Fred Phelps | New York | News | Supreme Court | Westboro Baptist Church

Margie Phelps Speaks Out On Cordoba House, Illustrating Political Overlap


Fred Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church catch a lot of flack for their anti-gay, anti-America, anti-everything protests. The family shouldn't be dismissed as simple right wing nuts, though, because their politics aren't always so different than those found on the left.

Take, for example, Margie Phelps' remarks about Cordoba House, the so-called "Ground Zero Mosque," which she supports. "We say we're the melting pot, we say you get the practice your faith according to your conscience with no restraint from the government, you have that liberty. Why, against that framework, would anybody be so un-American as to suggest that Muslim Americans cannot worship their God according to their conscience," said Phelps, who argued Westboro's case before the Supreme Court earlier this week. Similar arguments have been made by people on the left, like Keith Olbermann.

But of course Phelps, who's Fred's daughter, couldn't resist getting in a low, decidedly discriminatory blow, telling Talking Points Memo, "Now [Islam is] a false religion, no question about that, but they don't have to agree with me on that."

As for the Supreme Court case, in which Westboro claims their First Amendment rights are being curtailed, Phelps said, "You've got 310 million saying 'God Bless America.' You've got 60 saying 'God Curse America.' That stinking First Amendment isn't worth the paper it's written on unless it protects those 60."

If nothing else, the Westboro Church should show us that politics isn't always black and white: people who are you rivals on one issue may be the closet ally on another.

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  1. I wish we could stop giving these freaks so much press and publicity. It's 60 people. It's getting old.

    Can we just stop giving them the PR they are looking for and just, gracefully, turn our backs on them?

    I'm sick of reading about them.

    Posted by: HellsKitchen | Oct 8, 2010 12:52:21 PM

  2. It's not unexpected at all if you know that extremists on either side of the divide have a lot more in common than that they don't. Same tactics, and in many cases, same beliefs...different reasons for having them in some cases, or not. Extremism, wherever it comes from, is a cancer. Olbermann, like all cable newspeople, is an entertainer, though...I wouldn't call him an extremist, and he's certainly not as bad glenn beck, another entertainer who happens to be extremely bigoted (e.g., having dinesh desouza on as a credible guest to explain his anti-obama conspiracy theories for astroturfers) religious demagogue.

    Posted by: TANK | Oct 8, 2010 12:53:07 PM

  3. Strange, and yet not so strange. They are so absurdly against us so that they cheer our deaths and the deaths of American soldiers, but they accept Muslims more than quite a few conservative polititians. Then agian, Muslim is a religion, being gay isn't.

    Posted by: ravewulf | Oct 8, 2010 12:53:34 PM

  4. O gee, thanks for your tireless work in humanizing these killers.

    Posted by: adamblast | Oct 8, 2010 1:01:31 PM

  5. oh please. What she's saying about Cordoba House is to protect the first amendment, the same amendment she's seeking to be protected by. It has all to do with winning the case, and nothing to do with what she or WBC believes.

    Posted by: Brian | Oct 8, 2010 1:06:05 PM

  6. How about we just dismiss them as nuts instead of as right wing nuts?

    Posted by: bklynbryan | Oct 8, 2010 1:06:46 PM

  7. Didn't Fred Phelps make a statement to clarify the WBC was the first to burn Korans back during the "Koran Burning" scandal on 9/11?

    I think that brings a 3rd overlap to this!

    Posted by: Christopher | Oct 8, 2010 1:21:09 PM

  8. Interesting that she thinks that Muslims should be allowed to worship Allah, but we shouldn't be allowed to worship cock.

    Posted by: Wrecks | Oct 8, 2010 1:23:09 PM

  9. Phelps himself was a huge anti-discrimination lawyer back in the day taking on jim crow laws in kansas

    He also sued Reagen for appointing an ambassador to the vatican on the ground sof a violation of separation of church and state

    sometimes I wonder if the phelps clan are conducting kabuki theater. The only members of their church are family members just like phelps law firm when he fought for very liberal causes was staffed predominantly by his family

    Their antics always come back and help us in the end so one can't help but wonder if it is all just a choreographed act showing america the crazyness of being a bible thumper

    Posted by: | Oct 8, 2010 1:44:11 PM

  10. They have a point. They can talk all the crap they want about gays going to hell, and hate America for supporting gays. But maybe, they would agree that gays deserve equal protection under the LAW, irrespective of religion. Since they seem to be able to differentiate between religiously hating Islam and agreeing with their oppression.

    Posted by: ila lwara | Oct 8, 2010 2:02:23 PM

  11. I meant "... agreeing with the fact that they are oppressed, and deserve equal protection under the LAW."

    Posted by: ila lwara | Oct 8, 2010 2:04:21 PM

  12. I agree with WBC on several things:
    DISLIKE George Rekers, Ann Coulter, Jerry Falwell, BushII, Pope Benedict, and last but not least Justin Bieber.
    LIKE Betty White (seriously).

