Ann Coulter’s Latest Diarrheatribe on Jerry Falwell [tr]

Comments

  1. Matt says

    “Just one more incident that goes to show how full this country is of really screwed-up, religious people.”

    I really take issue with this line. I agree that there are extremist on both sides of this issue. But this line reads as if all religious people are wingnuts. I have plenty of friends who are religious who are very accepting and supportive of me and I have a church that I attend that welcomes me openly with no judgements. If you want to have a comment like that, it should read that this country seems full of extremist people. There are plenty of screwed-up people in this country who are agnostic or atheist. I love this blog but that comment seemed pretty bigotted.

  2. Rob (lrdarystar) says

    Matt, I seriously doubt Andy is trying to say all religious people are screwed-up. I’d have to agree with the statement. There are plenty of people who happen to be really screwed-up and religious. Some times they aren’t even extremist, just hateful or angry or violent…

  3. says

    Matt, I certainly didn’t intend the comment to read that way. I understand very well that there are plenty of well-adjusted religious people that have no interest in using their faith as a social weapon.

    And although they’re not usually the ones getting the press, I do regularly publish material on this site highlighting inclusive religous organizations.

  4. RB says

    I agree with Matt’s comments. It is a slippery slope when you begin to categorize all people based their group, etc.

    However, I am so happy that Phelps clan is at the funeral! I posted before that this will absolutely alienate him from “normal” Christians across the country as he has really crossed the wrong line! People that would have otherwise NEVER spoken out againts Phelps hate preaching against gays will now turn on with a vengence. No, they may not be on our side, but they will clearly NOT be sympathetic to his cause in any way going forward. Thanks Phelps! I appreciate you taking the right steps to self implode!

  5. Derrick from Philly says

    But Matt, Andy didn’t say that ALL religious people are screwed up.

    Well, I must be one “screwed up” evil, bitter bitch…’cause I kinda’ wish the bombs had gone off–killing two right-wing birds with one stone.
    I take that back! I don’t want to go to hell–all these damn preachers may be there.

  6. Matt says

    Andy,

    Thank you for the clarification. I am well aware of the coverage you give to pro-gay religious groups, athetist, agnostic, etc. It is the main reason why I read your blog daily even though I still don’t get Banksy. I definitely wish you continued success.

  7. Zeke says

    I’m a spiritual (some would say religious) person and I didn’t take any offense from the comment.

    It seems pretty accurate to me.

    I understand Matt’s concern but I think he misread the statement, or at least misinterpreted the intention.

    Andy has never shown a general anti-religious bias. He points out bigotry, discrimination, hate and prejudice coming from religious people/organizations but no more than he does with secular and non-religious people/organizations that do the same.

    Beyond that, I have to wonder where all of these “God is Love” and “God Loves America” counter-protestors have been for the last twenty years when these assholes were picketing at the funerals of gay men and AIDS victims.

  8. Chris says

    Wow, those Westboro people really will picket anything. They came to my college when we did The Laramie Project. It was such good publicity, it was the first play to ever sell out its whole run in the history of our college.

  9. tony says

    THANK YOU TOWLEROAD FOR YOUR DAILY REPORT ON FRED PHELPS!!!! You ought to win a Pulitzer Prize for your almost daily and in-depth reporting on Fred Phelps. While the NYT reported on him once (and otherwise his family’s only appearance was on Tyra Banks), Towleroad has dedicated itself to pandering to Fred Phelps by reporting almost everyone of his protests. If I run around Times Square with a sign on a post will you report on me every day?!?!

  10. Zlexar says

    There are batshit people, but when you’re religious and batshit, it just gets a little more dramatic. A guy studying to be an army chaplain (see full article) decides to bring napalm to a funeral to roast ultra-christians? Wow.
    These guys are just so sure they know what God thinks that they can contemplate doing just about anything….picketing funerals, murder….really, almost nothing is off-limits.

    Even more bizarre is how little these people actually understand each other. Uhl’s friend is absolutely certain that “he never would have done anything.” Riiigght. Nothing except whip up some napalm in the sink. I’d venture to say that when you get obsessed with towing the party line you lose the ability to look a little more deeply into someone’s character.

