Bronze-level articleFred Phelps

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Pastor Max Hardcore Fred Phelps

Fred Waldron Phelps, Sr. (1929 — 2014) was an American pastor, former attorney, and former leader of the Westboro Baptist Church, a self-described Primitive Baptist, Calvinist cult church in Topeka, Kansas, with around 60 members, most of whom are members of his extended family. Phelps and his church are infamous for their fanatical and vitriolic anti-homosexual rhetoric, made manifest by many demonstrations outside funerals and public events, which feature "colorful" picket signs emblazoned with cartoons of men having anal sex and mantras that usually take the form of "God hates [insert bête noire du jour here]." His conduct violated both the spirit and the letter of Christianity as most people understand that religion. [1] Phelps garnered a widespread negative response, including a spot on the UK Home Office's list of individuals prohibited from entering the country. He had as of 2010 or so made fewer public appearances and had handed over control over the day-to-day administration of the WBC to his daughter, Shirley Phelps-Roper. An all male board of elders may have replaced her. [2][3]

Once upon a time, Fred Phelps was a civil rights lawyer who eventually was disbarred for committing perjury on a case he filed on his own behalf.[4] However, his whole life was devoted to homophobia, to the point of alienating the entire world. Phelps' obsession with homosexuality raises a number of interesting questions.

Phelps was estranged from four of his thirteen children, allegedly due to "discipline that amounted to abuse".[5] He was arrested repeatedly for violent and non-violent offenses and had four criminal convictions. [6]

Phelps had the dubious distinction of being the only person in recorded history who made Sean Hannity (among others) seem rational.[7]

Contents

[edit] Westboro Baptist Church

Phelps's organization, the Westboro Baptist Cult Church, is based in Topeka, Kansas, US. Its first public service was held on the afternoon of Sunday, November 27, 1955. For over two decades Topeka citizens endured Phelps family protests by the doors of their churches before normal services and memorial services. Worshipers had to walk through WBC protesters with distressing signs and hate speech, there was a prolonged campaign before the relevant authorities legislated requiring WBC protesters to remain at a distance from church entrances. WBC had plenty of local practise before taking protests nationwide. [8]

Today, the church has about 40 members, most of whom are Phelps' family members. Towards the end of his life Fred Phelps was (not/no longer) the charismatic leader and Steve Drain maneuvered to get him excommunicated. [9][10][11] The WBC is described and monitored as a hate group by the Anti-Defamation League and Southern Poverty Law Center. [6]

Unfortunately, Fred’s ideas have not died with him, but live on, not just among the members of the Westboro Baptist Church, but among the many communities and small minds that refuse to recognise the equality and humanity of our brothers and sisters on this small planet we share.
—Nate Phelps, estranged son of Fred Phelps[12]

Nate Phelps notes the way people with different beliefs and orientations joined lovingly together to fight harassment from the Westboro Baptists and hopes communities uniting can be one positive legacy from his father. [12] The WBC held yet another protest less than a week after the death of Fred Phelps and Steve Drain found counter protestors expressing sympathy over the death incomprehensible. [13] Counter rallies give publicity to WBC but also give opponents the chance to promote social justice, to oppose intolerance, prejudice, xenophobia. [14] The future for WBC is speculative. [15]

[edit] Funerals

Picketing in Topeka, with the group's signature rainbow-colored picket signs.

The church makes a habit of picketing funerals, particularly those of soldiers (regardless of their sexual orientation), on the grounds that said soldiers did wrong fighting for a nation that doesn't execute homosexuals. They have been conducting these pickets since 1991. Interestingly, WBC also pickets many Christian organizations, including Jerry Falwell's funeral, because those organizations fail to believe that homosexuals should be executed, the viewpoint which WBC holds (that, and because Falwell referred to Fred Phelps as a "first-class nut"). In addition to their primary website, "God Hates Fags", they also run a whole site family, with URLs generally on the pattern of "godhatesexample.com". (Considering the views of Fred Phelps, you'd almost think that when they say "God" they mean "Fred Phelps.") Given the number of things that their god hates, he probably also hates the website, example.com, too, and possibly even Google, which might end up finding example.com for those searching for it.

