The fundamentalist US family church notorious for picketing the funerals of dead soldiers plans to carry out its
first protest in Britain this week.
Followers of the virulently anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church have threatened to picket a sixth form college in Basingstoke, Hampshire during a staging of The Laramie Project , a play about an American youth murdered because of his sexuality.
The 'church' from Topeka, Kansas is mainly composed of relatives of the founder, pastor Fred Phelps, who style themselves the most hated family in America.
Their core belief that God will punish the West for its acceptance of homosexuality has seen them protest at dozens of servicemen's funerals brandishing garish placards stating God hates the USA and Thank God for dead soldiers .
Details of the church's first picket in Britain was posted on their website with the slogan God Hates England; Your Queen Is A Whore.
Some of the best Bible preaching in the history of the world came out of that dark dismal land, but now it is full of all abominations, the notice read: God will shortly destroy the UK and the world, but not until they have got the plain, clear
message so that they will be without excuse.
The target of Friday evening's demonstration will be the Central Studio arts venue at Queen Mary's College, where local gay group Freedom Youth is staging a small production of the The Laramie Project this week. The play, which has roused the ire
of Westboro followers in the past, tells the story of Matthew Shepard, a gay teenager tortured and murdered in small town America in 1998.
Maria Miller, Conservative MP for Basingstoke, said that she had contacted the Home Secretary to see what action the Government may be considering in relation to possible attempts by the Phelps family to enter the country.
She condemned the church's highly inflammatory language and behaviour and said the young people who had worked on the play would not be intimidated by threats.
Members of Anonymous, the nebulous online community that has previously organised protests against the Church of Scientology, are already planning counter-demonstrations outside the college on Friday, posts on internet message boards indicate.
A homophobic American cleric who runs a website called God Hates Fags and was allegedly planning to picket a play showing in the UK has been banned from Britain by the home secretary, Jacqui Smith.
Fred Phelps had vowed to come to Britain with his daughter, Shirley, to picket a school play in Basingstoke.
There was no evidence that the Phelps family, who tour the US spreading their message and have expressed a wish to come to Britain to preach at Speakers' Corner in London, had made arrangements to carry out their threat of picketing the play, but the
Home Office said Phelps and other members of his family would be banned from entry if they arrived.
A UK Border Agency spokesman said: The home secretary has excluded both Fred Phelps and his daughter from the UK. Both these individuals have engaged in unacceptable behaviour by inciting hatred against a number of communities.
The government has made it clear it opposes extremism in all its forms. We will continue to stop those who want to spread extremism, hatred and violent messages in our communities from coming to our country regardless of their opinions and beliefs.
A U.S. Supreme Court ruling this week affirmed the Casper, Wyoming City counsels decision not to allow anti-gay
pastor Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas to place an anti-gay monument in one of it's city parks, when the justices unanimously agreed that governments receiving monument donations for public parks are not compelled to take everything
they are offered.
The city had placed a Ten Commandments statue, donated by the Fraternal Order of the Eagles, in a plaza along with other monuments of historical significance and Phelps had sought to place his own monument in the Casper plaza condemning homosexuality.
Phelp's monument stated: Matthew Shepard Entered Hell October 12, 1998, in Defiance of God's Warning thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind; it is abomination. Leviticus 18:22.
Matthew Shepard was a student at the University of Wyoming who was tortured and subsequently murdered because he was gay.
The Casper City Council had denied Phelps' request in both 2003 and 2007.
Phelps had argued it was his First Amendment right to have his monument included.
Million "Fag" March
Rally at Gage Park in Topeka, Kansas
30th May 2009
Phelps and his church are notorious for their anti-gay protests of funerals and schools, claiming that most natural disasters and terrorist attacks are God's punishment for a society that tolerates homosexuality.
He is known for the slogans that he and his ministry use against people he deems sinful, including God Hates Fags.
