It’s not just Phelps


Followers of that hateful lunatic, Fred Phelps, have been making the news for picketing military funerals in Minnesota. Apparently, because the US tolerates (sorta) homosexuality, they feel that they should hit up random funerals and cuss out the dead for dying for homosexuality. Now our state legislators are considering laws to block that kind of behavior, because it “flies in the face of Minnesota values.” The values they’re talking about aren’t tolerance, though, but simply an opposition to meddling with the military.

Eva makes a very good point: the Republican leadership in this state seems to share Fred Phelps’ values. She has photos of a rally at the capitol in support of Michele Bachmann’s anti-gay amendment, a rally that was approvingly attended by our Republican governor. Those signs aren’t being carried by crazed Kansans, but by people of our state with good ol’ “Minnesota values”.

I can’t see any significant difference between Bachmann and Pawlenty, and the nutjobs of the Westboro Baptist Church.


  1. Steve LaBonne says

    Which brings to mind Napoleon’s famous insulting description of Talleyrand: shit in a silk stocking. That’s your “genteel” homophobic Rethug pol, all right.

  2. Mark Paris says

    Hey Pablo, we all know not all Kansans are crazy. I especially must not engage in stereotypes, since I live in Georgia and work in Alabama.

  3. says

    I once saw a film clip of Fred Phelps with his grandchildren. I believe it was a Michael Moore production, one of those TV Nation or similar shows he did.

    Anyway, Phelps was quizzing a little kid on the mechanics of anal sex with derisive comments about gay people. It was sort of an instructional little lesson on sex with a good dose of hate mixed in.

    As I watched it, I wondered what the Falwells, Schlaflys and Robertsons would think if they only saw the bits of an old man talking about anal sex with a child. I would imagine they’d contact Fox News and people like O’Reilly to burn the guy at the stake, but then once they saw he was only teaching the kid to hate gay people, that was the good moral thing to do. Good Christian teaching, right?

    I’d like to see people go to Phelp’s funeral with flowers and words of condolence for his family. It would be the right thing to do.

    Sure, we’ll all be glad as hell the old bastard is dead, but we should be Christian about it, after all.

  4. says

    Phelps’s infamy reaches worldwide. A while back, he singled out Sweden for some extra hate when one of our own gay-bashing rural pastors was taken to court for hate speech ex cathedra. Unfortunately, this individual was acquitted because of federal EU legislation taking precedence over the national code.

    I wonder what Phelps thinks about those octopus perverts PZM was slobbering about the other day. Is there a domain?

  5. Alexander Whiteside says

    You know, he’s just a few punctuation marks away from an accurate placard:

    “Intolerance of,
    Discrimination against,
    Death penalty for,

    As it stands he’s using such a mangle of double-negatives and unknowingly ironic statements that the universe must surely be about to implode.

  6. Abdul Alhazred says

    As a gay man, I will say that the USA more than “sort of tolerates” homosexuality, despite remaining issues.

    I’m comparing it with the way it was when I was young, let alone how it is in various other countries.

    Viz: We’re legal everywhere due to a Supreme Court decision and even the president is waffling on the marriage question.

    However, eternal vigilance is still the price of liberty.

  7. bmurray says

    I note that, judging by the photo, it is unlikely that these people are going to have a problem with gay men hitting on them any time soon anyway. It seems an odd conceit that an ill-groomed and overweight white guy would worry about a gay man hitting on him.

  8. tomob says is another interesting site of Phelps. It’s the closest merger of politics and pornography I’ve seen. They picketed the American Swedish Institute and Ingebretsen’s shop in Minneapolis a couple of years ago.

    The last thing we need in Minnesota is a law prescribing “Minnesota values.” You may remember when the anti-stalking law was passed to “give the police a tool,” as one of its supporters said, to deal with Operation Rescue. (It’s now illegal to “follow” in Minnesota, so stay out of rush hour.) The first person arrested under it was an OR character. The next people arrested were four pro-choice women who were following an OR caravan that was on the way to harrass a doctor at her home.