Another notable target is Matthew Shepard, a homosexual who was murdered in a homophobic assault — the protest at his funeral initially gained Fred Phelps a good deal of attention. Phelps also hates Sweden for their policies on hate speech about homosexuals. He has even blamed the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami on Thailand's large Swedish tourist population. Other targets are countries in general, politicians, anyone prominent, and victims of both crime and natural disasters. Anti-Semitism has been prominent in Westboro as of late: they now target Jews as frequently as homosexuals.[16]

In 2012, the WBC apparently wanted to picket the funeral of Whitney Houston—but instead they decided to Photoshop themselves into a shot of the funeral procession.[17]

[edit] Other pickets

Westboro has recently taken to picketing schools, community colleges and universities claiming children and young people are not properly trained up in Godliness. [18] A proposed counter tactic is to confront them with silence. [19]

The Westboro Baptist Church announced plans to picket Sandy Hook elementary school "to sing praise to God for the glory of his work in executing his judgment."[20][21] The 6-year-olds were probably 'fag enablers' or some such.

[edit] Services

Phelps's sermons, some of which have been broadcast on radio or on his website, tended to last for around an hour, and consisted of an old man rambling incoherently to himself, getting agitated and shouting every few minutes, and quote mining the scriptures to support his warped and hateful attitudes.

[edit] Parishioners

Westboro Baptist Church consists mostly of Phelps's own family (though apparently not his entire family.[22]) Nine of the thirteen children of Fred Phelps had are still with the WBC but most of them left for some time. Those outside lose touch with their family, friends, identity, meaning in life and social structure and if they believe WBC teachings are in continual fear of Hell. Those who return penitent claim they get loving support and belong again but must obey WBC demands. [23]

WBC displays many of the indicators of being an abusive, coercive cult [24] though the excommunication of Fred Phelps shows he was not a charismatic cult leader in old age. [10] Even the KKK has protested against it.[25]

It's also considered very much an open question whether the Westboro Baptist Church is a church in fact as well as in name, or whether its churchness is simply a convenient legal façade with important benefits in the areas of taxes, finance, and First Amendment protections. Not many bona fide churches have a congregation composed (almost) entirely of one family, and the stunningly high proportion of lawyers among them is an added note of interest.

[edit] Russell Brand interview

In 2012 British comedian Russell Brand did an interview with two of the members of the church on his his show Brand X with Russell Brand. The two showed up looking like biker gang wannabes. After a brief and largely mocking interview, Russell brought on three gay friends, who also largely mocked the two. Oh, and they gave him a sign that said "Fag Pimp Brand", a moniker he embraced for the episode.[26]

[edit] Theological views

The theology of the WBC is an extreme variant of Calvinism. According to their beliefs:

  • Man is in a state of sin, and can only be saved by the grace of God.
  • This grace is not given freely to all, but only to God's "elect"
  • The elect are the people whom God has foreordained to salvation. All others are reprobates, who have been created for the express purpose of being sent to Hell. This is the Calvinist belief of unconditional election, a.k.a. "double predestination," which is a form of determinism; it explains why the Westboro Baptist Church protests aren't about proselytizing. The intent of their protests is to thank God for smiting us.
  • Those whom God chooses to condemn, he causes to sin by "hardening their hearts" against himself.
  • It is the duty of the elect to proclaim God's word (even though God will not cause the reprobates to listen). Their goal is not to win converts, or to "save" others, but simply to rebuke others for their sins.
  • No human being can say who is among the elect but those outside the WBC are certainly damned. [23]
  • All events on earth happen because of God's will. This includes natural disasters and actions committed by people. Events such as Hurricane Katrina, the September 11th attacks on New York and the financial recession of 2008-09 are therefore celebrated by the WBC as God's righteous destruction of reprobates.[27]
  • It is also the duty of the elect to praise and thank God for all such judgments. This is why the Phelps family is often seen with signs reading "Thank God for 9/11" and "Thank God for Dead Soldiers". They offered similar thanks for the recent $11 million judgment against them, because they see it as proof that God is hardening the hearts of men against them.
  • WBC members told Rebecca Barrett-Fox many times the Second Coming of Jesus would happen during the life time of Fred Phelps. [23]

