The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Westboro Gay-Bashers Plan to Picket Paterno’s Funeral

By Mark Potok on January 23, 2012 - 12:01 pm, Posted in Anti-LGBT

Always eager for the next outrage, the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church — already infamous worldwide for its “God Hates Fags” website and its regular picketing of American soldiers’ funerals — says it will picket the funeral of Penn State football coaching legend Joe Paterno.

The church, largely composed of pastor Fred Phelps and his extended family, regularly claims that people who have been killed at war, in accidents and by murderers are God’s way of punishing America for “enabling fags.” Its decision to picket Paterno’s still-unscheduled funeral is based on Paterno’s role in a sex scandal involving his long-time assistant’s alleged molestation of young boys. Paterno, who died of lung cancer Sunday, was fired by Penn State after Jerry Sandusky was arrested late last year.

Westboro’s congregants typically picket funerals with signs like “Thank God for Dead Soldiers” and “Thank God for AIDS.” They have vilified public and private figures alike, going so far as to picket the funerals of children killed in school bus accidents. They are so provocative that groups from left to right have banded together to screen funeral participants from the church’s pickets.

Westboro’s plans were first reported by The Patriot-News of Harrisburg, Pa., on Sunday, shortly after Phelps’ daughter, Margie Phelps, sent out several tweets on the matter. According to tweets posted by NBC Sports’ College Football Talk website, she wrote, among other things, “No RIP Joe Paterno. No peace in hell” and “Stop pimping out your kids” in making the Westboro announcement.

Westboro carries out scores of pickets around the country every year. But it often makes announcements of particularly outrageous plans, waits for the kind of angry publicity it has come to expect, and then fails to actually carry out its plans.

  • http://www.twitter.com/AronL, Aron

    SouthernPatriots,

    Not only is Shirley Phelps-Roper, nearly the ENTIRE Phelps clan consists of lawyers. And pretty damned good ones, too, from what I’ve heard.

    I highly suggest searching for ‘WBC Lawsuit Scam’ on any of your favorite engines. These people don’t honestly believe what they preach. They’re just out to make money through lawsuits.

  • SouthernPatriots

    Family have confronted WBC members at various funerals of returning American Heroes over the years. Patriotic cycle groups have formed barricades along the routes to block WBC members from harrassing family members and friends of the deceased. We know some motor cycle clubs which went to the funeral from south Louisiana (non-active Navy seals). WBC did not show its rear but in a very limited way with a few new signs.

    WBC founder’s children (at least one) is a lawyer who spends her time filing law suits for access to these events.

    WBC members seize any publicity they can find to make themselves seem relevant, when they are not. They are not doing the work of Christ, but of satan. They are not affiliated with any Baptist organization or any known Christian organization. Perhaps they are alligned with at least one domestic terrrorist group?

  • http://www.burnthebibleassociation.com Charles Austin

    The Westboro Group remind me of a group at one of the local churches here in El Paso they call themselves the Word of Life Church and are led by a Tom Brown. That these folks would associate with The Ku Klux Klan and/or National Socialist(Nazi)Party members in their search to abuse the right of free speech is a shame. This is not free speech but hatred.

  • Kiwiwriter

    I feel sorry for the people attending the funerals, who have to pass through these jerks to bury their loved one.

  • Leroy Vaughn

    Why is it that local people in Kansas do not go to this church and disrupt their services, in a lawful maner.

  • The other Dave

    Welcome to the dark side of freedom of speech.There are no laws to stop idiots and assh*les from forming a media circus.Thankfully there are lots and lots of people to tell them to get lost

  • Spider

    I don’t feel sorry for these people. Where they are going in afterlife will be addressed. Another group tearing down everything America use to stand for. “Get a life”!

  • Reynardine

    The prospect is actually humorous, for once. And to quote my old colleague Mirza, whoever gets killed in the free-for-all that follows, we will likely be a few bastards the less.

  • Jason Smith

    Wikipaedja
    Dung beetles are beetles that feed partly or exclusively on feces. This beetle can also be referred to as the scarab beetle. As most species of Scarabaeinae feed exclusively on feces, that subfamily is
    often dubbed true dung beetles.

    Many dung beetles, known as rollers, are noted for rolling
    dung into round balls, which are used as a food source or brooding
    chambers. Other dung beetles, known as tunnelers, bury the dung wherever they find it. A third group, the dwellers, neither roll nor burrow: they simply live in manure.

  • Linnea

    Well said, Ithink… I can’t really add anything more.

  • Kiwiwriter

    Those Westboro folks know how to get more media attention than they deserve.

  • Gregory

    I’m guessing Phelps is a Michigan State fan?

  • Ithink

    The bittersweet irony of what the Westboro Baptists CULT, not church, is doing here is that it will more than likely be they who is burning in the deepest pits of Hell for eternity for embodying the most reactionary and relentlessly shameless campaign against human decency in modern times (and thats saying too much to write about here); I swear they are one of the last groups who can find ways to continue sinking lower than whale dung day by day, but that’s the whole MO of the fringe I guess. R.I.P Mr. Paterno, despit the despicable deeds you may have committed in this life, no man, good, bad or evil, deserves this sort of post-mortem treatment…

  • Stefanie

    not these guys again