Enter your email address to receive our daily LGBT news roundup

You're free to unsubscribe at any time.

God Hates Fags church wins free speech appeal over funeral picket

Post your comment

Comments on this article are now closed.

Reader comments

  1. “You may not put people on trial for their religious activity.”

    So test in court whether they really ARE a religion or not. I don’t think they are.

  2. Freedom of speech is one thing but what about the right of people to conduct their private funerals with dignity without a bunch of fanatical sh*theads gatecrashing their moment of grief with banners that might not even be relevant to the deceased.
    If that’s acceptable under the 1st amendment I hope that when Fred Phelps finally kicks the bucket someone takes the initiative to barge into the chapel to interrupt the service with a camp-as-christmas gay dance troupe miming to “I am what I am” at full blast on a portable stereo and that they all dance on his grave with similar impunity.
    This kind of crap is an abuse of the 1st amendment.

  3. Brian Burton 25 Sep 2009, 6:18pm

    These low-life scum-bag Westboro Baptist Bastards are set to get away with their crimes!

  4. Free speech is overrated.

    I wish they’d visit us someday. They’d be fined out of their sorry little minds, they would.

  5. What Flapjack said…in spades. Only pity is I have just spent 10 minutes composing an almost identical post!!

  6. “You may not put people on trial for their religious activity.”

    I suppose she supports Islamic suicide bombings. She tried to visit the UK, but got denied without even a question being raised. The UK government is at least this sane.

  7. douglas in canada 25 Sep 2009, 9:11pm

    Let them do all the protesting they want, and let the general public get really ticked off at religion. The Phelps idiocy may be the thing required to get more individuals and governments to seriously question the value of religion in general. Let Westboro Baptist be the spokespeople for religion in the US. It will all backfire in the end, and we can be rid of religion for a long while.

  8. Just think folks anyone who makes it to heaven gets to spend the rest of eternity with people like this!

  9. No wonder people in Europe worry about America.

    Several years ago I once heard the USA described on the BBC, the BBC mind, “as a far right, ultra-conservative, ultra-religious, mass execution, society.”

    I referred to it on Yahoo comments and it was immediately reported by outraged Americans.

    My God, what with all the carry on they’re having with the health reforms, etc, its high time America took a good look at itself.

  10. Joe in California 26 Sep 2009, 12:02am

    Whether it falls under the 1st Amendment or not, it’s just not right to picket funerals. It’s evil, hurtful, not very christian of them… I know they’re an offshoot of Baptists, but still, what kind of god tells you to do such things?

    Yeah, we’ll be celebrating their demise. Their day will come.

  11. “I hope that when Fred Phelps finally kicks the bucket someone takes the initiative to barge into the chapel to interrupt the service with a camp-as-christmas gay dance troupe miming to “I am what I am” at full blast on a portable stereo and that they all dance on his grave with similar impunity.
    This kind of crap is an abuse of the 1st amendment. ” -Rose
    Well said Rose. We all should remember this and their names. You better believe that we will be there when they are grieving at their grave sites.

  12. sounds like a good idea to me, what ever happened to ‘if you’ve got nothing nice to say keep your gob shut’? Their god says ‘love thy neighbour’ etc so isn’t what they’re doing the complete opposite?? strange strange people, i hope they rot >=/

  13. If their ideas are so silly why do you worrie so much about them? Silly fags…

    “No wonder people in Europe worry about America. ”

    There is always a retard with the “America” argument…lol…

  14. I agree with the sentiment that letting the church destroy itself at this point in history is the best direction we can take. However, this guy really needs to bring this to the Supreme Court and America needs to have a serious debate about the place and freedoms religion should have in society. Over the last decade we have all seen the hate, bigotry and suffering created by ‘faith’, It’s only a matter of time. Their day has come.

  15. Eagle Ashcroft 26 Sep 2009, 4:38am

    New Mexico past a law years ago banding the Westboro Baptist church or its members in coming here to picket and if they show up they will be arrested on felony charges and sent to prison if some one does not string them up first. I’d love to throw a rope over everyone of those a-sholes and hang them from the highest limb of a cottonwood tree. Fred Phelps is the biggest and baddest closet queen in the US as I’ll bet she has a lover amongst her flock and this is her way of keeping it a secret so no one will know what really goes on behind her bedroom doors at night.
    Strange how so many closet queens attack their gay brothers and sisters. Miss Fred Phelps and her Lesbian wife are one piece of work and one of these days some one might assassinate the pair of them or burn their church down with them in it. Lets “pray” a tornado will wipe their whole cult off the face of the earth while they are praying one day to their evil old god.