Their obsession with homosexuality appears to be the result of the widespread acceptance of homosexuality in the world. For the members of the WBC, all sins separate man from God, and they do not claim that the elect are without sin. However, according to their beliefs, people must sincerely repent of their sins before they can be forgiven. For the members of the WBC, "gay pride" and the acceptance of homosexuality is tantamount to having "murderer pride" or thinking of child rape as being just another, equally valid form of sexual expression. Anyone who doesn't condemn homosexuality as evil is, according to the WBC, a "fag enabler", and deserving of divine retribution. Fred Phelps got emotional and refused to talk further to anyone who asked if he personally had homosexual inclinations. [28]

[edit] Phelps and the right wing

Phelps targeted Ronald Reagan because Reagan sent an ambassador to the Vatican and he condemned the Roman Catholic Church because of sex scandals. Phelps also approved some aspects of Fidel Castro and Saddam Hussein among other United States enemies. Many conservatives try to disassociate Phelps from themselves and the conservative movement in general and are embarrassed over the vulgarity of WBC campaigns. [6]

Some of his viewpoints are very similar to other members of the religious right. Like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell, Phelps associates recent tragedies inflicted upon the United States with God's wrath for the nation's growing acceptance of homosexuality. [29] The difference between them lies in Phelps's acceptance, and even encouragement, of these actions as part of God's will, while Robertson apparently thinks God is going too far by letting so many Christians die.

[edit] Reactions

The extreme hate of Phelps's church has led to a multitude of vigilante responses, some of which have been violent, most of which are non-violent. The Patriot Guard Riders are a group that physically blocks the presence of the Westboro Baptist Church, and students at a school counter-protested the Church. The Phelps family also seemed to take offense to a reporter's very friendly questions during an interview.[30]

For a time, the parody religion meme "God Hates Figs" was popular in colleges and online, under the theory that if you can't beat 'em, make fun of 'em. Another such parody was entitled "God Hates Shrimp", whose founder called up the Phelps' on their radio show.

At one instance, when the church was protesting a funeral at Topeka, Kansas, someone slashed the tires of their van. They drove all over Topeka, trying to find someone that would fix the problem, and every repair service told them that they wouldn't help them.

On a more positive note some presumably Universalists from a liberal Methodist group wrote, “If grace is true, then God’s love is welcoming Fred among the saints.” Others disagree. [31]

[edit] Getting sued

Most of his spiritually malformed spawn are lawyers as Phelps was, they routinely threaten to sue anyone who interferes with their hatemongering.

In 2007, the family of Lance Corporal Matthew A. Snyder were awarded $2.9 million in compensatory damages and a further $8 million in punitive damages for invasion of privacy and infliction of emotional distress after Phelps and his fellow hatemongers had protested at Snyder's funeral by displaying signs including one that said "Thank God for Dead Soldiers".[32] Phelps predicted that a higher court would overturn the decision "in five minutes" on freedom of speech grounds, and was proved right: the 4th Circuit Court of Appeal overturned the decision in September 2009, ordering Snyder's family to pay costs of $16,510.[33][34] The family appealed to the Supreme Court in March 2010[35] and appealed for donations in order to keep the case going.[34] March 2, 2011, The Supreme Court Ruled in favor of the WBC in an 8-1 decision, Justice Alito being the lone dissenter.[36][37]

[edit] Anonymous vs. WBC, or vice versa

In late February 2011, the WBC claimed that Anonymous had threatened to take down their sites. Anonymous claimed it was an inside job, just an attempt to gain publicity, and not a genuine threat of attack.

On 27 February, the David Pakman Show hosted Shirley Phelps-Roper and a member of anonymous on a live call-in show. During the course of the ten minute segment, after denying previous threats, and in response to the shrill Godbotherer's claims of invincibility, the representative from Anonymous pointed out that Anonymous had left a message on their server. He - or they - then proceeded to hack the site, which went down for a short while.[38]

Some folks claim the WBC was behind the threat, as they hoped to encourage hackers and later sue them. [39] [40]

After the Sandy Hook massacre, some part of Anonymous has released phone numbers and addresses of the clan to the internet after they cheerfully applauded the murder of over twenty young children. [41] If Westboro wanted attention from Anonymous now, they certainly got it. [42]

