About The Westboro Baptist Church
At the funeral of gay murder victim Matthew Shepard, they held up signs reading "No Fags in Heaven" and "God Hates Fags." According to their Web site, they have staged "20,000" protests across the nation and around the world in the last decade. They believe that "God's hatred is one of His holy attributes." They are the congregants of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas.
Incorporated in 1967 as a not-for-profit organization, the virulently homophobic Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) considers itself an "Old School (or, Primitive)" Baptist Church. The Church is led by the septuagenarian Reverend Fred Waldron Phelps Sr., and many WBC congregants are related to Phelps by blood. His wife, several of his children and dozens of his grandchildren frequent the church.
While WBC has picketed the gay community at hundreds of events nationwide, most of the individuals protested by the Church are not homosexual. In fact, WBC most often targets people it mistakenly claims are gay or those it believes to be encouraging homosexuality. Many WBC fliers emphasize the race or religion of these individuals, suggesting that the Church's hate spreads beyond its abhorrence of homosexuality. What appears to be anti-gay rhetoric is often a vehicle for WBC's anti-Semitism, hatred of other Christians, and even racism, though in the 1980s Fred Phelps received awards from the Greater Kansas City Chapter of Blacks in Government and the Bonner Springs branch of the NAACP for his work on behalf of Black clients.
Trained as a lawyer, Fred Phelps was disbarred in 1979 by the Kansas Supreme Court, which asserted that he had "little regard for the ethics of his profession." The formal complaint against Phelps charged that he misrepresented the truth in a motion for a new trial in a case he had brought, and that he held the defendant in the case up to "unnecessary public ridicule for which there is no basis in fact." Following his disbarment from Kansas State courts, Phelps continued to practice law in Federal courts. In 1985, nine Federal court judges filed a disciplinary complaint charging him and six of his family members, all attorneys, with making false accusations against them. The Phelpses fought the complaint but lost. In 1989, Fred Phelps agreed to surrender his license to practice law in Federal court in exchange for the Federal judges allowing the other members of his family to continue practicing in Federal court.
In 1991, WBC staged its first public demonstration, targeting a park in Topeka allegedly frequented by gays. Thousands of protests have followed, and WBC shows no sign of slowing down. In addition to speeches on the picket lines, the Church spreads its hateful message via faxed fliers and "News Releases." These faxed documents also appear at WBC's notorious Web site, Godhatesfags.com, along with photos of Church pickets and a schedule of upcoming demonstrations. A second WBC Web site, Godhatesamerica.com, contends that the United States is "doomed" because it supports gays. According to Fred Phelps, "God invented the Internet for us to preach on."
The following quotations from WBC materials and other sources expose the Church's views on Jews, gays, Blacks, Christians and the United States. WBC's own words best demonstrate the wide range and disturbing nature of its hatred.On Jews
"Whatever righteous cause the Jewish victims of the 1930s-40s Nazi Holocaust had, (probably miniscule, compared to the Jewish Holocausts against Middle Passage Blacks, African Americans and Christians -- including the bloody persecution of Westboro Baptist Church by Topeka Jews in the 1990s), has been drowned in sodomite semen. American taxpayers are financing this unholy monument to Jewish mendacity and greed and to filthy fag lust...Homosexuals and Jews dominated Nazi Germany...just as they now dominate this doomed U.S.A....The Jews now wander the earth despised, smitten with moral and spiritual blindness by a divine judicial stroke...And god has smitten Jews with a certain unique madness, whereby they are an astonishment of heart, a proverb, and a byword (the butt of jokes and ridicule) among all peoples whither the Lord has driven and scattered them...Jews, thus perverted, out of all proportion to their numbers energize the militant sodomite agenda...The American Jews are the real Nazis (misusers and abusers of governmental power) who hate God and the rule of law."
-- "WBC to picket Holocaust Memorial Sodomite Museum in D.C. Jan. 20," WBC "News Release," December 26, 1996
"The only true Jews are Christians. The rest of the people who claim to be Jews aren't, and they are nothing more than typical, impenitent sinners, who have no Lamb. As evidence of their apostacy [sic], the vast majority of Jews support fags. Of course, there are Jews who still believe God's law, but most of them have even departed from that."
-- "FAQ," WBC "Godhatesfags.com" Web site
"As Hitler controlled the courts, prosecutors and police (Gestapo) in persecuting German Jews, so do Topeka Jews today in persecuting Baptists. As first century Jews stirred up the Roman tyrants in persecuting the primitive church, so do Topeka Jews today stir up Kansas tyrants in persecuting Westboro Baptists. They whine about the Nazi Holocaust, while they perpetrate the Topeka Holocaust."