    Any restriction on free speech will wind up being used against the left more than against the right.

  9. says

    Is the sign meaning to complain that people are intolerant when they try to discriminate? “We’re allowed to be intolerant, not *you*!”

    It’s a bt hard to tell, what with the sign being not actual English.

  10. says

    Passing a law to force him to stop this shit only gives him attention and flies in the face of the first amendment.

    Also: Michelle Bachmann has been in the hospital. I keep asking myself if I’m a bad enough person to make a snarky comment about it. Maybe she got AIDS from Fred. Oh wait, no, he’s gay.

  11. Harry Eagar says

    Does not much like but tolerates — that would be a fair description of most Americans’ view of homosexuality. Who could ask for more?

    As for legislation against the likes of Phelps, it exactly parallels the legislation — upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court despite its clear unconstitutionality — against antiabortion protestors gathering outside abortion clinics.

  12. says

    Of course these disgusting protests at military funerals enrage me, but I can only imagine how much righteous indignation Gov. Pawlenty would cough up if Phelps and his minions were protesting at the funerals of peace activists instead.

  13. says

    you should all check out this band called “I can lick any sonofabitch in the house”.
    They are some mean-ass southern rock with good lyrics.

    From Westboro Baptist Church:
    “Fuck Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church
    Fuck Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church
    Fuck him long and hard until his rectum hurts
    Fuck Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church

    Come on ya’ll let’s fuck Pat Robertson
    ‘Cuz for me you know he’s got no Christian love
    He took all my grandma’s money, gave it to the 700 Club
    Come on ya’ll let’s fuck Pat Robertson

    Come on ya’ll let’s fuck ol’ Benny Hinn
    Come on ya’ll let’s fuck that born again
    He claims to be a faith healer, but he’s just a charlatan
    Come on ya’ll let’s fuck ol’ Benny Hinn

    Come on ya’ll let’s talk about the President
    Everything that comes out of his mouth is a fucking lie
    He prays to a god that hates his guts, then sends young boys to die
    Come on ya’ll let’s fuck the President

    Now you born agains don’t waste your prayers on me
    Cuz’ the good lord knows I’ve already been saved
    I just pray that I live long enough to take a shit on Fred Phelp’s grave
    Fuck Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church”

  14. Dianne says

    “It seems an odd conceit that an ill-groomed and overweight white guy would worry about a gay man hitting on him.”

    Well, he sure as heck doesn’t have to worry about any women hitting on him either. YECH!

  15. gravitybear says

    As PZ hinted, this is really about taking a popular political stand in defense of the troops. Notice that no one had proposed this kind of legislation when Phelps and his group were protesting at the funerals of gay people.

  16. george cauldron says

    Fred will be dead in a few years. He’s not physically well, and he’s 76 years old. When he croaks, we can all make the pilgrimage to Topeka and shit on his grave, as the song suggests.

    I have to say however, if that dog turd ever showed up at a funeral of any loved one of mine, whether gay or an Iraq casualty, it’d be everything I could do not to run him over with my car.

    Incidentally, Wikipedia has a splendidly detailed bio of Phelps:

  17. Jeb says

    I bet these are the same type of people, that are shocked by radical Muslims, who call for the death of cartoonists. The world would be such a nicer place without religious fanatics.

  18. BlueIndependent says

    I say we round these people up and drop them in Iraq. They can put their hate to good use there shooting back at Zarqawi.

    It’s just like these moral punks to want to kill people who defended their freedom and also happened to be gay. How much more anti-American can you be?

  19. says

    So, Phelps believes that US soldiers in Iraq are being killed (by God) because their country tolerates gays.

    Why aren’t Canadian soldiers dropping dead in huge numbers? We have legal gay marriage here, but fewer than a dozen Canuck soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan. (And several were killed by US friendly fire.)

    Other things that have not happened to Canada recently: Major city destroyed by hurricane, massive trade deficit, massive budget deficit, planes flown into large buildings, sniper kills randomly around national capital, halfwit elected to second term as leader.