[edit] Fred and family

[edit] Domestic abuse

Many sources agree that Phelps regularly beat his children, especially his estranged sons, Nate and Mark Phelps[43]. An exposé called Addicted to Hate, written by estranged members, sheds light on life with Phelps. Two of his children were briefly taken into protective custody after marks of abuse were found, but Phelps intimidated the Topeka authorities into dropping the case; the records of this would have been destroyed had he not sued the Topeka Public Schools over the matter. One Christmas Day, Phelps beat his son Nate into shock with more than 200 strokes from a mattock handle after receiving a report that he had nicked some bulbs for Christmas lights.[24]

Phelps also encouraged husbands in his congregation to punch their wives; indeed, it was reported that one fellow took this to heart and later had to call Phelps for bail.[24] Three of the children say Mrs. Phelps was thrown down a flight of stairs.[24][44]

Nate Phelps[45] finally ran away from home on his 18th birthday. He now lives in Canada, is an atheist, works as a public speaker on LGBT rights and the connection between religious extremism and child abuse, and is writing a book about his life as the son of Fred Phelps as well as the subject of a documentary currently in production.[46]

Nate Phelps claimed in 2014 that Fred Phelps was near death in a hospice after the rest of the family excommunicated him for undisclosed reason. The family did not allow other excommunicated family members to visit Fred Phelps while he was dying. [28]

[edit] Fred's "work ethic"

Fred Phelps spent so much time hating everyone and beating his kids he couldn't be bothered to provide for his family, making his children earn most, if not all, of the money.

"It was an unusual family by any account. From a young age, Fred Phelps' children earned a major part of the family's income, perhaps even all of it, when they were required to sell hate-laced candy door-to-door for hours after school each day."[47]

[edit] Margie Phelps

Perhaps because Fred Phelps was getting too old, Margie Phelps played a more prominent role in the WBC. A British youngster, Harry Moseley died in 2011 from a brain tumour at the age of 11, after raising £500,000 for charity. [48] Then Margie wrote to Harry’s devastated family telling them they should have taught him about Heaven and Hell instead of encouraging him to raise money for charity and help people. While Americans might be used to that type of unpleasantness from the WBC, people in the UK were surprised and shocked. [49] [50]

[edit] Shirley Phelps-Roper

Shirley Phelps-Roper (one of Phelps' children) was the church's most active spokesperson, ran the church's day-to-day operations and was in charge of organizing their many protests. By being so active in the church and speaking on its behalf so often, Phelps-Roper has likely doomed the lot of them to hell.[51] She was featured heavily in the 2007 BBC documentary The Most Hated Family in America and the 2011 follow-up America's Most Hated Family in Crisis both presented by British documentarian Louis Theroux. She and her father were banned from the United Kingdom when they planned to protest in Basingstoke.[52] Other members of Westboro could be flagged and stopped if they attempted to enter the country.

One example of Phelps-Roper's outpourings took place on October 3 2006, when she managed to shock Fox News pundits Alan Colmes and Sean Hannity by claiming that the five Amish schoolgirls murdered earlier that week deserved to die.[53] Ironically, her first child (Samuel Phelps-Roper) was born out of wedlock, and everyone knows the Bible says that women who aren't virgins on their wedding night are to be put to death. It has been suggested that Phelps-Roper may have been ousted and an all male board of elders may have replaced her. [3][2]

In 2013, her daughter, Megan Phelps-Roper publicly announced that she'd left the WBC, and that the family has since cut her off.[54]

[edit] Stephen Drain

Unlike most members of the church, Stephen ("Steve") Drain is not related to the Phelps clan by blood or marriage and was not born into it. In the late 1990s, he made a documentary film, known variously as Hatemongers or Fred: The Movie, which involved extensive interactions with the Westboro church. Following the completion of the film, he and his family joined the church. Drain handles much of the multimedia for the church. This includes designing the protest signs, maintaining its website, and editing video for the website.

Drain looks like he may be Phelps' successor, [9] judging by the video "Lying False Prophets Are To Blame" in which he is captioned as "Watchman", is wearing a suit and tie, and gives a very Fred-like rant.

