Fred Phelps Renews Push for “Matthew Shepard in Hell” Monument

On Monday morning, Casper, Wyoming dedicated a “historic plaza” containing monuments “honoring the Declaration of Independence, the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution, the Mayflower Compact, the Bill of Rights and the Magna Carta, the 13th-century law edict that restricted the powers of England’s monarchs.”

CasperIt also contains a monument to the Ten Commandments, which was put into storage in 2003 after the Freedom From Religion Foundation threatened a lawsuit over a religious monument on public property.

The Jackson Hole Star Tribune reports: “Adding to the controversy, the Rev. Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., offered to place a monument anywhere on city property declaring that slain gay University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard is in hell. The council rejected Phelps’ offer and looked at the historic plaza idea after Grand Junction, Colo., won a lawsuit against the American Civil Liberties Union. That ruling found that a Ten Commandments monument could be allowed if it were displayed in a context that played up its historical merit, instead of its religious attributes, so that a reasonable person would not think the government was endorsing a particular religion.”

Now, after four years, the “historic plaza” idea has come to fruition: “A marker at the entrance to the plaza refers to all six monuments as essential elements in the foundation of law in this country. ‘All great ideas evolve, and these principles are no exception,’ the marker states. Most of the documents refer to God, but only the Ten Commandments are considered to be the word of God. A marker next to the Decalogue refers to them as a ‘starting point of law.'”

But, like a bad stench, Phelps just doesn’t go away.

According to the Casper Star Tribune, he’s back pushing for the Matthew Shepard monument again: “Phelps said he would be willing to make his monument resemble the six others and would include a picture of Shepard and the engraving: “MATTHEW SHEPARD, Entered Hell October 12, 1998, at age 21, in Defiance of God’s Warning: ‘Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind; it is abomination.’ Leviticus 18:22.” Mayor Kate Sarosy said she had not received Phelps’ letter Monday evening and said she would speak with the city attorney and the other council members. ‘Mr. Phelps’ message is full of hate and not in the spirit of the monument plaza,’ Sarosy said.”

City dedicates historic plaza [jackson hole star tribune]
Phelps wants anti-gay monument [casper star tribune]


  1. MT says

    That is the most disgusting thing I have ever heard. If this was any ethnicity saying this about another ethnicity the condemnation would be deafening. All we get is “I haven’t gotten the letter.”

    I’m beyond disgusted with these people. If there was ever a case of taking away someone’s right to free speech it would be Phelps and his brood.

  2. scott1607 says

    Phelps is disgusting, but he and others like him are only encouraged and helped when other people allow their religious views to mix in with our supposedly separate state. Allowing the 10 Commandments as a monument because of its historical merit? Please… perhaps Casper should allow other monuments of other religious texts in for historical merit too. I for one would like to see some mention of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

  3. SeanR says

    There are other “broods” as you put it, MT and they should be dealt with. Don’t just be disgusted, tho’, it is necessary to counter this kind of speech. I think conservative/ liberal debates are healthy in a free society, but hate speech should not be allowed.

    As a gay man, while I do not accept the premise, I can understand conservatives and those who on religious grounds struggle with homosexuality. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t good people and it doesn’t mean that we might not have common ground on other issues. What Phelps etc. are purporting is hate and violence. They may not use guns, but it is violence nonetheless.

    This is hate speech wrapped up at politics – a form of drag – and Phelps should be prosecuted by the Bush Administration for this. If someone is spilling hate speech, instead of promoting the rich diversity of American culture, then they are at odds with the American Dream in a nasty, small-minded way and they are trampling over the grave of a dead gay man.

    I want to know why President Bush can let this kind of hate speech stand and be unchallenged. If he believes in Freedom, as he so often espouses, then, as Head of State, he cannot ignore how people go about spouting anti-gay hate speech. Freedom of Speech, I’m sure was not supposed to ensure, freedom to hate. Over to the learned ones in the US Supreme Court please.