According to organizer Chris Love, the primary goal of the March is to take the offensive, using the very same rights and laws as the Westboro Baptist Church. Love says his event expresses a message of acceptance of all people; a message that the
group hopes will spread beyond the Topeka church.
Last year's event -- the first -- drew a crowd of 420 people from all parts of the country. Love said that the 2008 March was a diverse mix of race, gender, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, and political viewpoint that drew national
media attention. The March stresses the use of peaceful and lawful demonstration, and is open to anyone who wishes to join without fear of negative incident.
Ronnie James Dio's public memorial on May 30 looks set to be disrupted by nutters of the Westboro Baptist Church, who oppose his supposed links with the devil.
Dio passed away on May 16 after losing his battle with cancer.
The 'church' are already known throughout the US for their hatred of homosexuality and for picketing funerals. Their current website schedule sees them accuse Dio, who pioneered the so-called devil horn sign and was the frontman of Black
Sabbath, of worshipping the devil, encouraging violence and hating god.
They are asking members to attend Dio's public funeral in Los Angeles to remind you who worship that old serpent, Satan, that your time is very short .
Odd bedfellows are standing side by side with Fred Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church in a demonstration of First Amendment fundamentalism. They've filed a friend of the court brief in favor of the right to infuriate families of the fallen with
those vicious funeral protests.
The list includes the Associated Press, Bloomberg News, Dow Jones, the E.W. Scripps Company, the Hearst Corporation, NPR, The New York Times, and the Tribune Company (parent of the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times).
Jeff Schogol of the military newspaper Stars and Stripes reported these companies joined other free-press advocates in supporting these hateful incitements:
The media organizations filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the Supreme Court in favor of the Westboro Baptist Church, which protests near service members' funerals because it believes that troops' deaths and other national tragedies are divine revenge
for America's tolerance of gays and lesbians.
The father of Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, who died in Iraq in 2006, sued the church for picketing near his son's funeral with signs that said God hates you, You're in hell and Semper Fi fags. They also distributed a flier with
Snyder's picture on it that read Burial of an Ass.
Snyder's father, Al, won at trial, but he lost an appeal and was ordered to pay more than $16,000 in court costs. The latest case will be heard by the Supreme Court in the fall.
While not defending the Westboro Baptist Church's actions, the 22 media organizations argued that the church is protected by the First Amendment. They also contend that the case could have a chilling effect on news gathering if Al Snyder prevails.
In the brief, the media groups argue that speech cannot be deemed too offensive to be protected by the First Amendment.
Comic fans beware: The man who believes that god hates...well...everyone but his family is headed to San Diego Comic-Con on July 22.
Fred Phelps on the official Westboro Baptist Church site, wrote:
If these people would spend even some of the energy that they spend on these comic books, reading the Bible, well no high hopes here. They have turned comic book characters into idols, and worship them they do! Isaiah 2:8 Their land
also is full of idols; they worship the work of their own hands, that which their own fingers have made: 9 And the mean man boweth down, and the great man humbleth himself: therefore forgive them not. It is time to put away the silly vanities and turn to God
like you mean it.
The destruction of this nation is imminent - so start calling on Batman and Superman now, see if they can pull you from the mess that you have created with all your silly idolatry.
Hopefully the creative guys at Comic-Con can come up with an amusing counter action.
Fortunately, those at Comic-Con knew about Westboro's plans and prepared to meet them head on in a counter-demonstration. Obviously, Phelp's followers were massacred.
Led by an individual in a Bender costume from the cartoon Futurama, Comic-Con nerds dressed in various outfits held humorous signs that effectively counter-demonstrated.
Memorable moments include Bender megaphoning Bite my shiny metal ass to the Westboro congregation while holding a sign that read Kill All Humans and a person in a Buddy Jesus getup holding up a God Loves Everybody sign contradicting
Westboro's signs that read God Hates Fags , God is Your Enemy , You're Going To Hell . Signs like God Hates Kittens and God Hates Jedi also accompanied the counter-protest.