[edit] Lauren Drain

This former member of the Westboro Baptist Church (daughter of the aforementioned Stephen[55]) has written a tell-all book called Banished: Surviving My Years in the Westboro Baptist Church. In an interview, Drain hinted at the possibility that Phelps may have been a self-hating gay. While she hasn't actually directly stated that Phelps was gay, the possibility raises the question of Haggard's Law.[56]

[edit] WBC makes videos!

Fred hates Jon Stewart and his hooligan sidekick Stephen Colbert. For someone who seemed to hate sex, he sure was obsessed with coming. Note that this is probably the only time someone has claimed that The Daily Show was predicted in Biblical prophecy.

Fred hates Jerry Falwell. Fred hates Bill O'Reilly. Fred also sounded like he knocked back a few more than usual before going on camera.

Fred hates da Canucks. And Australia, too.

And Fred hates da media.

For some reason, Westboro also makes Lady Gaga parodies.

[edit] An incomplete list of things Fred Phelps and his god hated

Countries and nationalities
Organisations and companies
Other groups and demographics
  • Blacks, as Fred preached the Curse of Ham and associated with Pete Peters.
  • Homosexuals (obviously)
  • People who don't hate gays as much as he does (pretty much everyone)
  • Adulterers (unless it's Shirley Phelps of course).
  • Anyone who believes in free will
  • Jews (now very amusing, since two granddaughters are now attending a synagogue[61] as of March 2014)
  • Muslims
  • Mormons
  • American soldiers
  • Atheists [62]
  • Nerds[63]
  • Children from Oklahoma[64]
  • Liberals
  • Conservatives (not anti-gay enough).
  • Moderates
  • Anti-Nazi Groups
  • Neo-Nazis - "Fags are the real Nazis" - WBC (even though Hitler executed homosexuals in gas chambers)
  • Anonymous, 4chan, /b/ - Hacked their website which apparently had "protection from God", where can I get a God-level security server?
  • His children
Individuals
Everything else
  • Formula 1
  • Santa Claus
  • The World (godhatestheworld.com)
  • Heavy metal music
  • Earth - godhatesearth.com
  • Jesus. No, seriously. [71]
  • Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays
  • Long walks on the beach
  • Alpha Centauri
  • Pluto, probably
  • Life
  • Everything not listed below. (They don't yet have a reason to hate it? Don't worry, they'll find one.)

[edit] A complete list of things Fred Phelps and his god didn't hate

  • Fred Phelps Not so fast[72]
  • Westboro Baptist Church
Tumbleweed.gif


[edit] The end

In March 2014, it was reported that Phelps was on his death bed,[73] which either meant that he was about to

  1. find out the hard way about the cost of spreading such venomous hatred for most of his adult life
  2. merely become insensate worm food.
  3. be somehow proven right at the last minute.

It's left up to the reader as to which one of these fates is more appropriate.

On March 16 Steve Drain denied a statement from Nate Phelps that his father was near death, but admitted Phelps Sr. was in a hospice. Drain claimed that Phelps Sr. "has a couple things going on (...) The source that says he's near death is not well informed,". [74]

On March 20 Fred Phelps got to learn first-hand who God actually hated, if anyone. [75] Shortly after Fred's death, members of the church posted a eulogy which oddly didn't talk very much about him at all. [76] However, they did release a statement that (ironically) thanked God that Fred Phelps died.

The Internet mourned not the death of Phelps, but reactions were still mixed. Many rejoiced loudly and promised to piss on his grave. Others suggested that the ultimate form of retaliation is to respect Phelps more than he ever respected the world. Others said that we should simply forget Phelps forever and ignore what remains of his church, to prevent him from ever developing a legacy.

It was rumored that the heavy metal band Slayer would be protesting Fred Phelps' funeral, some even suggesting that the band members had set up camp outside the church in Topeka. Such rumors were dismissed by spokespersons of the band. Phelps' daughter, Margie, stated that no funeral will be arranged for her late father, and no details of his burial have been revealed. [77].