  4. anon says

    The Hamurabi code is the starting point of law and predates the hebrews by a longgggggggggggggggggggggg time. Much of the decalogue actualy being lifted from the code of Hamurabi when the hebrews were slaves in babylon.

    American law in particular is based on British common law which predates christianity coming to the british isles by centuries and is based off of celtic pagan law and roman pagan law.

  5. 24play says

    “Freedom of Speech, I’m sure was not supposed to ensure, freedom to hate.”

    You’re mistaken, Sean. The Phelps clan is as free to spout its hate as you are to spout your PC platitudes.

    And frankly, blathering on about “hate speech” when we have a critically important “hate crimes” law up for a vote in Congress is stupid and dangerous. That’s exactly the confusion the religious right is exploiting in their opposition to the hate crimes legislation, claiming that it will make pastors proclaiming their religious beliefs from the pulpit illegal. So you’re making their case for them here.

    But you’re free and welcome to continue your stupid and dangerous speech here in the U.S.

  6. says

    Whatever it takes, these people have to be stopped. If they somehow manage to put up such an obscene monument, then it must be jackhammered into oblivion. This worthless bastard from hell is testing our resolve and it is time to draw a line in the dirt. He and his hag face daughter need to be eradicated from the Earth.

  7. ricardo says

    last time i heard that name or location was an unrefreshing experience at ono which was far removed from delicious or anything resembling “aloha spirit”….if some people are content with “this is as good as it gets” — it reminds me of the prudish confessional niece raping through a brown paper bag trogs who seem to cater to the subconscious sensibility of their less than endearing subterranean penance speeches by disrupting peaceful works of others by raising the hell speeches. not even remotely a follower, yet, i’m surprised by the hosting garbage that seems to invite this sort of nonsense, as though their really doing a public service in the end. these protests and purported creation of hate monuments are one thing — setting a scene within delicious for such crusty and trite redundancy seems a bit like the pot and the kettle.

    and telluride…..a beautiful town going through major personality shifts like plenty of places that have been over-hyped, over-developed, and trying to contend with far too much traffic — as some places are experiencing priggish prudes inviting themselves over for a cup of lipton orange pekoe peeky poo with an extended pinky.

    thank you andy.

  8. anon ( says

    Robert: aren’t you confusing him with someone else? I’m thinking of a fugitive polygamist named Warren Steed Jeffs perhaps.

    Ricardo: I think you’ll win a prize for obtuse language one day (like, what???).

    Phelps doesn’t seem interested in putting a monument on land he owns, so this is a publicity stunt.

  9. Cory says

    Yup, I was waiting to see how many posts it would take before someone made a personal attack (seven posts in, thanks to 24Play)… and we demand respect when we can’t even give it to each other. Nice.

    As for the topic, I agree with everyone’s point. It’s hateful, part of me wants it banned, but part of me knows it’s important as a distinction for what is truly important: acceptance and tolerance. I suppose without the Ann Coulter’s, Fred Phelp’s and Jerry Falwell’s of this world we wouldn’t have the many others who are in support of acceptance and freedom.

    However, I also think they should put a monument up, with Fred Phelp’s birthdate and the caption “The day the rest of the world entered hell”. God help us – if there is a God ;).

  10. says

    If you want to read more about the latest incident with the Phelps clan, check out this post on The Drudge Report with multiple comments posted by Phelp’s daughter, who was arrested in Topeka, Kansas on July 7th and charged with negligent child abuse, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, flag mutilation and disturbing the peace.

    Phelps-Roper said church members have protested at hundreds of military funerals across the country for 17 years. Westboro’s message during funeral protests is that the soldier deaths are God’s punishment for the nation accepting homosexuals.

    You can email Shirley Phelps-Roper, Fred Phelps daughter and co-conspirator of hate crimes at: . And please, tell this mongrel dog exactly what you think!

  11. Rafael says

    You nailed it ANON, this is just a cry for publicity. Mr. Phelps just goes to demonstrate once again how worthless himself and his cause truly are.