  16. Jean-Paul Bentham 26 Sep 2009, 6:19am

    Cubby (11):

    You said:

    “I hope that when Fred Phelps finally kicks the bucket someone takes the initiative to barge into the chapel to interrupt the service with a camp-as-christmas gay dance troupe miming to “I am what I am” at full blast on a portable stereo and that they all dance on his grave with similar impunity.

    This kind of crap is an abuse of the 1st amendment. ” -Rose

    Well said Rose.

    We all should remember this and their names. You better believe that we will be there when they are grieving at their grave sites.”

    Misplaced your bifocals, innit?

    Rose, the dear soul, couldn’t come up with something like that!

    Only flapjack (2)’s exceptional imagination could picture it so graphically, and all in one brief sentence, too!

    40 lashes with a wet noodle for you.

  17. Jean-Paul Bentham 26 Sep 2009, 7:59am

    As the immortal Ruth Draper (Ruth who?):

    “Don’t make me laugh; I’m going to a funeral!”

  18. Nope, that wasn’t me. I’m the one in favour of peaceful protests generally. But I would make an exception in their case.

    I favour the tornado striking down Phelps rather than assasination. A tornado would be sublime since it is classed as An Act of God! Assassination makes him a martyr.

    I DO take exception to whoever allowed them to be classed as a church. They are nothing of the sort and preach nothing but hate. There must be some law in America to gag them! Has anyone tried livel, slander, breach of peace? Can the children be taken in by social services on suspicion of something or other? Try harder.

    As for meeting them in heaven? Not a chance. God will have his own picket at the pearly gates.

    That said, I’ve always shocked my religious friends by saying I don’t want to go to heaven if my closest (gay) friends, aren’t welcome. And if that lot are in hell, then I guess I’m going to hang around outside the old gates with my own version of I Am What I Am – loud, slighyly out of tune but full of passion.

  19. Jean-Paul Bentham 26 Sep 2009, 10:02am

    Rose, darling!

    And here you were trying to pass yourself off as naïve!!

    Speaking as a lapse senior-catholic who fully intends to drop dead sooner or later, and to be forgotten within 2 weeks, I agree that God will have her own pickets waiting for the likes of Phelps.

    Also, good on you for not taking the credit for something clever you did not write.

  20. I’m very much for free-speech. Usually, idiots like these show themselves up, give them enough rope…etc. However, in this case they caused serious distress and they also advocate violence. I think that if a group uses their right to free speech to advocate violence towards any other people, then a line of acceptability has been crossed.

    The judge called it “rhetoric”, but they incite violence towards others, so surely that is not just rhetoric but instead dangerous hate and incitement to violence & crime.

  21. hate speech and incitement is different to free speech

  22. Quite frankly, I am surprised that someone has not run a car thru their protest group.

    Their indignity will cost them in this life or the next.

  23. Vo Dong Cung 26 Sep 2009, 4:34pm

    In this case I would like to say ‘God hates judges’ and ‘Thank God for dead judges’. This is also is my right of 1st Amendment

  24. Jean Paul, I am incredibly naive. Knowing all the words to I Am What I Am is about as sophisticated as my LGBT activism goes! I’m still finding my feet in the gay community, and am constantly stunned to discover that through pink eyes the world is a very different place than I thought it was.

    I have said before, it saddens me that so many people here are alienated from the church. And only the fact that my own local Catholic church is surprisingly liberal and open – a gay man gives communion as eucharistic minister! – keeps me from despair. I think there’s hope. But I hate evangalism and I’m not going to tell anyone they should embrace God. I think God has to make the first move in mending these hurts.

    As for the Westboro lot, the fact that I’ve heard of them in the UK proves they have been given a pedastal they don’t deserve. They need knocking off it and putting back into obscurity as a very sinister man and his very strange family who ought to have a visit from social services.

    By the way, I can write clever stuff, but not on Pink News! I feel like the kid at the back of the class still mastering joined up writing around here. But I’m trying to catch up.

  25. Jean-Paul Bentham 26 Sep 2009, 11:42pm

    Rose:

    Thank you for the feedback.

    You have not only come to the right place, you have also come a long, long way in a very brief period of time.