-- "Topeka's Baptist Holocaust," WBC flier, March 23, 1996
"The Jew lawyers and judges of Temple Beth Sholom bastardize and prostitute the legal system to maliciously prosecute and persecute innocent Westboro Baptists, just as their Jewish ancestors manipulated the Roman legal system to torture and crucify the Lord Jesus Christ and persecute His disciples. The Jew psychiatrists and other shyster brain-washers of Temple Beth Sholom write columns and conduct seminars to vilify and slander innocent Westboro Baptists, just as their scribes, Rabbis, Pharisees and Sadducees did to the Lord Jesus Christ and his disciples in Bible days...The Jews of Temple Beth Sholom are sinful, greedy, Hell-bound, money-grubbing sodomites; and they have dedicated their synagogue to be a gay and lesbian propaganda mill and recruiting depot, soliciting young people to sodomy."
-- "Westboro Baptists will picket the Jewish Arts Festival at Jewish Community Center...Temple Beth Sholom for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur," WBC "News Release,"
"Fag Jew Nazis are worse than ordinary Nazis. They've had more experience. Jews stirred up the Romans to butcher 6 million Christians in the catacombs in the 1st century. The First Holocaust was a Jewish Holocaust against Christians. The latest Holocaust is by Topeka Jews against WBC..."
-- "Topeka's Dominant Fag Jew Masters are now agitating for: Same-Sex Fag Jew Marriage!" WBC flier, April 19, 1996
"Worldwide Jewry and worldwide Fagery [sic] appear to have the same problem: They both want to criminalize Gospel preaching under misleading labels. Jews label Gospel preaching as Anti-Semitism; Fags label Gospel preaching as 'Hate Crimes.' Both groups -- Fags and Jews -- are doomed!...WBC buys trees for Israel. WBC prays for the peace of Jerusalem. But isn't there a logical correlation between Jewish tyranny & Anti-Semitism?"
-- "An appeal to Pres. Clinton and Prime Minister Netanyahu," WBC "News Release," June 10, 1997On Gays
"WBC engages in daily peaceful sidewalk demonstrations opposing the homosexual lifestyle of soul-damning, nation-destroying filth. We display large, colorful signs containing Bible words and sentiments, including: GOD HATES FAGS, FAGS HATE GOD, AIDS CURES FAGS, THANK GOD FOR AIDS, FAGS BURN IN HELL, NO NOT MOCKED, FAGS ARE NATURE FREAKS, GOD GAVE FAGS UP, NO SPECIAL LAWS FOR FAGS, etc... WBC has conducted some 20,000 such demonstrations during the last nine years at homosexual parades and other events (including funerals of impenitent sodomites, like Matthew Shepard). WBC teams have picketed major fag parades in San Francisco, New York, Washington D.C., Miami, San Diego, Dallas, Orlando, Kansas City, etc. The unique picketing ministry of Westboro Baptist Church has received national attention, and WBC believes this gospel message to be America's last hope."
-- "FAQ," WBC "Godhatesfags.com" Web site
"The only true Nazis in this world are fags. They want to force you by law to support their filth, and they want to shut you up by law when they hate what you say. They would be perfectly happy to make it a crime to preach that 'God hates fags' under the guise of 'hate speech legislation.' "
-- "FAQ," WBC "Godhatesfags.com" Web site
"It's NOT OK to be gay. It will damn the soul, destroy the life, and doom any nation that tolerates such evil. God Hates Fags is a profound theological statement, which America needs more than it needs oxygen or bread."
-- "WBC to picket UC (Tar Heels) graduation and Binkley Baptist Church," Westboro Baptist Church "News Release,"
"WBC picketed the funeral of Matthew Shepard, to inject a little truth and sanity into the irrational orgy of lies consuming this world. WBC does not support the murder of Matthew Shepard...However, the truth about Matthew Shepard needs to be known. He lived a Satanic lifestyle. He got himself killed trolling for anonymous homosexual sex in a bar at midnight. Unless he repented in the final hours of his life, he is in hell. He will be in hell for all eternity, 'where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.' Mark 9:44. For each day that passes, he has only eternity to look forward to. All the candlelight vigils, all the tributes, all the acts of Congress, all the rulings by the Supreme Court of the United States, will not shorten his sentence by so much as one day. And all the riches of the world will not buy him one drop of water to cool his tongue."
