Difference between revisions of "Westboro Baptist Church"

From Conservapedia
Jump to: navigation, search
(Blanked the page)
Line 1: Line 1:
[[Image:20001025 xnjdo FredGoreFiny.jpg|thumb|240px|right|Rev. [[Fred Phelps]] with [[Nobel Peace Prize]] winner [[Al Gore]] at a Westboro Baptist Church event.]]
The '''Westboro Baptist Church''' (WBC) is a [[radical]], self-proclaimed [[Christian]] church headed by pastor [[Fred Phelps]]. The church is located in [[Topeka]], [[Kansas]], and  receives most of its publicity from its infamous "God Hates Fags" protests. It was founded in 1955, and began picketing in 1991 - it claims to have picketed over 45,300 times since then. It consists of a family of lawyers working for the Phelps Chartered Law Firm who reap massive monetary awards from suing those they rile up.<ref name=aol>Stone, A. (2011, May 3). [http://www.aolnews.com/2011/03/03/fred-phelps-daughters-may-misread-bible-but-they-know-the-law/ Fred Phelps' Daughters May Misread Bible but They Know the Law]. ''AOL News''.</ref> The "church" is draped with an upside-down [[American Flag]], and is contained within a walled compound housing it and five homes for Fred Phelps and his relatives. The [[ACLU]] has filed lawsuits in [[Ohio]] and [[Missouri]] on behalf of Westboro's activities without success.<ref name=fred>''Southern Poverty Law Center''. [http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-files/profiles/fred-phelps Fred Phelps]. ''Intelligence Profiles''.</ref> 
The WBC is closely monitored by both the [[Anti-Defamation League]] and the [[Southern Poverty Law Center]], and is regarded by the latter as a hate group.<ref name=spc>[http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-files/groups/westboro-baptist-church Intelligence Files: Westboro Baptist Church]. ''Southern Poverty Law Center''.</ref> While mainstream [[Christianity]] rejects [[homosexuality]] as [[sin]], following [[God]]'s example, true Christians [[love]] the sinner. In contrast, WBC demonstrates no love for the sinner, and their attitude is considered to be one of hate. While the name implies that the church is affiliated with other mainstream [[Baptist]] churches, the WBC is independent of mainstream Christianity. The church's members are almost entirely family members and are infamous for their protests and pickets at the funerals of soldiers who died in the line of duty, where they take the opportunity to denounce what they consider to be [[America]]'s acceptance of homosexuality. The name of their website reflects this.  Their antics are denounced across almost all spectra of political and religious thought. Their hatred, and seeking of publicity, goes beyond homosexuality.  They also protested the [[Pope]]'s visit, calling him the [[anti-Christ]].
==Family Law Firm==
Fred Phelps graduated from [[Washburn University School of Law]] in Topeka in 1962<ref name=phelps>[http://fredphelps.com/ About Fred Phelps]. ''FredPhelps.com''.</ref> and designed his church/family as a giant [[law firm]] used to sue those angry enough to retaliate against the "church" or to bar its offensive activities from their communities. Eleven of Phelps' thirteen children are [[lawyers]]. All five of the attorneys for the [[Phelps Chartered Law Firm]], which Fred Phelps founded in 1964, are his children.<ref name=aol /> The firm is located at 1414 S.W. Topeka Blvd. in Topeka, Kansas.<ref name=powder>Fry, S. (2010, October 5). [http://cjonline.com/news/state/2010-10-05/powder_sent_to_phelps_law_firm Powder Sent to Phelps Law Firm]. ''The Topeka Capital-Journal''.</ref>
{{cquote|"'They scrupulously obeyed the ordinance' that kept them and their 'God hates fags' and 'America is doomed' signs away from the funeral of Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, said Mark Potok, who directs Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Project. 'They're good at this,' Potok said, noting that the family has successfully sued many communities for monetary damages after they tried to restrict the family's constitutionally protected protests. 'They understand the First Amendment very, very well. They are not stupid people. They are vile people.'"
-Andrea Stone, ''AOL News''<ref name=aol />}}
The Kansas Supreme Court disbarred Fred Phelps himself in 1979 for a lack of ethics; he agreed to stop practicing law on condition 5 of his children (accused of making false accusations against federal judges) could continue to do so.<ref name=aol /> Because the firm represents Westboro Baptist Church in its lawsuits, it can use money from cases it wins to further fund the church.<ref name=spc />
{{cquote|"'They have a very well-respected law firm in Topeka,' Sherman says. 'People in town said, Well, we don't like them, but if we want to win a case, we'll go to them.' Church spokeswoman Phelps-Roper says their booming employment and family law practice pays the bills for their travels across the country, when they shout their anti-gay message. They travel in vans to keep down the costs, which she says can add up to $200,000 a year... The protests are in themselves a source of some income, according to Potok. Over the years the Phelpses have filed lawsuits against communities that try to stop them from demonstrating. 'And as a general matter they have won,' he says. 'They know their [[First Amendment]] rights very well, and they've been very good at defending them.' When they win, they often receive tens of thousands of dollars in court fees. And their winning streak is likely to continue, now that the [[Supreme Court]] has decided that Westboro's right to [[free speech]] trumps the right of families to bury their loved ones undisturbed."