  11. Dean says

    As much as I detest Phelps and would rather he just go away, I think as long as he’s around Andy is perfectly right to highlight any nutjobbery (is that a word??) that ole Fred is up to.

    After all, if there is a poisonous snake in the room and I can’t get rid of it, I- at the very least- would like to know where it is!

  12. Leland says

    Tony, Tony, Tony. WHAT is your point, other than to demonstrate your rather shaky grasp on the use of the word “pandering”? And, make up your what passes for a mind: are you indicting Andy for his “daily report on Fred Phelps” or his “almost daily….reporting on Fred Phelps.” Of course, neither charge is factual, but, even if one were, Andy deserves applause for keeping people aware of this inbred cult’s activities. The sacrosanct NY Times should report MORE on them, but, of course, despite the fact that you couldn’t throw a Birkin bag in any direction at the Times without hitting a queen, they too often perpetuate the myth that homohatred is in scarce supply, something underserving of serious, ongoing coverage—or that when covered is to be trivialized by, e.g., illustrating it with a picture of “bull dykes” surrounding men in clown white makeup, lipstick, and 18th century fop drag.

    Note even the prejudiced choice of words in the AP story about the alleged bombing plot. It more often refers to us as an it—homosexuality—than people, thus, once again, posthumously defanging the deadly poisonous Fartwell. He never said, “AIDS is God’s punishment on homosexuality” but “on gays.” Ad nauseum.

    Perhaps you only come here for the beefcake ads, or the latest picture of Becks with his hand down his pants, or some other titillation of your tits. But some of us appreciate the collection of serious news items, gay-related and not.

    As for RB’s optimism about a religious revelation among American Xtians, I reiterate that, for most of them, Phelps remains only a balm in Gideon to soothe their own homohating souls by way of giving them justification to say, “Well, I’m not like THEM.” And to confuse appreciation for the differences in degrees of civility with failure to admit that they are the same as him in substance. Phelps is not an anomaly. He is but the logical extension, the honest face of what lies within the cowardly Holier Than Thou of all cloths who sit silently in their figurative and literal pews while gay youth are brutalized in schools, gays of all ages are brutalized or murdered on our streets, and “gay rights” are tossed about and torn apart like worthless toys.

  13. Leland says

    Make that “balm in Gilead.” That’s what I get for tossing too many ingredients into my metaphorical salads. The drinks are over there.

  14. JLS says

    For one thing, all you religious apologists. Moderate religious people create the environment for radicals like Osama, Phelps, and Falwell. Faith is dangerous, and treating blind faith as a virtue in our society has got to stop. This is how extremists are created.

    We need to move on guys and let go of our silly and imaginary religions.

    As Dawkins puts it: “Monotheism is doomed to subtract one more god.”

  15. John C says

    “But this line reads as if all religious people are wingnuts.”

    Jim Jones, David Koresh, Fred Phelps, abortion clinic bombers… Yeah, nothing wrong with Christianity in America. I mean, every Christian nation is like this, right?

  16. Dean says

    “Religious apologists”, huh?? Well, I’ve been called worse… by better informed.

    You won’t get rid of the fanatics by getting rid of religion. If the atheists were in charge, how long do you think it’d be before people were being killed for daring to suppose there *might* be a God?

    Religion is a tool. In my opinion, it’s a personal tool. The probelms arise when people without a backbone try to force their beliefs on everyone- just so they don’t have to stand alone.

    We need to stop blaming the gun and start blaming the shooter.

  17. Daniel says

    Dean, yeah, I always hear about Athiests killing religious people, firing them from their jobs, excluding them from Boy Scouts and other organizations. Yeah, Athiests are just so discriminatory against believers.

  18. luke says

    Phelps heads Westboro church — a congregation miniscule in number. Besides godhatesfags.com, they also maintain godhatessweden.com, and they also picket against military funerals because of the presence of the US flag which they view as flag idolatry. Wikipedia has a long entry on him with his background, family feuds, and criminal record. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fred_phelps

  19. pacificoceanboy says

    Wow

    The xtianistas are turning on each other.
    that can mean two different things, one good and one bad.

