The Westboro Baptist Church Is Made Up Primarily of One Family
The Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka Kansas is known worldwide for its extreme stance on homosexuality. Extreme, not because the members and Pastor Fred Phelps disagree with the homosexual lifestyle, but because of the way the church goes about letting their opinions be known.
Westboro Baptist Church protest activities against homosexuality include disrupting American servicemen’s funerals by picketing them during services, holding blatant hateful signs and shouting “Thank God for Dead Soldiers!” and “God Hates Fags.” These were the epithets shouted at the funeral of Matthew Snyder in Westminster Maryland. Snyder was a U.S. Marine who was killed in Iraq. These epithets were shouted all through the funeral service, not allowing Snyder’s family to say good-bye and grieve for their loved one in peace.
In June 2007, Shirley Phelps-Roper, a Westboro Baptist Church member and sister to Pastor Fred Phelps, was arrested for contributing to the delinquency of a child, because she allowed her then 8-year old son to step on the American flag during a church demonstration. The arrest and charges took place in the state of Nebraska, a state where desecrating the American flag is against the law. There is some controversy regarding that law, some believing it is unconstitutional. In fact, the Supreme Court ruled that desecration of the U.S. flag could not be made illegal because it is a form of free speech (1989).
In an interview by Sean Hannity for Fox News, Shirley Phelps-Roper stated that the church membership was 80% family members with about 100 members total. According to Hannity, Westboro Baptist Church also protests Jews and Holocaust survivors.
A Courageous 9-Year Old Stands His Ground
Josef Miles, age 9, and his mother Patty Akrouche, were walking around the Washburn University campus in Topeka Kansas where they had just attended a graduation service on the Saturday before Mother’s Day and happened to come upon one of the Westboro Baptist Church protests.
The Augusta Chronicle reports that after observing and listening to the Westboro Baptist Church’s proclamations of “God’s hatred for homosexuals and other assorted groups,” young Josef asked his mother if he could mount a protest of his own.
With his mother’s permission, Josef then penciled a sign of his own on a sketchpad he was carrying. He wrote, “God Hates No One.”
Josef Miles then stood by church protesters with his own sign.
Josef Miles is not the first person to challenge the Wesboro Baptist Church, nor the first to protest that church’s protests, but he may be the youngest to have down so.
A Previous Westboro Baptist Church Threat Quashed
KTSM (television station) in El Paso Texas reported on October 10, 2011 that hundreds of people showed up to protect the privacy of the people attending the funeral of Marine Sgt. Christopher Diaz, who was killed the month before in Afghanistan. When people learned the Westboro Baptist Church planned to show up and disrupt the Sergeant’s funeral, as is their habit, hundreds of people showed up to make sure that did not happen.
The people who showed up to guarantee the privacy of the family and friend’s of Sgt. Diaz as they mourned his loss and said their last good-byes, according to KTSM, included “Hundreds of military members, veterans, Army wives, and Patriot Guard. Riders [who] lined the streets outside of St. Mark's Church and Ft. Bliss National Cemetery.” One person who attended said the number of people in attendance was easily 1000, many holding American flags.
Bikers To The Rescue
Members of the Patriot Guard Riders, a motorcycle club formed in 2005 for the purpose of protecting families of deceased members of the military and others from protest groups like the Westboro Baptist Church, attend funerals when invited to physically shield the deceased family from protesters. Even thought the Club was formed by motorcyclists, anyone is welcome to join them whether they ride or not and regardless of political affiliation.
While there have been rumors that Hell’s Angels have attended these funerals where the Westboro Baptist Church has threatened to protest, in order to assist in protecting the privacy of the deceased families from protesters like the Patriot Guard does, no confirmation of that has surfaced. It remains a rumor.
Patriot Guard Riders Protect the Privacy of Grieving Families
What Has the Westboro Baptist Church Been Doing Lately?
The Westboro Baptist Church does its best to stay in the limelight. Fred Phelps Sr., or one of his representatives (usually his grandson Ben) makes a habit of threatening some unfortunate person or family that they are going to picket a loved one’s funeral or stage a protest somewhere around them.
Most recently Mr. Phelps and his grandson Ben have zeroed in on Taylor Swift. They have decided that she has dated too many young men and is therefore a harlot, in their expert pious opinion.
Read More From Au Fait and Friends About Westboro Baptist Church and God
- The Westboro Baptist Church: The Face of Hate
A re-telling of the morning that Hate visited Olympia, Washington. Westboro Baptist Church stages a small protest against gays.