    I was a praciticing…I mean a practicing catholic most of my life, a cradle catholic.

    In fact I trained for the priesthood in my late 20’s in a Trappist monastery. When I left the cloister, I became deeply involved in volunteer pastoral work for 30 years. Giving communion, serving mass, reading the epistles, presideing liturgical committees, presiding a diocesan council to educate Canadian catholics about the plight of the oppressed in the Third World using Liberation Theology…need I go on.

    When I first came onto PinkNews, I too felt like an airplane out of control trying to land safely. The regular commenters here, whether they know it or not, guided me safely to the ground, in other words, to reality…..which by the way, has very little to do with religion, and more to do with spirituality if you are so inclined.

    Your mastery of the English language (I’se Acadian French…a who?) leaves no doubt in my mind that you are indeed a most clever woman. You’re here, aren’t you?!!

    Moreover, you have consistently stuck with the topic, a habit many of us could nurture, but we do carry on, you know.

    As long as nobody gets offensive and disruptive, like this Phelps monster is prone to do at funerals of heroic gay Americans soldiers.

    Ever hear of Alexander the Great? Talk about gays in the military, innit.

    As far as I’m concerned, you have caught up as well as any of us. Every day is different, you’ll see.

    But don’t follow me…I’m lost!! haha!

  26. Rose – You don’t have to be erudite to impress around here, I sometimes get inspired but mostly I leave it to the likes of Adrian T, Will, Brian Burton, Eagle Ashcroft and Jean-Paul Bentham [to name but a few] to say what I wanted to say and I sit at the back of the room nodding ;)
    The main thing is you’re heart’s in the right place. Looking forward to seeing more of you here.

  27. Thanks guys. I plan to be around!

  28. and yet we can’t have fredom of speech against their so-called religion?

    I’m actually quite surprised the WBC members haven’t been shot yet. good job you don’t get easy access to guns here in the UK…

  29. having now read Rose’s comment, I’ll pray for a tornado instead!

  30. Fred Phelps is a child abuser and wife beater. His own gay son wrote about it in his autobiography. Phelp’s womanising and homophobia is just a cover for his own iniquitous, violent, perversities.

    He is doing evil in the name of God. I wonder whether God will be grateful?

  31. Pete Wrote
    “If their ideas are so silly why do you worrie so much about them? Silly fags…
    “No wonder people in Europe worry about America. ”
    There is always a retard with the “America” argument…lol…

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    Pete will do not think their ideas are “Silly” . . . we think they are highly offensive because they insight hatred and violence towards LGBT people

    When you use the word “Silly Fags” . . . when you call LGBT on this site by that name I am warranted in saying to you

    “Piss off Fag Stalker and get a life”

  32. On second thoughts, perhaps a gay chorus line dancing on Fred Phelps’ grave while belting out “I will Survive” would be more appropriate by way of karmic justice!

  33. I know most of the words to that, too! But I’m even more off key with that one. I’ve been practising I Am What I Am!

  34. Presumably if they were Muslim they would have been shipped off to Guantanamo Bay by now.

  35. Er… please remember these comments are by the person whose name is at the bottom, not the top. Don’t credit me with that last one. I don’t even understand why Muslims and Guantanomo Bay are being introduced into this discussion about the loopy Phelps family.

  36. Bishop Ioan 27 Sep 2009, 9:36pm

    I would like to see these people banned. A tornado wiping their church and them off the face of the earth would be a nice touch. We definitely d not want to see them as martyrs.

    Rose, I agree with you as regards evangelicalism. I consider it a blight on the planet, since it tends to create monsters such as Phelps and Company.

    I wish we would have anti-hate speech laws over here, but if this creep can get an exception made because of First Amendment Rights (I don’t believe this is what the Founding Fathers had in mind), then it will be a long hard road to get a legal block to these people mindlessly spewing hate–if laws are ever passed.

    I, too, have been disgusted with them coming even to the funerals of those killed in combat. How dare they do that for someone who gave up his life in defense of his country?!

    Fortunately, they came to San Francisco to picket the funeral of Randy Schilts (a gay journalist) and they got run out of town in about 5 minutes (seriously)–the cops AND the people were together on this one!). It just takes the will to send these jackasses packing. The government may want to put up with them, but the people do not have to!

  37. That’s the thing, people. You have the right to say these kinds of things, but also have the right to keep your yap shut. It is the lack of compassion and good judgement that permits them from doing the second part.