-- "Perpetual Gospel Memorial to Matthew Shepard," WBC "Godhatesfags.com" Web site
"Filthy sodomites crave legitimacy as dogs eating their own vomit & sows wallowing in their own feces crave unconditional love."
-- "Week 344 of the Great Gage Park Decency Drive," WBC "News Release," January 15, 1998
"All gays & lesbians are liars and murderers at heart, like their father, Satan."
-- "____________. A black dyke! An abomination! Clinton & the Senate made her a U.S. Judge!" WBC "News Release," November 24, 1996.On Blacks
"Anybody babbling about 'multicultural affairs' and 'celebrating diversity' is a propagandist for the militant sodomite agenda...Westboro Baptists will picket this black obfuscator, in religious protest and warning. Being black won't get you to Heaven. But promoting fags will take you to Hell."
-- "WBC Will Picket ___________________, Ph.D. She's a Multicultural, Diversity-Celebrating Blabbermouth," WBC "News Release," November 13, 1996
"Forget the American Bald Eagle. Since June 23, 1994, the only fitting emblem for the Great Seal of the United States Judiciary is this beast...Just call me: 'Yo Honuh'!!!... Here Come De Judge!!!"
--Text surrounding a racist caricature of an African-American female judge, "The Federal Judiciary: A Menagerie of Demonic, Libidinous, unclean Beasts: A Curse from God Upon an Apostate Nation," WBC flier, November 28, 1996
"Me ______________. Me lots smarter now. Me be Deputy Mayor...This crowd could dumb down the Western Hemisphere."
-- Text surrounding a drawing of a gorilla, "Wagnon's 'Friendlier Topeka,'" WBC flier, June 13, 1997. The named individual is an African-American city council member in Topeka, Kansas
"Black Female Dyke ___________ is a child of the Devil, peddling her satanic father's fag lies...She's dangerous because she plays the race card, the female card, & the poor-little-broken-home-orphan card like a fiddle to gullible fools who give her money."
-- "WBC to Picket Pervert ________, & Her Devil's Angels," WBC "News Release," May 20, 1996
"The recent race riots in New York over the senseless killing of young Yusef Hawkins, and the waves of Black students clashing with police in Virginia Beach, remind us that racism is not quite dead in America the beautiful. But most of us are sick and tired of self-flagellation. Shall a few isolated racist acts keep us all in sackcloth forever, repenting the sins of slave-owning ancestors?"
-- Fred Phelps in The Spotlight newspaper, October 30, 1989
"Meet _______________, black criminal...this black goon heads for 15-year-old Sharon Phelps...to beat her and hospitalize her."
-- "Boycott the Vintage...Black Bullies Beat White Kids and Women," WBC flier, March 31, 1996
"On Feb. 1 this sorry smear of Hamitic Sludge who sold his black soul to the Courthouse Whore ordered a fellow black murderer...released without bond & without an AIDS test!"
-- "Black Slime ____," WBC flier, February 6, 1995On Christians
"Most 'Christians' today are Christians by name only, and should be ashamed of themselves. They are cowardly, lukewarm, and ashamed of Christ's Word. They have substituted their own pathetic ideas for God's clear commandments... Don't listen to the money-grubbing heretic who stands at the front of your church. Listen to God."
-- "FAQ," WBC "Godhatesfags.com" Web site
"Any church that allows fags to be members in good standing is a fag church... Any church that ordains fags is a fag church...Any church that marries fags is a fag church...Churches...like the Southern Baptists and Assembly of God churches are as much to blame as the out of the closet fag churches...Why? Because they have created an atmosphere in this world where people believe the lie that God loves everybody. This soul-damning lie is the reason that fags are so out-spoken today."
-- "Fag Churches," WBC "Godhatesfags.com" Web site
"Methodist, Episcopal, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Catholic, Northern and Southern Baptist, Church of Christ, Assembly of God, etc. have all departed from God. Most well-known preachers (Billy Graham, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, etc.) have departed from God, and disassociated themselves with pure Gospel preaching."
-- "Churches," WBC "Godhatesamerica.com" Web site
"Yes, this monstrous hydra, which grows back two heads for every one slain, must be destroyed by the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God...Must be a comfort to you sodomite Episcopalians, that your Catamite church was founded by a faggot king (butt-buddy to Rev. Erasmus of Rotterdam)...Episcopalians hate God."