In the face of supposed new evidence of the increasing levels of children sexually abusing other children the Australian Christian
Lobby (ACL) has called for both major political parties to immediately commit to a comprehensive review of the classification system across all media.
ACL Managing Director Jim Wallace said the classification system is broken and that the lack of effective regulation of what is being viewed and read in the community must be acknowledged as at least part of the reason behind the appalling growth in sexualised
and sexually abusive behaviour in children.
Revelations by the Australian Crime Commission's National Indigenous Task Force that between 40 and 90% of sexual offending against children was committed by other children and that the problem is not confined to indigenous communities should deeply
concern all Australians and demand an urgent response from our political leaders, Wallace said.
There has been widespread acknowledgement of the role of the media environment in sexualising children but despite inquiries and talkfests, nothing gets done.
Children don't learn sexualised behaviour in a vacuum and we know that viewing pornography is often associated with this problem. However it goes much further than this, with children continually being bombarded with overtly sexual messages by everything
from billboards to films to music videos. When the problem is getting this bad it is time for real action to be taken.
Wallace said a comprehensive review is needed because Australia's classification system has not kept pace with technology and is effectively a toothless tiger even when standards are breached with no real penalties for those involved.
Growth in technology has meant that Australia's classification system doesn't even apply to a range of new media content, such as mobile phone applications. And where the classification system does apply it is completely ineffective with standards
rarely being enforced and the penalties being laughable even when they are.
An Islamic organization that claims to represent the collective voice of the Muslim world is trying to get the U.N. Human Rights Council to
pass a resolution condemning the highly-publicized and now-defunct plan of a U.S. preacher to burn Qurans.
In a draft resolution submitted by Pakistan, the 57 member states of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) expressed their concern over the instances of intolerance, discrimination, profiling and acts of violence against Muslims occurring
in many parts of the world.
They also called upon the U.N. Human Rights Council to condemn any advocacy of religious hatred that constitutes incitement to hatred, discrimination, hostility or violence, and to call upon the international community to stand together against acts that
undermine peaceful coexistence between nations and create an environment conducive to violence and reprisal.
Specifically, their resolution asks the council to speak out against the recent call by an extremist group to organize a day to burn copies of Islam's sacred text, the Quran.
Aside from the resolution on the planned Quran burnings, OIC is also trying to push through another resolution that it has brought before the U.N. Human Rights Council every year over the past decade.
The resolution, which OIC has annually sponsored since 1999, seeks to make the defamation of religions a human rights violation, saying that the defamation of religions, and incitement to religious hatred in general, could lead to social
disharmony and violations of human rights. [As per Pakistan].
It claims there is a need to effectively combat defamation of all religions and incitement to religious hatred in general and against Islam and Muslims in particular.
The OIC resolutions, together with others yet to be submitted at the council, are likely to be voted on when the council wraps up its current autumn session at the end of next week. The council's 15th session, which commenced Sept. 13, concludes on Oct.
On October 6, the US Supreme Court takes up a case examining whether members of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka,
Kansas, went too far when they staged a protest at a fallen marine's funeral in Maryland. The demonstrators hoisted signs proclaiming: You Are Going to Hell and Thank God for Dead Soldiers.
Fred Phelps, pastor of the Westboro church, has made a career out of using blunt and offensive statements to try to shock Americans into joining his crusade against gay rights. His followers show up at military funerals and announce that God is killing
American soldiers for the sins of the country. Funeralgoers are urged to repent... or else.
In Maryland, it was too much for the grieving father, Albert Snyder, to endure. He sued. The case pits Snyder's First Amendment right to peacefully assemble in a church to mourn his son's passing against the Westboro protesters' right to chant harsh
slogans and display shocking signs in their campaign for moral salvation of the nation.
I suspect neither Phelps nor Snyder will change their point of view no matter what happens in the case, says Christina Wells, a law professor and First Amendment scholar at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law: Somebody is going to
be unhappy . But the debate [surrounding the case] hopefully will foster understanding of why we have the First Amendment we do.