  38. Greetings from Down Under…. Love the posts on here – especially the visions of a full song and dance routine as a send off to these idiots. Trust the queers to highlight the FUN in funeral!

  39. Jean-Paul Bentham 28 Sep 2009, 5:14am

    JohnK (31):

    Nice one, Ditto!

  40. Jean-Paul Bentham 28 Sep 2009, 5:18am

    flapjack (32)

    Speaking of a chorus line, my personal favourite is the closing number of Monty Python’s “The Meaning of Life, Part 1″, you know, the “Christmas in Heaven” song.

  41. Jean-Paul Bentham 28 Sep 2009, 5:28am

    Michael (38):

    From one colonial to another (I’m Canadian), bear hugs and don’t be a stranger.

    Actually, I wouldn’t mind having the graphics on the lime-green “God Hate Fags” picket in the photo accompanying this story.

    I have a space on my bedroom wall that could easily accomate a matted and framed copy of it.

    It could also be used as a center piece at my FUNeral, and It would give a whole lot of meaning to the inscription on my tombstone: No Mo’ FUN!

  42. Jean Paul Bentham – Yep, Monty Python’s “Meaning of Life” is one of my favourites too, maybe we can get a troupe of drag queens in those low cut santa outfits with the fake breasts showing.
    Which reminds me, a medley of songs from “the Rocky Horror Picture show” such as “I’m just a sweet Transvestite from Transexual Transylvania” would be a good sendoff for him too, if done in full costume!
    Any other suggestions to perform at Phelp’s funeral?

  43. It’s going to be quite a party. Why isn’t there a tornado when you want one!

  44. The Westboro freaks show up at pride here in Atlanta every year. They are the true abomination.

    BTW, the building that they call a church has been bombed, but unfortunately, the bomber missed the target and didn’t actually make any kills, which is sad in this case.

    American law, in many facets, is set up to protect the attacker, not the victim. This is a system in which an armed robber can cut himself on the window that he broke to get into the house and sue the home owner for the injury and win. Yeah, go America for the fail!

    I am an American and there is not a day that passes that i don’t grow increasingly ashamed to be so. The sad thing is that i feel that it is my duty to stand and fight against the hate that is constantly passed off in this country as law, or constitutional. The united states constitution is a meaningless scrap of toilet paper these days. if the majority is pissed about something, they amend the constitution. How do you amend what a country was founded on. And just in case it has been forgotten, this country was founded on the principle of freedom from religious persecution, yet, that is what our law makers and lobbyist force upon us everyday.

  45. So exactly what is the limit to free speech then?

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/ctpehlivan/3623576451/

    As can be seen in the link above some so-called ‘christians’ belive that gay people should be killed. They also believe that God’s law trumps man’s law. So in effect they are urging people to go out and murder gay people. So if your religious belief entails murdering people does that constitute religious freedom and free speech?

  46. I’m not that sort of Christian, Mal. I believe in a god of love for all humanity.

    But out of interest I googled the First Amendment to see what it says.

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

    Under that amendment, anyone has the right to peaceably assemble with placards. So people would have the right to peaceably stand opposite the Phelps clan with anti-Phelps placards. The problem is more placards would only make it even more of a circus sideshow outside of funerals of people who have died tragically. Any right thinking person would try to give them a bit of dignity, I hope.

    But could a peaceful First Amendment demonstration not go stand outside the Phelps property?

  47. Rose – I can see what you’re saying, that we should take the moral highground.
    However, from what I’ve seen, many people have confronted the Phelps clan on neutral turf either by provoking them with overt displays of camp or simply confronting them on their bigotry, but it’s all like water off a ducks back as Fred and the 80 people who make up the Westboro congregation have an inbuilt Noah complex i.e. “We’re god’s chosen ones, the rest of you fags and fag-enablers will burn in hell”. Mere criticism means nothing to them as they have a mandate from god (in their own minds). They feed off attrition.
    The only way to make them sit up and take notice IMO is to show them how much they’d like it if someone disrupted their own private funerals with a deeply inappropriate public celebration. That’s if they have a shred of empathy for other people left.

  48. You are right, Flapjack. I’ve never met anyone quite so obnoxious as this lot. I don’t know what I’d do if I was personally confronted by them. I’ve only heard of them because of a TV documentary which I watched with a male gay friend who I almost had to sit on to contain his outrage and save my TV set from harm. They are so far beyond the pale it is unbelievable. And it seems there is nothing to do about it if even the law supports them.