-- "Pastor Phelps will expose the corrupt Episcopal Church," WBC "News Release," January 3, 1996
"Filled with shyster lawyers and crooked judges, the Episcopal Church USA is a cesspool of sodomite sin and crime."
-- "WBC to picket Episcopal General Convention (fag orgy) in Philly July 18-20," WBC "News Release," May 21, 1997
"The Episcopal Church, founded by the holy whoremonger Henry VIII, welcomes you...to the joys of anal copulating...to exquisite misery in this world, and to everlasting damnation & hell fire in the next!"
-- "Westboro Baptist Church will picket Olathe schools & Supt. _________ for caving to 'Annie' and filthy fags," WBC "News Release," January 2, 1996
"Like the Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Methodists, et al., the so-called Christian Church-Disciples of Christ (generally, Congregational Churches) are sodomite churches. They are not true churches of Jesus Christ."
-- "Filthy Fags Own Australia," WBC "News Release,"
"Apostate Methodism is being cursed by God in sending them sodomite heretics as pastors, who are withered & blind...These Satanic evangelists from Hell...for lucre, traffic in the souls of men, walking in craftiness & handling the Word of God deceitfully."
-- "WBC to picket Bishop _________ and St. Paul's Methodist of Lenexa," WBC "News Release," March 14, 1998
"Considering the dispositions of priests and parishioners, more accurate names for some of Topeka's Catholic churches would be: Most Foul Heart of Satan, Antichrist the King, Our Lady of Sodom, Unholy Name."
-- "Whore __________ can't Help Elmer Now," WBC "News Release," September 28, 1998
"There is a difference between the sense of the sacred...and the goofy 'communal sensitivity' at Topeka's sodomite Mexican Catholic Church...Mexican idolaters worship bloody rectums..."
-- "Week 394 of the Great Gage Park Decency Drive," WBC "News Release," December 31, 1998
"Fag priests and dyke nuns is the order of the day for Kansas Catholics. They deserve the sick, perverted leadership that now dooms and damns them."
-- "WBC to picket Catholic fag bash," WBC flier, June 5, 2000
"The Kansas City Star ran a 3-day, multi-page story about the sex sins of Catholic priests. Botton [sic] line in approximations: one-third are gay, one-third are womanizers, and -- with important exceptions -- the other third mostly covers, pimps and enables the lust-driven two-thirds. WBC will picket Sacred Heart and St. Catherine's Catholic Churches in Emporia in religious protest and warning."
-- "WBC to picket ___________ in two victim churches in Emporia," WBC flier, June 3, 2000On America
"The reason for the violence that has been erupting in the United States of America in recent years is that GOD HATES AMERICA."
-- "Children are their oppressors,"
"The same Bible that prescribes the death penalty for murderers, also prescribes the death penalty for those who engage in homosexual conduct. It is a measure of the perversion of our country -- our near-total alienation from God -- that the masses cannot see this great national hypocrisy."
-- "Homosexuals, also, should have the Death Penalty!" WBC flier, June 14, 1997
"In our experience, no modern country is more repressive of human rights than the U.S.A. The vaunted First Amendment is nothing but empty words on paper...we will journey to China at our expense, and tell our story of modern American repression of human rights, upon invitation."
-- Fred Phelps, writing to the Ambassador to the United States from the People's Republic of China, February 26, 1997
"Homosexuals now pervade and control American government at every level and branch. Thus, only those churches that support and promote the militant homosexual agenda enjoy religious freedom. Any church in America that dares to preach what the Bible says about soul-damning, nation-destroying moral filth of the vile homosexual beasts among us, loses all Constitutional guarantees of religious freedom and speech rights."
-- Fred Phelps, in a letter to Russian President Boris Yeltsin, July 5, 1997
"We understand that Iraq is the only Muslim state that allows the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ to be freely and openly preached on the streets without fear of arrest and prosecution. Alas, the United States no longer allows the Gospel to be freely and openly preached on the streets, because militant sodomites now control our government, and they violently object to the Bible message...The same majoritarian sodomite tyranny that now guides the Clinton administration's repressive policies toward Gospel preaching on America's streets, is apparently responsible -- at least in part -- for the merciless slaughter by starvation of 400 innocent Iraqi babies each day in your country. If our government and laws will allow it, and at the invitation of your government, we would like to send a delegation from Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas, to preach the Gospel on the streets of Baghdad for one week in the near future."
-- Fred Phelps, in a letter to Saddam Hussein,
This report was originally issued in September, 2000
© 2000 Anti-Defamation League