    Posted by: kansastock | Oct 8, 2010 2:05:09 PM

  13. If only they accepted Judaism as much as they apparently accept Islam, I've seen the Phelps Klan protest a North Side synagogue (which, admittedly is lgbt affirming).

    Posted by: Chitown Kev | Oct 8, 2010 2:20:45 PM

  14. They get their money to exist as a "church" from these lawsuits (they win), stop suing them and they run out of money.

    Where were people when they protested Randy Shilts' funeral?

    Posted by: Shawn | Oct 8, 2010 2:25:02 PM

  15. Be careful wandering into "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" territory. The Phelps cult's defense of Cordoba House is based on the absolute primacy of the right to religious freedom over all other rights, and WILL NEVER equate to equal rights for all. America is going to Hell not because it doesn't respect human rights, but because it sins in the eyes of a fanatical familial cult. Does the same freedom that allows these people to conduct their hideous protests, also protect every gay pride parade? Does it protect our right to protest at Fred Phelps funeral? Maybe, but the Phelps only want their rights protected in so far as it supports their delusional "protests".

    Posted by: naiset | Oct 8, 2010 2:27:11 PM

  16. That's like saying "hey, we both breathe air, we're basically the same." There are no fundamental similarities between "the left" and Westboro. They SHOULD be dismissed as right wing nuts, because they are.

    Posted by: Matthew Rettenmund | Oct 8, 2010 2:41:15 PM

  17. Please help me here. Is the author of this piece actually comparing Olbermann to right wing extremists? Is it Andy who is doing this comparison??? Wow. Even if you don't like Keith, this is beyond the pale for me. Mr. Olbermann has been keeping the public informed of the suspicious goings on in government, and society at large, from the bush days. Tell me, what good have the Westboro group done?

    Posted by: Reggie | Oct 8, 2010 2:53:06 PM

  18. @Shawn - Your are SO right. I was at that protest against those assholes.

    Posted by: ronnykmarshall | Oct 8, 2010 2:56:13 PM

  19. Let's not get hasty with the removal of the description "right-wing nuts" because they have a semi-sensible opinion on one issue.

    They are right-wing nuts, and they do a LOT of damage ... but they wouldn't if the media would just frakking IGNORE them.

    I know someone who's spoken to Phelps. The main thing he wants is to be on TV; he even admitted to always having wished he had his own show. Stop putting them on television and stop writing about them in blogs, and no one will notice these 60 people.

    Posted by: Sean | Oct 8, 2010 3:07:15 PM

  20. It's killing me, but I think the Phelps' are probably in the right on this one particular issue.

    Posted by: Casey | Oct 8, 2010 3:09:05 PM

  21. I can see the dichotomy.
    Even though I am a proud liberal on many, many issues, I am also pro-life (except in the cases of rape, incest, and in the cases where a mother's life is at stake).

    Posted by: Rodney Wollam | Oct 8, 2010 4:23:58 PM

  22. The very first time I remember hearing of Freedom of Speech was as a small child hearing that Nazis were going to march nearby. I knew even then that they had that right.

    The Phelps crew are idiots and really strange, but, I'd rather live in a country where they are allowed to say what they want and make fools of themselves than a place where they are not allowed that freedom.

    Btw, I say MORE PR for them. They are so ridiculous the average person dslikes them on first experience or exposure to them. The best thing they ever did for us was to start protesting at Armed Forces funerals. They make homophobia look absolutely ridiculous.

    Posted by: Derek Washington | Oct 8, 2010 4:49:04 PM

  23. Just because they suppor the Cordoba House does not mean I agree with them on that point.

    Because not all gay people support the Cordoba House to begin with. Most devout Muslims probably have just as much disdain for gays as the Phelps do.

    And I still think it is disrespectful to have it two blocks away when the terrorists were praising Allah as the planes hit those towers. Not that they represent all Muslims, but it is still brings a lot to mind. And does not leave room for much sensitivity.

    I hope this blog does not think all gays support this cultural center's location and should pause and reflect at the reflections of this montrous pig on the entire matter.

    Posted by: Tell it like it is | Oct 8, 2010 8:58:59 PM

  24. By the way - freedom of speech does have limits.

    Our forefathers were thinking of writing in newsprint when they referenced freedom of speech.

    People also have the right to have the funeral of a loved one in peace.

    Freedom of speech might be the new religion in the United States. But it is not mine.

    Sometimes I think there is way to much of it. From all spectrums.

    Posted by: Tell it like it is | Oct 8, 2010 9:02:02 PM

  25. I don't think anyone is trying to take away her right to dissent. What people are trying to do is take away her assumed "right" to terrorize and traumatize the grieving families of fallen soldiers. There needs to be a line drawn somehow.

    Posted by: Tone | Oct 8, 2010 11:24:46 PM

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