  49. Jean-Paul Bentham 29 Sep 2009, 6:37am

    OK, well what about that glamourous costume from Victor/Victoria (the one with the diamond headpice…I mean headpiece) combined with the Galaxy Song from The meaning of Life, Part 1 done in a Celine Dion SCRE-E-E-A-A-M:…

    JUST REMEMBER THAT YOU’RE STA-A-A-ANDING ON A PLANET THAT’S EVOLVING AND REVOLVING AT A HUNDRED MILES AN HO-O-O-O-U-U-UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU-R; THAT’S O-O-O-RBITING……

    wha’, no good??? Back to the closet?

  50. You and your closet, Jean Paul!

    Galaxy Song, excellent.

  51. Jean-Paul Bentham 30 Sep 2009, 6:55am

    Rose:

    Wha’?

    If I ever win the lottery, I intend to open my closet to the LGBT community.

    My huge, gay retirement home, complete with male and female palliative care nurses would be called “JP’s Closet”. haha!

    En françcais, “Le placard à JeePé”!

    …orbiting a sun that is the source of all our power. The sun and you and me, and all the stars that we can see are moving at a thousand miles a day, in the outer spiral arm, at 6 hundred miles an hour, of a galaxy we call”The Milky Way”.

    “It’s Christmas in Heaven….” Wha’? No good?

    Of course it would have a very special “whirlpool” bath for Phelps and his possee in honor of Matthew Shepherd.That’s as close to a tornado that our engineering techniques can come so far.

  52. Sign me up. I’m in need of palliative care!

  53. Hey JP, as a haematology/oncology/palliative care nurse, your idea has often been a fantasy of mine.

    A men’s wing and a women’s wing, with a mixed common area for social gatherings (which are worked by young budding DJs…).

    None of the private ensuites though….. a GREAT, BIG communal wet area, where the attendants (health care assistants) get to wear speedos – purely for the comfort of not getting their uniforms dampened….

  54. Jean-Paul Bentham 30 Sep 2009, 12:18pm

    Hey Michael:

    From down under!!! Hello from Canada!

    How long have you been at it, my friend?

    Do you work in a hospital or as a private nurse… 24/7?

    Bloodwork and cancer.

    I hope you have a loving partner.

    Yea, well, I can easily visualize it, but I would add a panoramic view of water; either a river, a harbour, a bay, or the ocean.

    As a former volunteer Red Cross swimming instructor for mentally and physically disabled children and adults (2 full evenings a week), I can still fit into my navy blue Speedos, and just as I intend to drop dead sooner or later, I want to be cremated wearing nothing but those Speedos. haha!!

    Of course, we’ll have to be businesslike so we’ll have to interview those young, bunning…I mean budding DJ’s privately.
    Sounds like Christmas in Heaven and all the Angels sing…!!

  55. My Speedo is a one piece that holds everything in place and keeps it firmly under cover. You’ll have to have some serious inhibition freeing sessions for me to take anything else off.

  56. Jean-Paul Bentham 30 Sep 2009, 1:34pm

    Now Rose, you know very well than marijuana is illegal!

  57. I was thinking of mood music and some relaxing meditation and you know it!!!!

    By the way, when the tornado has done with the Phelps, could it be redirected to Ireland to take out the bloody Robinsons?

  58. Jean-Paul Bentham 3 Oct 2009, 12:57am

    Oh Rose:

    Of course I know it. Just joshing. I neither drink nor smoke, and have been doing hatha yoga for 40 years. Yup, that explains it, eh!

    Have you ever thought of coming to my.pinknews.co.uk, looking up my profile and planting the seed of frienship with me?

    If you have any questions, just ass me…I mean ask me.

  59. no I hadn’t, but I would be glad to do so.

  60. dave wainwright 9 Apr 2010, 10:37pm

    In the UK these people would most likely be sectioned under the mental health act and receive the treatment they so obviously need.

  61. Julian S. 9 Sep 2010, 5:17am

    What I find is distressing is that children (even here in Australia) are growing up with these ancient values! Being gay myself, I find this quite disgusting. What is it that’s so darn illegal about us?

    We leave THEM alone, but they don’t leave US alone.

These comments are un-moderated and do not necessarily represent the views of PinkNews. If you believe that a comment is inappropriate or libellous, please contact us.

Top commenters this week

Latest stories

See all