    1) the whole far right / wingnut xtian movement is dieing and the rats are turning on each other as the ship sinks

    or

    2) they are so entrenched in government/ control of america now that it is like the night of a thousand knives / the brown shirts aren’t just xtianista enough / the brown shirts aren’t our kind of xtianistas anymore now that we have all the power.

    It was so much easire to understand what the wackados were up to when it was protestant against catholic (shia vs sunni in xtianista)

  20. pacificoceanboy says

    Dean if this atheist was in charge, not one religous person would be killed or hurt in any way. Just drugged with lithium for their own benefit to get rid of the schizophrenic delusions and some form of sterilization/neuturing to prevent them from having children to pass on their pathology to.

    Nice, peaceful, good for the economy in that neutring offices would provide jobs and the fines till submission to neuturing treatment would be good for fed coffers, good for the human gene pool and future.

    But darn the luck, I have no authoritaaaaaaaaaaaa so God King POB isn’t going to be any time soon. Do I have a napoleonic complex?

    😉

  21. BeeDee says

    Yeah, right, Falwell was pro-gay. I can’t even count the number of times we had creepy chubby-old-guy sex together…

    The first amendment can be deeply disturbing. Dumbasses…

  22. Zlexar says

    To be fair, atheist fundamentalists are just as bad as the religious ones. Pol Pot, Joe Stalin, killing fields, etc. etc.

    I really think that kind of person you are can have very little to do with what you believe. We’ve probably all met a really awesome muslim or mormon or christian who’s been a great, loyal friend in spite of the “gays are abomination” crap that their religion believes. And we’ve probably met people who have all the ‘right’ beliefs (pro-gay, love puppies, etc.) but who are still dishonorable assholes in spite of looking great on paper.

    The fundamentalist mindset is what you’ve got to watch out for. It doesn’t always have to involve religion, but it usually must involve a philosophy or belief system.

    The real warning signs of fundamentalism are:
    1) Certainty regarding beliefs (duh)
    2) Strict literal adherence to an ‘inerrant text’ (e.g. Bible, Communist Manifesto)
    3) Profound belief that the rest of the world is deeply corrupt
    4) Strong limits on the dress and behavior of members.

    Anyway….I’ll shut up now…..

  23. pacificoceanboy says

    zlexar a problem

    Stalin and pol pot etc were not killing people because they were trying to eradicate religion. They killed because they were trying to solidify their power and get rid of what they viewed as malcontents. Stalin killed religous and non religous a like. Sorry the connection between atheism and killing can not be drawm. Especialy since state sanctioned religion was well and fine in the USSR. for example State apointed catholic and orthedox priests and bishops still held masses with the full blessing of the communist party as vs those apointed by the pope or an orthedox patriarch were forbiden. The connection between a dictatorship and killing can be drawn.

    1) certainty regarding beliefs. Science is not a belief system it is based on observable facts and repeatable experiments. Logic is not a belief system.

  24. mark m says

    When humans are given absolute power, they abuse that power and people suffer.

    So I see no value in arguing over whether Christians or Atheists are more prone to corruption.

    Last time I checked, both were human.

  25. Gregg says

    Tony is absolutely right in his post above. The Phelps clan do this stuff for publicity, and Towleroad is helping their cause immensely. Every one of their protests is the same – “Fill-in-the-blank In Hell”. Nothing new there. Granted, the bomber was news, but why give “Westboro Baptist Church” a platform by posting their pics???

    And Dear Sweet Adorable Condescending Leland – “pandering” was correctly used in Tony’s post. Perhaps you are the one in need of a dictionary.

  26. Leland says

    Dear Sweet Adorable Ignorant Girlfriend of Tony, Gregg. Exactly HOW is Towleroad “immensely” helping La Cause Phelps? I just returned from torturing Andy by making him listen to “Yma Sumac Goes Electric” at 200 decibels while I cut paper dollies out of all of his Rufus photos so I’m convinced he was telling the truth when he swore that he doesn’t receive a cent for promoting Freddie Krueger, er Phelps. No kickback on hits to their site, or Google searches for “Religious Retards,” or times he shows their picture. It’s all in your head——but, then, there’s so much room there [he said, avoiding any reference to the misuse of the plural verb “do” with the singular (group) noun “clan”].

