This is sick. I imagine that Matthew Shepard's family is tormented by Fred Phelps' sick insistence. (On The Fritz told me about it.)
How the Picketing Started -- Gage Park This is in Phelps' own words, and the link will get you to the Topeka Constitution-Journal's long series on the church and Phelps.
Eleven years ago we began our picket ministry;
opposing the filth of homosexuality. Recall how it started. We grew weary of our young men being accosted at Gage Park, in the light of day, by militant homosexuals. Naively, we approached the city officials, thinking surely if they knew they would stop it. What we did not reckon is the exponential rate at which this nation, this state, this city, and all of the so-called leaders, had deeply corrupted themselves. The abominations that occur on a routine basis in this country today are shocking. No thought is given to being chaste. All thought and dialogue evolves around serving the flesh.
This is hate speech and hatemongering. I couldn't find a record of any Kansas church repudiating or denouncing Phelps, however. But his son did. What Phelps' son says about him:
What is he like? Well, it's been 19 years since I left home, but his behavior still appears to be the same. He considers his environment to be against him without admitting, acknowledging or taking responsibility for how he contributes to that. He likes to show himself as being moral, pro-family, pro-Bible, but his actions just don't add up to that. I believe in God and the Bible, and my father's behavior doesn't fit the description of behavior that would show in the life of one who loves God; behavior characteristics such as Love, Joy, Peace, Longsuffering, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self-control. Instead, my father's behavior characterizes, I believe, Hate, Outbursts of Wrath, Contention, Jealousy, Vengefulness, Misery, Harshness, and Selfish ambition. He mis-states the truth about his own behavior, about others, about the Bible, with apparent ease and regularity. He behaves with a viciousness the likes of which I have never seen. He accepts no genuine accountability in his life and is subject to no one. His lifestyle betrays the sacred trust of what a pastor, husband, father and grandfather should be. I suppose if a comparison were made between the life of Jesus Christ and my father, there would not be much to compare.
ConWebWatch noted that the death of the other person, Jesse Dirkhising, that Phelps is seeking to memorialize hasn't had the conservative media orgy that Matthew Shephard's death did.
It is possible -- but highly unlikely -- the ConWeb came to its senses and realized that death of a boy because of someone's perverted sexual fantasy is not comparable to the killing of a man solely for the type of person he is. After all, conservatives have demonstrated that they would love to take the fact that Dirkhising's accused killers are homosexual and extrapolate that into a general statement that all gays brutally sodomize young boys, which would certainly play into the hands on their political agenda.
While Phelps is obviously a howling loony, he has had some success, such as in Nashville.
Nashville council dumps gay-friendly ordinance. Pressure from religious activists prompted the Metropolitan Council of Nashville into nixing a proposed ordinance to add sexual orientation to the city’s non-discrimination law. The proposal would have applied to both public and private companies, but after the Southern Baptist Church and Rev. Fred Phelps threatened protests and boycotts against the city if the ordinance was approved, the Metro Council trimmed the legislation, making it applicable only for city employees. Eventually, the second proposal failed approval by one vote.
At least the good people of Boise have some backbone.
Posted: December 9, 2003 11:03 a.m. ET
(Boise, Idaho) The Boise Parks and Recreation Commission has rejected plans to erect a monument condemning homosexuality.
Boise is the latest community the Rev Fred Phelps has targeted for the six foot statue that would bear a picture of Matthew Shepard, the gay student beaten and left to die in an anti-gay attack. The monument would bear the inscription: "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."
Phelps has said he intends to place the monuments in parks across the country that have statues honoring the Ten Commandments, following a ruling by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals that any city that displays a Ten Commandments monument on public property must also allow monuments espousing the views of other religions or political groups on that same property.
Phelps wanted the statue placed in Boise's Julia Davis Park. The commission voted unanimously Monday to recommend the city reject the plan. The decision must still be ratified by city council.
Dean Esmay has it right
Phelps is often referred to as a "right wing extremist." But as the Seamole weblog points out, what Phelps is is an anti-American hatemonger, period. He runs a site called "God Hates America," he protested the war in Iraq, and has even gone to Baghdad to lead anti-American demonstrations. He says God hates Rush Limbaugh, and recently picketed the Betty Ford Center.
Which brings me back to square one: the guy's a hatemonger and an idiot. I really do wonder if paying him any attention at all just gives him what he wants. Loons like this make it hard for anyone to have a civil discussion on certain hotbutton issues, and it gives the loons what they want: attention, and bitter acrimony.
Are the churches silent on the subject of Phelps? Can anyone point me to an ecclesiastical organization that has repudiated Phelps? Oh, wait, there has been some:
In response, members of local human rights organizations met against Phelps' group. About 150 protesters were at Sacred Heart alone, said Pam Baldwin, director of the Interfaith Alliance.
Where are the conservative denunciations of Phelps for hate speech?