Despite free-speech concerns, Supreme Court justices sounded sympathetic to a lawsuit filed by the father of a Marine killed in Iraq whose funeral was picketed by protesters .
The justices appeared inclined to set a limit to freedom of speech when ordinary citizens are targeted with especially personal and hurtful attacks. The 1st Amendment says the government may not restrict free speech, but it is less clear when it shields
speakers from private lawsuits.
Justices Anthony M. Kennedy and Stephen G. Breyer, usual defenders of the 1st Amendment, said they thought people could be sued for outrageous personal attacks. Kennedy said certain harassing conduct was not always protected as free speech. Torts and crimes are committed with words all the time,
he said, referring to legal wrongs that result in lawsuits. The 1st Amendment doesn't stop state tort law in appropriate circumstances, Breyer added.
It will be several months before the court makes a ruling in the case.
The nutters of the Westboro Baptists have taken aim at a gay themes play in LA.
They were set to protest outside the downtown Pico Playhouse who are putting on a production of The Laramie Project .
This is a play by Moisés Kaufman and is based on news reports, journal entries and more than 200 interviews of people in Laramie in the aftermath of the murder of Matthew Shepard. It covers the town's reactions, the funeral and the trial of the
killers (the court found that their motive for the attack was that Matthew Shepard was gay). The play does not advance a gay agenda (contrary to what the WBC contends) and has been performed nationwide and all over the world (including high school and
college productions) since 2000. The Westboro Baptists are featured in it (they picketed Matthew Shepard's funeral) and they often picket its performances.
The Westboro Baptists have outlined their objections in typical hateful style:
Judy Shepard raised her son to be a disobedient pervert, and God cut that child off. His blood is on her hands! From the day that he was cut off to today, Judy Shepard has spent all her resources on teaching the young people of this
nation the same rebellion that caused God to cut off her own son; and making a profit on it! How sick is it to make money off of a child who is dead at your hands?! Matt Shepard has been in Hell now for twelve years, with eternity left to go on his
sentence; without appeal, parole, or time off for good behavior. All else about Matt is trivial and irrelevant. Deal with it! Be not deceived; God is not mocked. Gal. 6:7.
God Hates Fags! God Hates Fag-Enablers! Ergo, God hates fag-infested & fag-enabling Los Angeles, CA and all having to do with spreading sodomite lies via The Laramie Project; a tacky piece of cheap, lying, fag propaganda
masquerading as legitimate theater.
Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind; it is abomination. Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith. Lev. 18:22, 23
Indie director Kevin Smith's new film Red State was picketed by the Westboro Baptist Church on Sunday.
Red State is said to be a scathing satire on Christian fundamentalists and was making its debut at the Sundance Film Festival.
However, Smith was ready to exploit the picket. He and an estimated 200 supporters launched a counter protest. Smith, an astute businessman as well as a creative force, utilized the Westboro picket to create even more buzz for his film's launch
Red State is being billed as a different kind of horror movie, a movie exploiting the horror of Christian fundamentalism and ultraconservative right wing American values. The plot centers around three teenage boys in search of sexual experience
and their contact with a frightening clan of Christian extremists.
In fact the film features a gay-hating minister and a frightening band of homophobic Christian bigots remarkably similar to the Westboro Baptist Church.
The former leader of a US 'church' that was widely known for its inflammatory anti-gay protests has died, his family has said.
The Reverend Fred Phelps Sr, founder of the Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas, died on Wednesday evening at 84.
The church, made up mostly of his family, rose to international notoriety with its practice of picketing funerals of fallen US troops.
It claimed their deaths were punishment for America's tolerance of gay people. Their signs read Thank God for dead soldiers and Thank God for 9/11 and the like, and bore messages offensive to gay and lesbian people.
In 2011 the church won a major legal victory when the US Supreme Court ruled it could not be sued for monetary damages for inflicting pain on grieving families.