-Barbara Bradley Hagerty, ''NPR''<ref name=npr />}}
Westboro's membership is made up of Fred Phelps, 9 of his 13 children (the others are [[estranged]]), their children and spouses, and a few other families and individuals.<ref name=spc /> Almost all of the church's roughly 100 members are related to Fred Phelps.<ref name=npr>Hagerty, B.B. (2011, March 2). [http://www.npr.org/2011/03/02/134198937/a-peek-inside-the-westboro-baptist-church A Peek Inside the Westboro Baptist Church]. ''NPR''.</ref> All four of Phelps' estranged children asserted in 1993-94 interviews that their father's religious beliefs were either non-existent or have dwindled to virtually nothing, and that Westboro serves rather to sate Phelps' addiction to hatred.<ref name=phelps /> Members of the family and their relationships to Fred Phelps include:
* Shirley Lynn Phelps-Roper, daughter.<ref name=aol /> Spokeswoman for the church, says that they picket funerals to make people angry so people will reject God and be condemned to Hell.<ref name=npr /> Lawyer for Phelps' law firm.<ref name=capital>Taschler, J. & Fry, S. (1994, August 3). [http://cjonline.com/indepth/phelps/stories/080394_phelps16.shtml Phelps' Law Career Checkered]. ''The Topeka Capital-Journal''.</ref>
* Jonathan Baxter Phelps, son. Lawyer for Phelps' law firm.<ref name=capital />
* Elizabeth Marie Phelps, daughter. Worked for Shawnee County Sheriff's Department<ref name=spc /> and a lawyer for Phelps' law firm.<ref name=capital />
* Rachel Hockenbarger, daughter. Lawyer at Phelps' law firm.<ref name=powder />
* Fred W. Phelps Jr., son. Works for Kansas' Department of Corrections as a staff attorney<ref name=spc /> and a lawyer for Phelps' law firm.<ref name=capital />
* Margie Jean Phelps, daughter. Works for the Kansas' Department of Corrections,<ref name=spc /> and a lawyer for Phelps' law firm.<ref name=capital />
* Katherine Phelps, daughter (estranged).<ref name=phelps />
* Dotty Phelps, daughter (estranged).<ref name=phelps />
* Abigail Phelps, . Worked in Kansas' Juvenile Justice Authority in staff development.<ref name=spc />
* Lee Ann Phelps, . Worked for Shawnee County Sheriff's Department.<ref name=spc />
* Brent Roper, son in law. Married to Shirley Phelps-Roper, they have 11 children and 9 grandchildren.<ref name=aol />
* Betty Joan Phelps, daughter in law. Married to Fred W. Phelps Jr. and a lawyer for Phelps' law firm.<ref name=capital />
* Paulette Phelps, daughter in law. Married to Jonathan Baxter Phelps and works at Phelps' law firm as an office assistant.<ref name=powder />
* Megan Phelps-Roper, granddaughter. Daughter of Shirley Lynn Phelps-Roper. Works for Phelps' law firm as a spokesperson.<ref name=heir>Arnett, D. (2011, November 21). [http://www.kansascity.com/2011/11/19/3275645/megan-phelps-roper-an-heir-to.html Megan Phelps-Roper of Westboro Baptist Church: An heir to hate]. ''The Kansas City Star''.</ref>
* Benjamin Phelps, grandson.<ref name=phelpsfour />
* Jacob Phelps, grandson.<ref name=phelpsfour />
* Charles F. Hockenbarger, .<ref name=timeline /><ref name=phelpsfour />
* Chris Davis, .<ref name=phelpsfour />
* Karl Hockenbarger, .<ref name=phelpsfour />
* Timothy Phelps, .<ref name=phelpsfour />
Members of the family who left the church and their relationship to Fred Phelps Sr. are as follows:
* Nathan Phelps, son. Nathan claims his father abused his children and wife to create an atmosphere of fear and maintain authority.<ref name=spc />
* Mark Phelps, son.<ref name=phelps />
* Katherine Phelps, daughter.<ref name=phelps />
* Libby Phelps, granddaughter. Married to Logan Alvarez.<ref name=heir />
Westboro has protested or otherwise targeted the following:
{{cquote|Calling from New York City where she was protesting at the United Nations building, church spokeswoman Shirley Phelps-Roper said she was happy Albert Snyder, the Marine's father, had filed the lawsuit. "If he hadn't put us on trial, we wouldn't have exploded around the world," she said of the media exposure.
-James Carlson and Kevin Elliott, ''Topeka Capital-Journal''.<ref>Carlson, J. & Elliott, K. (2009, September 24). [http://cjonline.com/news/local/2009-09-24/court_overturns_wbc_judgment Court Overturns WBC Judgment]. ''The Topeka Capital-Journal''.</ref>}}
* [[Homosexuals]], including [[Matthew Shepard]]<ref name=npr />, [[Ellen DeGeneres]], and Diane Whipple.<ref name=phelpsfour>[http://fredphelps.com/?page_id=4 About Westboro Baptist Church]. ''FredPhelps.com''.</ref>
* [[Billy Graham]].<ref name=phelpsfour />
* Victims of [[9/11]].<ref name=spc />
* Victims of the [[Virginia Tech]] massacre.<ref name=phelpsfour />
* Victims of the [[Westroads Mall]] massacre.<ref name=phelpsfour />
* Victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake.<ref name=phelps />
* U.S. soldiers killed in [[Iraq]] and [[Afghanistan]]<ref name=spc /> including Spc. [[Edward Myers]].<ref name=phelpsfour />
* The 17 soldiers killed aboard the [[USS Cole]] in [[Yemen]] in 2000.<ref name=fred />
* [[Amish]] schoolgirls murdered in [[Pennsylvania]].<ref name=spc />
* Victims who died when the I-35W [[Mississippi River]] bridge collapsed.<ref name=phelpsfour />
* Jews.<ref name=spc />
* The Catholic [[Pope]]<ref>http://www.adl.org/special_reports/wbc/default.asp</ref> and the [[Catholic Church]].<ref name=fred />
* AIDS victims<ref name=spc /> including Kevin Oldham.<ref name=phelpsfour />
* The [[Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints]] (Mormons)<ref name=phelps /> and the funeral of [[Gordon B. Hinckley]] its former president.<ref name=phelpsfour />
* [[Islam]] and Muslims.<ref name=phelps />
* The [[Ku Klux Klan]].<ref name=fred />
* [[Santa Claus]].<ref name=fred />
* Celebrities, including [[Justin Bieber]], [[Lady Gaga]], [[Sonny Bono]],<ref name=spc /> [[Jon Stewart]], [[Stephen Colbert]], [[Fred Rogers]], [[Reggie White]], [[Jerry Falwell]],<ref name=phelps /> [[Frank Sinatra]],<ref name=fred /> [[Heath Ledger]], and [[Coretta Scott King]].<ref name=phelpsfour />
* Political figures, including [[Bob Dole]], [[Bill Clinton]]'s mother<ref name=spc />, [[Ronald Reagan]], [[Princess Diana]], Supreme Court Justice [[William Rehnquist]], former Senator David Norris,<ref name=phelps /> Topeka Mayor James McClinton, and Princess Madeleine of Sweden.<ref name=phelpsfour />
* The nations of [[Sweden]], [[Canada]], and [[Ireland]].<ref name=phelps />
* Joseph Estabrook Elementary School in [[Massachusetts]].<ref name=phelps />
==Other Activism==
The Westboro Church helped run [[Al Gore]]'s Kansas campaign in 1988. Fred Phelps Jr. was a Gore delegate to the 1988 [[Democratic National Convention]]<ref name=phelps /> and invited to the first Clinton-Gore [[inauguration]] in 1993.<ref name=timeline>''Southern Poverty Law Center''. [http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2001/spring/a-city-held-hostage/fred-phelps-timel Fred Phelps Timeline]. Intelligence Report, Spring 2001, Issue Number: 101.</ref>
Phelps Sr. ran for [[Governor]] of Kansas in 1990 and received 6.7% of the vote. In 1992, Fred Phelps Sr. ran for [[U.S. Senate]] and received 30.8% of the ballots cast.<ref name=timeline />
Phelps has strongly supported [[Fidel Castro]] and [[Saddam Hussein]] in the past. Hussein allowed a group of Westboro delegates to visit Iraq to protest against the U.S.<ref name=phelps />
==Snyder v. Phelps==
In 2011 the church's speech - that is, their picketing of funerals - was ruled as protected by the [[First Amendment]] in the case ''Snyder v. Phelps''. The Church, represented by daughter of the pastor Shirley Phelps, had picketed a Marine's funeral, and the Marine's father had sued for intentional infliction of emotional distress. The [[ACLU]] and [[NPR]], amongst others, had filed amicus briefs in favor of Phelps, while many Congressmen filed on behalf of Snyder. [[Chief Justice]] [[John Roberts]] wrote, "As a Nation we have chosen a different course—to protect even hurtful speech on public issues to ensure that we do not stifle public debate. That choice requires that we shield Westboro from tort liability for its picketing in this case."
==See also==
* [[Fred Phelps]]
[[Category:Hate Groups]]
[[Category:Political Activists]]
[[Category:Racist Organizations]]

Revision as of 03:09, 10 February 2013