  12. 24play says

    Cory, I made no personal attack. As you’ll see if you reread my post, I criticized Sean’s decision to bring up “hate speech” because it plays into the fundies’ lies about the hate crimes bill.

    It’s an especially stupid and dangerous move right now, and I called it that. I declined to call Sean stupid for his egregious misunderstanding of freedom of speech. I said only that he was mistaken.

  13. DCN says

    Phelps is a joke. Nobody outside of his “church” (basement) takes him seriously. Guys like Dobson are the ones we need to worry about, as they actually have millions of people following them.

  14. Timothy says

    Yeah this is just more publicity for Phelps. Yawn.

    But I am disturbed by the response of the country to Phelps. There is a real effort to try and shut him up – laws passed against funeral protests, his daughter arrested for “descrating a flag” and for “child abuse” because her kid was protesting.

    Come On!!

    I think that the straight political structure is uncomforatable with the Phelps’ because his hateful speech mirrors their own attitudes too closely. They want to be anti-gay but not have to be called hateful. And when Phelps refuses to tone it down or couch his bigotry in “reasonable terms”, it shines a light on their own bigotry and shows it to be irrational and based on animus and arrogance.

    So they try and silence him and his family. Not because they like gay folks and want to defend them, but because they don’t like what they see in the mirror that Phelps holds up.

    I completely support Phelps’ right to his protest. First, because I support freedom of speech. But also because his hate needs to be on display so that the candy-coated happy spin that anti-gay activists put on their “family protections” can be exposed for the ugly vile nastiness that it really is.

  15. Rafael says

    There is nothing that justifies a protest at a funeral or the proliferation of hate, sorry Timothy but this is just lack of respect. Not everything we learn is engraved in our laws, some thing are mere common sense.

  16. Cory says

    24Play: I apologize if I misread the tone of your comments, but I assumes when you wrote

    “The Phelps clan is as free to spout its hate as you are to spout your PC platitudes.”


    “But you’re free and welcome to continue your stupid and dangerous speech here in the U.S.”

    that there was malice in your tone. Perhaps it’s from the proliferation of negative comments on this blog, such as the Ian Roberts discussion, but I automatically jump to the conclusion that the connotation is negative in nature.

    As for laws and arrests towards the Phelp’s clan and individuals stating this is in direct violation of freedom of speech and protest, I have this to say. i do not know much about exact laws, nor do I feign to, however in regards to stopping these protests at funerals and such I view it more as the intention to stop possible violence and rioting that these protesters might incite. Picketing funerals of slain soldiers and HIV/AIDS related deaths only infuriates and incites possible acts of violence, so in some way it keeps the possibility of physical aggression down. Certainly I realize when freedom of speech is threatened in any capacity, both hate AND peaceful speech is threatened. However, that depends on the line that needs to be drawn in determining how far this freedom may be extended. That sounds like dangerous territory, but there needs to be caps on everything in a controlled and peaceful system, since as nature dictates, when unchecked it may grow out of control (and that is apparent from the history of violence that has erupted in even peaceful demonstrations).

  17. el polacko says

    ‘anon’ beat me to it, but let me chime in that i’m tired of this canard about how the ten commandments are the basis for all law as if there were no laws before them… and that they are somehow not religious nor discriminatory when the very first ‘commandment’ is “i am the lord, thy god. thou shalt have no other gods before me”. sounds like a very private club to me.

  18. says

    I hope Fred Phelps burns in hell for being such an idiot when he dies and maybe gays and lesbians and transgenders will just protest at his funeral like he done poor Matthew Shepard,us Homosexuals should make a monument when Phelps dies and say the yr he died and how long Phelps been in Hell and all through rocks at his tomb,so how he likes to be hated on after he dies….I am surprised the idiot is still alive,bc of so many people that can’t stand him for what he done to Matthew and what he is trying to do,I hope Matthew’s mother Judy does something about him,he is full of crap that is all his probelem is….

  19. killallfags says

    that’s an awesome idea cuz fags are fucking disgusting and should burn. even if there isn’t a hell they should be burned on Earth, fucking faggot world.

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