News | Shirley Phelps-Roper

Josh Kilmer-Purcell Talks to Shirley Phelps-Roper


Josh Kilmer-Purcell talks to Shirley Phelps-Roper of Westboro Baptist Church on the latest Feast of Fools podcast (recorded before Heath Ledger's death and their latest announcement to picket his funeral).

According to Feast of Fools, "Shirley Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church presents TWO choices for America: ONE, imprison and then execute the gays because that’s what the Bible says or TWO, give gays all the same rights that every other American enjoys. Shirley states that you don’t get to base your discrimination against gays on the Bible’s morality if you don’t have the the determination to back it up. Which to reiterate is imprisonment and then death. There is no soft line stance. It’s black or white."

Kilmer-Purcell recently set up a website, Phags for Phelps, contending that Westboro Baptist Church is the best message for tolerance out there right now. Says Kilmer-Purcell, "Fred Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church family just might be the most important GLBT activists since Stonewall. Why? Quite simply, because they give homophobes a bad name. Unlike stealth homophobes, the Phelps clan don't hide their repugnance under a bushel. Every time they appear on the nation's television screens, they show millions of Americans just how ugly unadulterated bigotry is."

Listen to the podcast here.

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  1. I'm super disappointed in JKP. I LOVED "I Am Not Myself These Days" and while I can certainly understand his point of showing the homophobe out in the open, why must we continue to give the Westboro Church anymore free publicity. These people THRIVE off of it.

    I also find the timing of the "Phags for Phelps" suspect as JKP has a new book that is set to be released very soon. It's a smart marketing move-- perhaps to keep people talking about JKP-- but in the end I find it disappointing as he's a very talented writer. Bad move Josh.

    Posted by: Joe | Jan 25, 2008 11:45:55 AM

  2. Well first she needs to prove a few things for me. Mark16:18 states this about Christians “they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well."
    So if she would handle a Black Mamba while drinking some hemlock tea I’ll stop being Gay.

    Posted by: 1♥ | Jan 25, 2008 11:49:03 AM

  3. I am totally in agreement with this woman. When you realize that one of the founding members of Phelps' church was one of the most important civil rights lawyers decades ago, you begin to wonder whether or not this is all some brilliant sham. Everytime Phelps and his team protest the funeral of some marine killed in Iraq, millions of people see how disgusting it is to be homophobic.

    Posted by: Adam Vanderlip | Jan 25, 2008 11:55:30 AM

  4. I wish you'd stop giving these idiots screen space. Not interested in the media relations push - it's one thing if they've done something or (hopefully) somebody has done something to them. But don't aid them in getting their message out by covering them under any other circumstances!!

    Posted by: David B. | Jan 25, 2008 11:56:23 AM

  5. I am so sick of you weak people telling Andy to bury news stories about things you disagree with. Go stick your head in the dirt of your own ignorance.

    Posted by: JLS | Jan 25, 2008 12:15:22 PM

  6. I don't understand why Andy posting any news on them is helping them?

    Are some of his readers going to turn into homophobes? What exactly does WBC *gain* from the exposure? Especially on this site?

    Posted by: gabriel | Jan 25, 2008 12:44:17 PM

  7. It's an astute move by JKP and I support him whole heartedly.

    These ghouls are a PR nightmare for the Christian Right because they unmask the hatefulness hidden in the message: they hate the sinner and the sin.

    They lose every argument they ever participate in simply by showing up. We should give them a platform, they're like a glass of water to the face to people who have never really considered where all that right wing Christian sophistry ends up.

    Posted by: FASTLAD | Jan 25, 2008 12:51:44 PM

  8. Is it me, or does anybody else agree that she could use some makeup? she looks soo devilish lol

    Posted by: Rafael | Jan 25, 2008 12:58:15 PM

  9. I tend to agree that shining a light on the Phelps clan helps to expose homophobia as it exists in one of its more extreme cases. In fact I don't think enough citizens know about those idiots. I wish that it would make clear the need for maintaining separation of church and state. I loathe reading or hearing Biblical arguments by politicians, op ed writers, bloggers, or anyone. It's not germane to political discourse!

    Posted by: Scott | Jan 25, 2008 12:58:46 PM

  10. I think Josh is great; but it was really Fausto and Marc doing all the work! Teamwork is fun--and so is giving proper credit. So thanks to towleroad for posting the link. I'm a fan of all of you guys by the way.