[edit] Excommunication

Around the same time as rumours of Phelps' pending demise started to circulate, there were rumblings that he had, in fact, been excommunicated from the church he'd founded. This followed a supposed power struggle within the church, which pitted a bunch of male elders, led by Steve Drain, against Phelps' daughter, Shirley. Initial reports claimed that Phelps had been shown the door, for "advocating a kinder approach between church members."[78]

However, after his death, his grandson, Zacharias Phelps-Roper, left the cult and later provided more insight on what happened:

Specifically, on the day that he was excommunicated, he stood outside of the front door of the church (but not within anyone's earshot but a few members of WBC who happened to be in the immediate vicinity)... I say, he spoke words to this effect to the Equality House: "You are good people." I feel like he had a change of heart after my grandmother nearly passed away, and he felt the pangs of loss ... he waited for news of her every day and night while she was in intensive care. I think this triggered a chain reaction whereby he developed great empathy for others... which would explain why he would support Planting Peace's anti-suicide and anti-bullying platforms, and their charities across the world.... I love my grandfather! And I believe people DO change, if they are inspired enough! [79]

The family allegedly excommunicated him for "rank blasphemy."

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

[edit] Footnotes

  1. "My take: Fred Phelps is wrong about the gospel, right about the law." Wayne Grudem (Research Professor of Theology and Biblical Studies, Phoenix Seminary_, CNN.com
  2. 2.0 2.1 Did Westboro Baptist excommunicate Fred Phelps for being too kind?
  3. 3.0 3.1 Elders excommunicate Phelps after power struggle, call for kindness within church
  4. State v. Phelps, 598 P. 2d 180 - Kan: Supreme Court 1979
  5. http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2001/spring/a-city-held-hostage/on-the-inside
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Southern Poverty Law Center on Fred Phelps
  7. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,217975,00.html
  8. Letter: Topeka deserves recognition for enduring Fred Phelps
  9. 9.0 9.1 This Man Is The Future of Westboro Baptist Church
  10. 10.0 10.1 Pastor Fred Phelps: 'An angry, bigoted man who thrived on conflict'
  11. Fred Phelps, founder of ‘God Hates Fags’ Westboro Baptist Church, is ‘on edge of death’
  12. 12.0 12.1 Westboro Baptist Church Ex-Member Nathan Phelps On Estranged Father Fred Phelps’ Death
  13. Westboro Baptist Church Holds First Protest After Founder Fred Phelps' Death
  14. Westboro Baptist Church: They're Baaaaack!
  15. What Next for the Westboro Baptist Church?
  16. For example, http://www.splcenter.org/blog/2009/10/13/westboro-baptist-attacks-%E2%80%98filthy-jews%E2%80%99-in-new-videos/
  17. "Westboro Baptist Church Tweets fake image of Whitney Houston funeral protest", GoPride.com
  18. Westboro Baptist Church Picket Schedule
  19. Don’t give Westboro the satisfaction
  20. Reports: As Newtown Plans Burials For Shooting Victims, Westboro Baptist Church Prepares To Picket, CBS Local New York.
  21. Anonymous Vows To 'Destroy' Westboro Baptist Church Over Plan To Picket Sandy Hook Funerals
  22. "[Fred Phelps]'s a sociopath.", "Rev. Fred Phelps' son tells about years of abuse at Westboro Baptist Church", GoPride.com
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 What's Really Going On With the Westboro Baptist Church? An Interview With Rebecca Barrett-Fox, WBC Expert
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 24.3 24.4 Addicted to Hate. (http://blank.org/addict/) Fred Phelps exposed. The complete text of Addicted to Hate provided by Topeka's anti-Phelps underground.
  25. KKK protests Westboro Baptist Church at Arlington National Cemetery
  26. Interview here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2JAErHl7lZ4
  27. A Bible passage cited in opposition to making these sorts of judgments is Luke 13:1-5, in which Jesus disavows the idea that some people who had suffered badly were "worse sinners" than others.
  28. 28.0 28.1 Fred Phelps (of Westboro Baptist Protests) Near Death