- Neurotheology: God Spot -- Is It Real? Do All People Have God Spots -- Even Atheists?
A new field of science called neurotheology is studying and researching whether or not what is referred to as the "God Spot" really exists in humans. Scientists want to know whether or not all humans, regardless of religion -- even atheists, have thi
- Is Science Capable of Proving God Exists or Does Not Exist? -- Did you know? There Is No Such Thing
A short list of some things that scientists have gotten wrong or have had to modify their facts about. Why it is ludicrous to base God's existence (or not) on science. Also, Einstein's Theory of Gravity which is not what we learned in school.
© 2012 C E Clark
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on April 07, 2020:
Chante van Biljon, thank you for taking time to read and comment on my article. The Westborro Baptiste Church has been making an A double S of itself for a long time. Long before I wrote about them. I think maybe reading about the little boy who confronted them in the newspapers and hearing about him on TV may have given more people the courage to express their feelings about this organization.
Any validation these so-called church members get is going to be negative. I think many people would prefer to be in the presence of a pedophile or a murderer over being near a member of this so-called church that encompasses all that is ugly and evil.
Chante van Biljon from Bloemfontein on April 04, 2020:
Interesting article, however, I wonder if validating this group with articles and TV interviews isn't fueling their ever-radical behaviour.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on March 06, 2015:
Peggy W., thank you for reading and commenting on this article and for sharing your thoughts. Also for the pin and share.
The Bible does indeed endorse your ideas on this. Forcing someone to love the God of Heaven (can't say regarding 'other' gods), doesn't work because as we all know, forced love is not love at all. We must all answer for ourselves, our thoughts, words, and deeds, can't answer for anyone else even if we wanted to, so I say live and let live. So long as no one is being harmed (literally sacrificed or tortured, etc.), I believe we should remember our idea of freedom of religion here in the states.
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on March 03, 2015:
It seems that we have way too many radicals in this world today claiming to be of this religion or that. I don't think that a Supreme Being of us all would want such hatred being spewed and hurting so many people. Sharing once again and pinning to Awesome HubPages.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on March 05, 2014:
Thank you for commenting Shyron. There are new laws in most states relating to protesting at funerals as a result of the WBC. I don't remember what all of them are, but mainly that the protestors must be a certain distance away from the funeral and I think they may even be limited as to when they can protest, picket, etc.
Thank you for the votes and share too!
There simply isn't enough time in the day, and when I can't sleep I'm a total wreck making it even harder to accomplish anything in the little time I have. Hope everything went well with W. today (technically yesterday now).
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on March 04, 2014:
Thank you Sam, for sharing your thoughts. Appreciate your insight and your kindness. You are correct in that people interpret the Bible and other holy books, and sometimes not very accurately, and then they choose for themselves how they will adhere to what they have decided is the right thing to do. Neither God nor religion are to blame for people's wrong interpretations.
Shyron E Shenko from Texas on March 02, 2014:
Au fait, this is one of your most interesting articles. I find it amazing that these people can get away with protesting funerals.
Voted up, interesting and shared.
Hope all is well with you.
samowhamo on March 02, 2014:
I just remembered. I read somewhere about a father who kicked his own son out of his house because he was Gay. There was a woman who said to the father people like you are why I don't like religion very much. Here we have another person blaming religion for a mistake that was made by a human. God didn't kick that boy out and religion did not kick that boy out the father did and the last time I checked there is nothing in the Bible that says kick your son or daughter out if they are gay or lesbian.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on February 27, 2014:
Thank you Shyron, for commenting and for the votes and share. I'm not sure even the WBC would let Ted Nugent in . . .
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on February 26, 2014:
Learn Things Web, thank you for stopping by. Agree that it is a sad state of affairs when any adult behaves the way the WBC members do and I think it speaks volumes that a 9-year old boy has more maturity and compassion for other people. Agree with you!
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on February 24, 2014:
VVanNess, thank you for reading this article and sharing your thoughts on this important issue. I agree with what you've written and I hope we will soon hear no more about this group. I'm thinking their funding must be running out because what caring person would contribute to their cause?
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on February 24, 2014:
Crazyhorseghost, thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts on this article and subject matter, and for voting on and sharing it too!
As a result of the demonstrations the members of this 'church' do at the funerals/burials and other events of deceased soldiers, celebrities, and children, new restrictions have been passed in many states regarding all demonstrators regarding how close they can be to the burial proceedings, funeral, etc.
Agree with your heartfelt opinion on this group and their activities.
LT Wright from California on February 22, 2014: