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Joined: 2006/1/30
Posts: 23

 Protests at funerals

Hi everyone...

So, I was curious to see if anyone has run into any issues with people (believers or non-believers) because of the protests going on at funerals and churches. (For those of you who don't know, there is a church from down south here in the U.S. that go to funerals and wave signs and chant. Their message is that Gods condemnation is on America, that is why we had 9/11, that is why we had hurricanes, etc etc. And that God hates homosexuals and soldiers who die defending a nation that supports homosexuals.)

I believe that the Bible teaches that homosexuality is wrong, and that homosexuals will not enter the kingdom of heaven. I believe that God has, and still does, pour his wrath on nations who are disobedient to His word. And I truly, truly believe that America is heading in a very wrong, very scary direction. But regardless, I just can't see how these protests are the way to go about it! I don't want to automatically condemn anything, I just can't see Jesus at a funeral with a picket sign.

How have all of you handled this? what do you think??


 2006/4/18 15:43Profile

Joined: 2006/3/20
Posts: 235
fredericksburg, Virginia

 Re: Protests at funerals

I think these people speak for themselves. They are a hate group. My brother Will is a U.S Marine and I am more proud of him than ever. His sacrifice has been great, he has never been the same since he went there. We even had a heart to heart and teared up when he told me that he had to killed several people. These people and their families should be shown the love of christ during these times, not hate. This is not funny, there is a religion that wants to see Israel and Chrisitianity destroyed and they will do anything to do it.

We need to pray for these protesters that they will repent, and follow the true christ. read 1 Corinthians 13.

what does everyone else think of this?


Matt Kroelinger

 2006/4/18 15:55Profile

Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 9192
Santa Clara, CA

 Re: Protests at funerals

To tell you the truth, I think it is from the same root cause that crops up here time and time again;


Mike Balog

 2006/4/18 16:02Profile

Joined: 2006/1/30
Posts: 23


Bitter about what?

It just makes me very, very sad. I'm not saying that we shouldn't "stand up" for what we believe, but this seems a little ridiculous. I can't find anything redeeming about it! But nonbelievers have heard believers bash on churches so many times... I just feel ashamed to be associated with them.

 2006/4/18 16:05Profile

Joined: 2006/1/27
Posts: 202


Simply put, we have a case of modern day pharisees here...

How did Jesus react to the pharisees? I think He largely ignored them.

However, Jesus certainly had much to say to the pharisees when they came to visit Jesus' and cousin John's camp.

So, I think we ought to just keep walking with Jesus and let the stubborn pharisees do their thing. But remember Jesus' words, "beware of the yeast of the pharisees and the leaven of herod". And check out how John the Baptist deals with some pharisees in Matt. 3!

It is funny, because I have blogged about this topic of dealing with pharisees recently... I will post the links for those who care to know more of what I think (not that my opinions are super important, I just feel it may bless some of the people here.)

[url=]Stubborn Ponies!!![/url]
[url=]Letter to the Church[/url]


Combat Chuck

 2006/4/18 16:17Profile

 Re: Protests at funerals

Oh dear...

The group you are talking about, or at least the one that I know of that does this, is "" or "," both home of Westboro Baptist Church. This group is so out of line.

They lack the love of God, pure and simple. They literally make me sick to my stomach when I hear about them picketing soldiers' funerals and homosexuals' funerals screaming "their in Hell, just like you will be if you don't repent!"

Let me also say it's cast in the likeness of Godliness. They are against sin, preach against sin, etc. But you will find in their ministry a lacked mention of Jesus Christ who died and rose again so that all whom would come unto him and turn away from their sins would be saved. They do not have compassion for the lost, they have only built up anger for them.


 2006/4/18 16:17


These are not saved people doing this. I've read their material and they have distorted scripture beyong recognition. They claim to be saved, but they are not. If a person is saved then the Holy Spirit resides in them, and tho we all struggle with sin in this mortal body, it is quite a different thing to condone sin and live a lifestyle of sin. These people who are protesting a sinful lifestyle (homosexuality) are they themselves practicing a sinful lifestyle... hatred. They are not afraid to tell the world that they literally hate homosexuals. You can not say that out of one side of your mouth and then praise God out the other.

These folks are not saved. They are as wicked as anyone that they may protest. They are decieved.

I just feel ashamed to be associated with them

But your not associated with them! They do not represent Biblical Christianity anymore than Jim Jones did 30 years ago. They do not give a black eye to the Body of Christ because they do not belong to the Body of Christ.


 2006/4/18 16:46

Joined: 2006/2/11
Posts: 2895
Philadelphia PA


Aghh. I too cringe when I hear about things like this. This group being discussed reminds me of one here in Philadelphia which are called the "Israelites". They are frequently on Market street in a small group preaching with amplification and wear these 'costumes'. They make refrence to the Ten Commandments but they seem to be fixated upon race in thier doctrines and teachings.

It seems to me that a dreadfull creep of madness and delusion is moving over the land.

This verse also comes to mind for its principle, not of any people but rather of our personal and corporate sins

But if ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; then it shall come to pass, that those which ye let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell.

Of course I do not know this to be the case but it would be lamentable that the Church would need to be reproved by heretics and misguided fanatics concerning our failings before God but then consider that wicked Babylon was such a rod in the Hand of the Lord against His people of old.

It is a time to cry.

May God yet be our Help.

Christopher Joel Dandrow

 2006/4/18 17:09Profile

Joined: 2005/1/14
Posts: 2164


I read an article about Fred Phelps not too long ago. He that the pastor of Westboro Baptist. He is a calvinist (I am not trying to make a knock at calvinist.. just giving some info.. I know you calvinist brethern are not like this guy) that believes he is pronoucing God's judgement. He is a political man. He was a lawyer for awhile, and I believe that a few of his children are lawyers. He finances everything himself.

I am going to try to find the article if anyone wants to read it.

Josh Parsley

 2006/4/18 18:20Profile

Joined: 2005/1/14
Posts: 2164


Funeral-picketing pastor rejoices in society’s scorn

WICHITA, Kan. — It is a quiet family Sunday. Boys toss a football in the yard. Children scramble on playground equipment. Their moms and dads, aunts and uncles clean up after a birthday party.

The family’s patriarch reposes comfortably behind a large mahogany desk in a long rectangular workroom next to the sanctuary of his church.

The Rev. Fred Phelps, 76 and somewhat wilted after a fireand-brimstone sermon that blistered the walls and all but rolled up the thin red carpets, is talking about quiet times like this. Quiet times when all of us think about life and death, heaven and hell, our place in the universe.

In such moments, Phelps says, he finds great solace in knowing he is almost universally despised.

“If I had nobody mad at me,” he says softly in his Mississippi drawl, “what right would I have to claim that I was preaching the gospel ?”

America has heard him and recoiled. At least 27 states are considering laws to ban or restrict picketing at soldiers’ funerals. The Arkansas Legislature approved such a law this week.

Such picketing is Phelps’ latest effort to spread his message that God has turned against America for tolerating homosexuality.

Phelps has been called the vilest of the vile, inhuman, even insane. He considers this evidence of his righteousness, proof that he is preaching the truth of God.

“‘ Blessed are ye when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you and cast out your name, ’” Phelps says, quoting from the Gospel of Luke. “‘ Rejoice in that day and leap for joy !’”

The funeral picketing has focused national attention on his church, Westboro Baptist, and the complex on Topeka’s southwest side where Phelps and some of his children and grandchildren live in modest wood houses surrounded by chain-link and wood fencing.

The fencing creates a spacious yard with a swimming pool, running track, tennis and basketball courts, and the playground.

Above the compound, an American flag flies upside down, the signal for distress. Above that a Canadian flag flies upside down, Phelps’ response to a Canadian law prohibiting picketing at funerals there.

Phelps, who has changed from his preacher’s outfit — gray sport coat and black tie — and put on a University of Kansas windbreaker, claims he and his family have picketed more than 25, 000 times since 1991. That’s when they started a crusade against homosexual activity in nearby Gage Park after Phelps said the city failed to heed letters he wrote for two years.

In fact, if the city had cleaned up the park as he’d asked, Phelps says, the family probably wouldn’t picket anything today.

Instead, people showed up at the park to protest Phelps ’ picketing, and Phelps declared war.

Since then, the family has picketed the funerals of Matthew Shepard, a gay man who was beaten to death in Wyoming; gay men who died of AIDS; miners who died in the Jan. 2 Sago Mine disaster; Frank Sinatra; Barry Goldwater; Mr. Rogers; and Coretta Scott King.

They spend a quarter of a million dollars on air fare each year, Phelps says. It is paid by the family, which includes 10 lawyers among 13 children.

“We do not ask for anything from anyone,” says one of Phelps’ daughters, Shirley Phelps-Roper, a lawyer for the family firm, Phelps-Chartered. “And we will not take anything from anyone. We pay our own way.”

Along the wall next to Phelps is a table with a computer, fax machine and printer. They are the tools Phelps and his family use to send out their message, to find out from the Pentagon which soldiers have died and where and when they will be buried, and to track the growing number of state laws aimed at them. It’s also how they receive daily feedback from the world beyond the church’s walls. “We get thousands of e-mails every day, most of it just raising Cain,” Phelps says. “Nasty stuff.” From his chair behind the desk, Phelps smiles at all the hatred. “I knew it was coming,” he says. “I counted the costs, and I’m daily paying the installments. And it’s a bargain.”

‘NO FREE WILL’ Phelps wasn’t always hated. He remembers when he used to be popular. Medals he received from the American Legion for character, honor and courage as a high school senior hang on the wall of his workroom. “If it occurs to them, they’ll probably want me to give them back,” he says.

Born in 1929, the son of a railroad detective in Meridian, Miss., Phelps was an A student who finished sixth in his class of 216. He was class orator, an Eagle Scout and one of the top prep high hurdlers in Mississippi.

But today, Phelps can walk around his rambling woodframe church, which is exempt from real estate taxes, and point out the bullet holes in the church sign, and talk about the vandalism, including a 1995 pipe bomb.

“I knew the value of everybody liking you,” Phelps says. “The human emotion of wanting to be liked is there. But it is not dominating my life, I’m very thankful to say.”

Popularity is an unworthy goal for Calvinist preachers, he believes. They stress the absolute sovereignty of God’s will; they believe that only those whom God specifically elects are saved, and that individuals can do nothing to affect this salvation.

Phelps was 16 when he received the call to preach. He had been appointed to the U. S. Military Academy at West Point, N. Y., but he had to wait until he was 17 to attend. He and a friend stopped in at a revival meeting at a Methodist church, and Phelps had a religious experience that he described as “an impulse on the heart.” He scrapped plans for West Point.

“There was aroused in me at that time — one who had wanted to go to West Point ever since junior high — a profound determination that I was going to preach the word of God,” Phelps says. “And that has not flagged from then till now.”

Phelps has contempt for preachers like Jerry Falwell and Billy Graham whom he says like being popular and no longer preach the message that man is depraved and can’t save himself.

“Man has no free will,” Phelps says. “The savior says, if you think you got free will, grow a foot and a half.”

Phelps still gets a chuckle out of Falwell, who recently appeared on TV in Virginia and declared Phelps insane.

Phelps and Phelps-Roper call up the segment on the computer and watch it again, Phelps chortling as Falwell utters “insane” one more time.

He has picketed Falwell twice.

‘GET YOURSELF A SIGN’ Phelps enrolled in Bob Jones University instead of West Point. But he never attended classes there. He went to a Bible institute in Canada for a short time before moving to Pasadena, Calif., where he received a theology degree from John Muir College. On the office wall is a framed copy of a 1951 Time magazine article with a photo of a 21-year-old Phelps speaking out against necking and petting on campus. Later, Phelps went to Arizona and met and married his wife, Marge, in 1952. Fred Jr. was born in 1953. A year later the family moved to Topeka, where Phelps had been invited to be co-pastor of a Baptist church. He founded the Westboro Baptist Church in 1955.

To supplement his income, he sold insurance, vacuum cleaners, dictating machines and baby carriages door to door. The family also sold candy to get by.

Phelps had arrived in Topeka the day of the U. S. Supreme Court desegregation decision in Brown v. Topeka Board of Education. He took that as a sign he should become a lawyer and do civil rights work.

Phelps graduated from Washburn University law school in 1964. By 1969 his license had been suspended. Eventually he was disbarred by the Kansas Supreme Court for activities the court found to be improper in connection with a lawsuit he filed against a Topeka court reporter.

He later was disbarred from federal court.

Phelps ran for mayor, senator and governor. He lost.

But his civil rights work was praised by black groups, and he was once honored by the Bonner Springs Branch of the NAACP.

Last month, Phelps picketed the Atlanta funeral of Coretta Scott King.

Today, a large poster with her photo, headlined “King in Hell,” still sits by his pulpit.

“I’m mad at them for turning that movement over to the fags,” Phelps says.

During his Sunday sermon, Phelps speaks of a CNN reporter who had asked him how Phelps would like it if people picketed his funeral when he dies.

Phelps thunders from the pulpit: “I’d love it. I’d invite them. ‘Get yourself a sign.’ I said: ‘I’ll put in my will to pay your way. But not first class. ’”

Phelps has read reports that he’s already dead. He’s read others that have him dying of any number of ailments.

The truth, he says, is that he is in good shape. A former triathlete, Phelps still swims a half-mile a day when the pool outside is open. He rides a stationary bike and “wogs,” a combination of walking and jogging.

FAMILY FLOCK At 6-foot-3, he is still lean, and although he walks with a slight stoop, his preacher’s voice is still capable of exploding shrilly to climax a thought. “Get right with God !” he shrieks to the flock in the small sanctuary, which contains about 50 people, almost all family members. The church has roughly 75 members, of which 80 percent are related to Phelps by blood or marriage, said Phelps-Roper. His children vouch for Phelps’ health. “People say he’s half dead, but I don’t think so,” says Fred Phelps Jr., a lawyer with the Kansas Department of Corrections. “There’s a lot of different images out there. He’s very dedicated, very committed, very compassionate, and certainly strong. I remember running a race one time, I was about 25, and he came right past me.”

Jonathan Phelps, a lawyer with Phelps-Chartered, says his father is a very caring person.

“It’s a privilege to be his son because he has a lot of years of experience you can tap into, and he’s ready, willing and able to share it with you so you can get by in this life,” Jonathan says. “His grandchildren love him to death.”

But three of Phelps’ children left the family long ago and have never returned.

Two sons, Mark and Nate, left in the 1970 s and now are businessmen in Southern California. They could not be reached for comment.

A third child, Dortha, left in 1990 at age 25 and changed her last name to Bird. She’s a Topeka lawyer and deputy administrator of the Kansas Workers Risk Cooperative for Counties.

“I felt like I was being controlled, and I didn’t have any freedom,” Bird says. “And if I didn’t follow everything the pastor, or shepherd of the flock, says, I wasn’t right with the Lord.

“ What never ceased to amaze me is he could tear apart a document that was just a few months old as an attorney, yet he sees the Bible as the truth.”

Bird says she hasn’t spoken to anyone in the family since she left.

JUST GETTING STARTED Phelps also has 54 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. While he worries about violence against his family at picketings — he says they’ve been beaten in other states, and that one was punched in the face by a sheriff in Wisconsin — Phelps says the Bible has plenty of verses that comfort them in their mission.

He laughs off accusations that his children and grandchildren picket only because he has brainwashed them.

“Man, I couldn’t stop these kids from doing this. They’d get rid of me,” he says.

On the wall hangs the first sign Phelps held up in Gage Park, with the comparatively restrained message: “Watch your kids. Gays in restrooms.”

Signs are more inflammatory now, and Phelps knows they hurt mourners.

He thanks legislators around the country for passing those laws and bringing attention to the family’s message. Phelps refers to the laws popping up around the country as a “popcorn movement,” and he wishes Congress would pass a law unifying the rules for his protests.

“The federal court could do it, but it’d be better if Congress does it,” Phelps says. “I look forward to it. I want to see those jackasses up there wrestle with the First Amendment.”

Meanwhile, he and his family picket somewhere every day. They picket about 15 churches every Sunday. For pickets within driving distance, they travel in Honda minivans of different colors, with trucks carrying their signs.

Phelps says he has no plans to stop picketing, and he has no plans to soften the message.

He doesn’t know what the future will bring.

“I’m just along for the ride,” Phelps says.

He thinks he is on a roll, gathering strength.

Outside, where the grandchildren toss the football and play on the playground, is proof of a growing flock.

The birthday party, held in the basement of one of the houses in the compound, celebrated five of the grandchildren.

Phelps sat quietly during the party, holding 12-week-old greatgranddaughter Zion on his knee. He grinned as he peered into her eyes and patted her tummy while the family ate and sang hymns.

“Man,” Phelps says, “we haven’t even got started yet.”

Josh Parsley

 2006/4/18 18:26Profile

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