Westboro Baptist Church Starts Picketing Self; ‘Bunch of Hateful Fags’
Topeka, Kansas (AP) – In keeping with its tradition of seeing the influence of homosexuality everywhere, the Westboro Baptist Church began picketing its own establishment today, holding a protest to call attention to what it calls the “pernicious fags who run this institution.”
WBC founder and pastor Fred Phelps led a group of approximately 30 church members in the protest, most of whom held aloft placards in the familiar Westboro style: “GOD HATES WBC” “GOD LOVES YOUR ENEMIES” and “WBC FAGS OUT”. It was a rare appearance of the 84-year-old Phelps, whose age has increasingly sidelined him in church activities and administration, and a sign of the seriousness with which the WBC views the apparent threat.
“We call on the Westboro Baptist Church to rid itself of the homosexual, devil-worshiping Jews among its leaders,” said Phelps, “unless they prefer to face the wrath of Almighty God. May Jesus Christ strike you all down in pain and fear!” Phelps’s supporters, mostly members of his extended family, cheered, erupting in chants of, “No Frou-Frou-She in the WBC!” and “Phelps is a fag!”
The Westboro Baptist Church has gained notoriety in recent years for its picketing of US soldiers’ funerals and its vocal, disparaging opposition to religious denominations and political affiliations that differ from theirs. They have also praised those who kill Americans and deride American victims of various tragedies, such as the victims of the Newtown, Connecticut, massacre a year ago. They also loudly trumpet that America deserved 9/11. The Southern Poverty law Center and the Anti-Defamation League both list the WBC as a hate group, and several states have attempted to bar the group from gathering in the vicinity of military funerals in progress. The Supreme Court has ruled that the church’s activities constitute protected speech.
The new protest represents an escalation of Westboro Baptist activity, after the movement’s routine of protesting funerals of soldiers, celebrities, and gays had seemed to plateau. According to ADL researcher Leah Tonmi, it was only a matter of time before the WBC turned its rhetorical guns on itself, as this development is a natural evolution of the church’s increasing paranoia. “Westboro Baptists sees every institution in America as corrupt, as led by evil Jewish sodomite Nazis; if the influence of those forces is as invidious as Westboro has it, then perforce Westboro is not immune to them. The very persistence of those forces despite WBC activity across several decades attests to such a possibility.”
A WBC spokesman was unavailable to respond to the WBC charges, as he had yet to change hats.