  29. Ed Farrell, Vice Mayor of a large Arizona town stated, "This world needs to get back to the biblical standards that our God made for us. This guy was not afraid to preach it, and I respect that. (...) I am just having a hard time with all of this (sic) gay and lesbian rights thing." Farrell later retracted after finding out that WBC campaign against the military and that The Onion is a satirical magazine. [1]
  30. http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=S8cN2pB3MCE
  31. Is Fred Phelps a Saint?
  32. $11 Million Awarded in Funeral Protest Suit, The Washington Post, November 1, 2007
  33. 4th Circuit nixes $5 million verdict against funeral protesters, First Amendment Center, September 9, 2009
  34. 34.0 34.1 Father Of Dead Marine Ordered To Pay Legal Fees Of Westobro Baptist Church Protesters, The Huffington Post, March 29 2010
  35. Westboro Church Protests Head To Supreme Court, The Huffington Post, March 8 2010
  36. High court finds for WBC, Topeka Capital-Journal, March 2, 2011
  37. US Supreme Court allows anti-gay funeral protests, BBC News, March 2, 2011
  38. http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/304090
  39. http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/02/phelps_v_anonymous_or_phelps_v.php
  40. http://anonnews.org/?p=press&a=item&i=494
  41. http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57559468-93/hackers-target-westboro-baptist-church-after-newtown-threat/
  42. Anonymous Vows To 'Destroy' Westboro Baptist Church Over Plan To Picket Sandy Hook Funerals
  43. Largely confimed by Nate Phelps at http://reedsecular.org/2008/12/18/like-father-like-son-inside-the-chaotic-world-of-nate-phelps/
  44. http://hopeandpolitics.blogspot.com/2006/07/abuse-as-theology-fred-phelps-son.html
  45. Nate has his own Wikipedia page
  46. http://www.alternet.org/activism/son-bigot
  47. http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2001/spring/a-city-held-hostage/on-the-inside
  48. History of Harry Moseley
  49. http://www.birminghammail.net/news/top-stories/2011/10/10/harry-moseley-s-mum-hits-out-at-vile-christian-group-s-twitter-tirade-97319-29567350/
  50. http://www.birminghammail.net/news/top-stories/2011/10/10/harry-moseley-s-devastated-mum-hits-out-at-vile-christian-group-s-attack-on-11-year-old-hours-after-his-death-97319-29567350/2/
  51. 1 Corinthians 14:34-35: "Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church."
  52. Brit ban for hate Preachers, The Sun, 18 February 2009
  53. Radical Westboro Baptist Church Claims Amish Community Was Punished by an Angry God, Fox News, 5 October 2006
  54. Megan Phelps-Roper Has Left the Westboro Baptist Church
  55. http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2013/apr/10/banished-surviving-westboro-drain-review
  56. Westboro Baptist Church Founder Fred Phelps May Be Gay, Suggests Former Member Lauren Drain
  57. http://youtu.be/Xmm-4HQ_hFU?t=11m37s
  58. http://www.godhatestheworld.com/india/index.html
  59. http://www.godhatestheworld.com/
  60. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/early-lead/wp/2013/05/01/westboro-baptist-church-to-protest-nba-playoff-games/
  61. Family Members Attending Synagogue, Dispatches From the Culture Wars
  62. [2]
  63. [3]
  64. KOCO (Oklahoma City): Kansas Church Plans To Picket Child Funerals: Westboro Baptist Church Cheers Child Deaths
  65. [4]
  66. http://rt.com/usa/news/westboro-funeral-jobs-phelps-247/
  67. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/06/westboro-baptist-church-steve-jobs-funeral_n_998032.html
  68. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/05/fred-phelps-lady-gaga-par_n_412080.html
  69. [5]
  70. [6]
  71. https://mobile.twitter.com/WBCSays/status/377212727346724864
  72. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/16/fred-phelps-dying-death-westboro-baptist_n_4974584.html
  73. Westboro Baptist Church founder Fred Phelps Sr. 'on the edge of death', New York Daily News
  74. Elders excommunicate Phelps after power struggle, call for kindness within church
  75. Founder of Westboro Baptist Church, Rev. Fred Phelps Sr. Dies, KSN TV
  76. Westboro Baptist Church Responds To Fred Phelps' Death: 'Your Dashed Hopes' (STATEMENT)
  77. No Slayer protesting Fred's funeral? That sucks! http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/586179-fred-phelps-funeral-no-slayer-wont-protest-westboro-baptist-church-no-suing-of-protesters-either/
  78. Fred Phelps Was Reportedly Excommunicated From Westboro Baptist Church For Advocating A 'Kinder Approach'
  79. Fred Phelps May Have Had A Change Of Heart Toward Gays, Relative Says
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