    Posted by: Jason | Jan 25, 2008 1:04:34 PM

  11. I've said it for YEARS now... the Phelps clan is one of the most effective tools for GLBT advocacy. Shirley Phelps, for all her freakishness, is correct... you can't pick and choose how to apply Biblical law if you're claiming to be a literalist, born-again Christian. If you can't handle it, then maybe you should back off your holier-than-thou shit. And Josh is also correct in that showing low-grade homophobes (such as those in more mainstream evangelical churches or "social conservatives") what happens when their little white biases are taken on the short trip to their logical conclusion is very effective in making those people take a step back and think about what they really think is fair and right and just.

    More Phelps clan, please. Anything that links anti-gay bigots with these freaks can only help us. The truth hurts, but in this case it's a good hurt.

    (I still think Phelps et al are an ingenious ploy by the GLBT movement... one day I think I'll be proven right about this.)

    Posted by: The Milkman | Jan 25, 2008 1:05:50 PM

  12. I liked Shirley Phelps. Kind, down-to-earth, modest,...but those three nasal queens constantly tying to be funny(flippant) on a oh-so-serious-topic?! Classic gay flippancy worth shit. Not wonder people see gay men as frivolous and shallow. Yech.

    Posted by: Nikko | Jan 25, 2008 2:23:45 PM

  13. I wish I could think that Phelps was an agent-provocateur...but anybody thinking that is extremely ill-informed. Go read about him on wikipedia. The preponderance of evidence strongly suggests he IS absolutely nuts. The allegations of physical abuse of members of his family, the fact that 2 of his children are estranged from him, the fact that he's been obsessed with religion since childhood, etc. etc. No, he is the real deal.

    As to whether he benefits or harms the GLBT rights cause, I think that is a more complex question that some have stated here. As we know nobody (in middle America) cared when Phelps protested the funerals of AIDS victims. Yes he does help some people to see how ridiculous religionism is, but those people would probably have seen it sooner or later in some other way. I fear many of the brain-dead megachurch-attending zombies just disapprove of his method (picket war casualty funerals) vs. his actual message. People who think this benefits us, are, to me, incorrectly letting their own skepticism color their beliefs about what other people are likely to believe. It's not impossible that he's helped to totally convert some away from fundamentalism, but the numbers would be very small. I think there's an opportunity for a sociologist to study this question.

    Posted by: D Torrance | Jan 25, 2008 2:27:39 PM

  14. D Torrance -

    Wikipedia? I'm not so sure thats the greatest place to rely on for information, but I do agree that the guy is nuts and I'm not so sure about the theories on here that this all some grand scheme to show the world how bad homophobia is.

    Regarding whether or not his (and WBC's) ways are beneficial or harmful for the community? Well... since most of the WBC members are his family, I have a hard time believing that WBC has an outreach program that is really working for them. I'm thinking they're either turning heads away from them, or people are ignoring them.

    Posted by: gabriel | Jan 25, 2008 2:41:44 PM

  15. The Phelps's are for real. Pat Robertson probably wishes they would just go away. Most evangelical "leaders" are in it for the money, honey, so Phelps is hardly the main publicity whore here--to use his favorite word. They have vast empires built on bilking the credulous and he has a square block to himself in Kansas and lots of free publicity. This isn't apples and oranges, its apples and moons.

    Posted by: anon ( | Jan 25, 2008 4:25:42 PM

  16. Doesn't she have an illegitimate kid?

    Posted by: kybarsfang | Jan 25, 2008 9:17:48 PM

  17. She did admit to having an illegitimate son in a recent documentary by Keith Allen. See the videos on youtube from user natr75. I'm glad he had the stomach to visit these freaks, because I thought that Louis Theroux's efforts were a bit of a whitewash.

    Gabriel, I think wikipedia is often a good source of information. In this case I agree I was mistaken, because it looks like wiki editors have spinelessly resected the history of abuse from the Fred Phelps article, for fear of a lawsuit. All non-cult offspring of Fred have corroborated the extreme physical abuse during their upbringings - that's about as non-libelous as you are going to get for events that happened 30 years ago. Just google "addicted to hate phelps". Presumably wiki is now presenting scientology as just another religion.

    Posted by: D Torrance | Jan 26, 2008 7:05:34 PM

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