    Perhaps you are simply [base word “simple,” as in “simple-minded”] one of those childlike adults, of which we have had many examples of late, who magically believe that if you ignore Evil it will simply [there’s that word again] go away. Read slowly, out loud: IT WON’T!

  27. anon says

    Madalyn Murray O’Hair, founder of American Atheists and winner of the SCOTUS decision to remove prayer from public schools was as nasty in person as Phelps ever was and was killed after her scheme to rip off the organization she founded went awry while fleeing the country (some criminals don’t like to share apparently). The weak investigation into her death partially exonerated her, but most don’t consider the official investigation to be the true picture. Her killer confessed and died in prison. Other accounts of her earlier stealing from the organization exist.

  28. Dean says

    Oh, dear.

    Along with having difficulty with opposing thoughts, some people apparently can’t read.

    I believe I said… let’s check… oh, yes!… “If the atheists were in charge…” The majority always has the upperhand and it’s easy for them to discriminate against those with differing opinions. That’s what anti-discrimination laws are suppose to prevent.

    Making comments about “Getting rid of all religion” or “All Christians” is just as ignorant and short-sighted as the fanatics that we are supposed to be fighting against.

  29. Daniel says

    “If the atheists were in charge…”–Fine Dean, since your point can neither be proved nor disproved we’ll just say you’re right.

  30. Gregg says

    Leland – I guess by referring to me as “girlfriend” you are trying to belittle me. A bit misogynistic if you ask me. Yeah yeah – I know – you didn’t ask.

    I don’t condone ignoring evil, as you imply. I do condone ignoring publicity whores. I never stated that Andy receives “kickbacks” from Phelps. That little tidbit is “all in your head,” not mine.

    Let me try and spell it out slowly for ya:

    1) La Cause Phelps = getting their message out through publicity.
    2) Towleroad publishes their pics showing their signs/messages.
    3) La Cause Phelps is achieved.

    Not too hard to put together. There are ways of reporting this issue without becoming a venue for the “Westboro Baptist Church” message. Showing repeated pics of these lame protests just fuels their fire.

    I do appreciate your pointing out my misuse of the word “do”, but, Darling, this isn’t English class and I’m not writing for a grade here. Try focusing on the point I’m making. Picking apart grammar and definitions does nothing to advance your point. Or perhaps you don’t have one…

  31. pacificoceanboy says

    madilyn’s thievery vs 2,000 years of massacering whole nations that wouldn’t convert, burning herbalists and midwives at the stake as witches, and burning us gays right along with them as supposed acomplices in “black masses” and kissing the devil’s behind (they actualy believed a real devil would pop up from the ground and gay men realy and trully kissed the devils ass…LOL though rimming is fun)

    Anyway; the point is I will take madilyn’s thievery over all of xtian history any freaking day.

    Not to discriminate, I would also toss islam, judaism, hinduisn, budhism etc. Taoism has some redeeming qualities but it is a philosophy and not a religion per say.

  32. Dean says

    No, Daniel, *history* has proven my point. Anytime you have a majority opinion, the minorities are in danger of being discriminated against. I’ll even go one better (and probably REALLY get slammed for this)… If gay people were the majority, do you think there wouldn’t be some who would treat straight people exactly as we are being treated now?

    This is the constant battle. You CANNOT make your opinion more important than someone else’s. What we must fight against is the making of opinions into law.

    Don’t throw out the baby with the bath water. Just because some so-called religious people are fanatics, it doesn’t follow that we all are.

  33. Joe T. says

    Maybe, PacificOceanBoy, but what are we gonna do? We’d have to toss mass-murdering atheism away too, and then there’s nobody at all left. I’ll still keep those other religions though. At least they gave us Jonas Salk and Isaac Newton.

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