    Maybe (to use Phelps-logic (TM)) God is asking Americans to be nicer to gays?

  20. george cauldron says

    You make a pretty convincing argument for the idea that in fact God is punishing the US for having elected George Bush. :-)

  21. Monimonika says

    I’d post a link, but I’m not sure of how it’ll come out. Instead, I urge people to google for “Patriot Guard Riders”. Awesome group of volunteers against the evil that is Fred Phelps.

  22. says

    I’m glad I wasn’t the first one to suggest the grave->shit thing. At least I know I’ll be in good company.

    C’mon you old fscker, die off! I wanna go eat some Mexican food!

  23. liveparadox says

    “offspring of passion, prejudice and putrid pandering to the rabble.”

    Funny–having first read that line without noticing who was being quoted, I thought they were talking of the protests, not the proposed laws against them….

    (sinking back into lurkhood–great blog, btw!)

  24. Jeffery Keown says

    I nearly cried, reading that level of stupidity and awfulness that “reverend” Phelps spews. The sad thing is, when he dies, since there is no afterlife, he won’t be able to realize just how wrong he was.

    A pity.

  25. says

    If anyone is interested in the paper that originally showed homophobes tend to have homosexual tendencies check it out here

    The citation is Journal of Abnormal Psychology, Vol. 105., No. 3 (1996), pp. 440-445.

    It doesn’t have a very large n, but the effect is really significant.

    A quick break-down. If you take young men who self-identify themselves as homophobic, wire their penis up to a tricked-out penis-meter, and show them gay porn, they tend to stiffen (80% I believe in the paper). However, males that identify as comfortable with homosexuals but straight do not have such a marked response.


  26. Henry Holland says

    This is a bit of the lyrics to the Morrissey song Margaret On the Guillotine about Thatcher, but it applies here, me being a ‘mo and all:

    It’s people like you [the protesters]
    That make me feel
    So old inside
    When will you die?

  27. BlueIndependent says

    In response to Matthew’s question about why Canadian soldiers aren’t dying off in massive numbers, it’s because of that simple religion-of-phelps logic: God did not bless Canada, or any other country for that matter, like he blessed America, so when the rapture comes, ya’ll are gonna roast anyhow.

    So according to phelps, you’re in hell, you just don’t know it yet. ;)

  28. says

    Thanks for the link PZ… The Minnesota Citizens for the Defense of Marriage are running ads against 12 targeted senators….

    I’ve got a link to the ads at my post above. If you call 1-866-GetMad1 you can listen to talking points, then get transferred to Senator Johnson’s office to speak your mind.

    The ads target 1 Republican, Paul Koering of Fort Ripley. Paul is the guy who came out as gay last year. He voted against the procedural vote on this issue.

    The anti-gay CD the Republicans are sending out is infested with spyware.

  29. neutrino_cannon says

    This is the sort of problem that fixes itself. One day, the good rev. Phelps will yell a little too loud, or perhaps he will say something a little too offensive, or maybe he’ll just pick the wrong funeral. Then suddenly two things will hit him:

    1) The revelation that he’s antagonizing a military funeral, and as such a group of bereaved people trained for the explicit purpose of hurting people and breaking things (i.e. not the best people to needlessly infuriate).

    2) A hefty rock from the deceased’s buddy who’s had it up to HERE with people who don’t know a goddamn thing about the sandbox making inane and spiteful comments about the top brass’ policy.

    Then the rest of the crowd will join in, and since Phelps’ whole family will likely be there, and they’re the only ones who really count as actual followers, the entire incident will have to be recorded as the single most deserved act of religiously motivated genocide in the history of the world.

  30. says

    I was appalled when I first heard about these demonstrators. It’s even worse than the pickup-driving germ who ran down the crosses at Cindy Sheehan’s demonstration outside Bush’s ranch in Crawford. I can’t even imagine the mind of someone who would intrude on grieving relatives at a funeral. Such a sorry excuse for a human being certainly isn’t worshipping God. He or she is in service to something else entirely.