Extremist Westboro Church foiled in Mississippi

Westboro2

BRANDON, Miss. - Members of the far-right Westboro Baptist Church showed up here April 16 to protest the funeral of Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Jason Rogers, who was slain in Afghanistan on April 7. However, local residents caught wind of the incoming protesters, and banded together to protect the family and friends of Staff Sgt. Rogers as they mourned his loss.

The Westboro Baptist Church, led by its pastor Fred Phelps, has protested at military funerals, funerals of victims of gay-bashing, concerts and countless other events, for years. By their own count, they have participated in over 30,000 pickets. They say that God hates America for its tolerance of the lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender (LGBT) community and that dead soldiers, terrorist attacks and natural disasters - among a myriad of other tragedies - are divine retribution for this tolerance. These protests often include signs such as "God hates fags," and "Thank God for dead soldiers," as well as flag desecration.

They are not affiliated with any Baptist organizations, and are extremely critical of Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Muslims and Hindus. Needless to say this group, consisting mostly of one large family, has faced much opposition in its self-proclaimed message of hate.

However, in Brandon, Mississippi, it appears as if they may have been outmaneuvered by members of the local community, and they did not show up at the funeral itself. Thankfully for the Rogers family, Staff Sgt. Rogers was buried in peace.

The Supreme Court recently ruled that these "protests" at military funerals, while tasteless and hurtful, fall under the First Amendment's free-speech protections. However, a West Virginia court acquitted a man of assault after he spit tobacco juice at Shirley Phelps-Roper (one of the leaders of the church) as the church protested the deaths of miners in West Virginia.

So, it may be legal for the Phelps group to protest at funerals, but it is also legal to spit in their faces.

Corrected 4/25/11: An earlier version of this article cited reports of incidents involving the Brandon police, but those reports could not be confirmed.

Photo: Westboro Baptist Church protests at a funeral in Chalco, Neb., in June 2008. anyofne CC 2.0

 

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  • This is a great story but I'm wondering how true it is. All the other sites seem to show the same e-mail as evidence. It's still a great story and I'm glad that they didn't interfere with the funeral.

    The biggest thing people don't know about WBBC is that Fred Phelps and his daughters are all attorneys who specialize in freedom of speech law. So they wait until someone hits them and sue for $. It's not a church, it's a scam.

    Posted by Jordan 23, 09/08/2011 11:29pm (3 years ago)

  • My compliments to the Sherrif and men of Brandon. As a veteran who has experienced religious discrimination in the recent past, you have my thanx

    Posted by joseph wessel, 07/31/2011 10:22pm (3 years ago)

  • These cowards had shown up in Ottumwa, IA to protest a fallen soldier. Needless to say, thousands came together and ran them out of town. They video tape everything that goes on, just so they can sue whoever for whatever. They are some dirty individuals. And for their Cult leader...Keep sending children and women out to do your brainwashed tasks. That goes to prove how big of a coward you truely are. The Westboro Cult sent 4 women, 2 children under the age of 10 and 4 men. I could go on for days about these sick people. May God bless our troops, as I am one also. God Bless the USA.

    Posted by Samantha Harrington, 06/09/2011 3:21pm (3 years ago)

  • Oh its true my friends. I live in Brandon, and in Mississippi, we do not and will not tolerate people like this. We live in a quiet town, and it will stay that way. Also they are lucky our police dept. didn't just shoot them and just make the bodies disappear. Stuff like that has happened here in the past. And a ruff past it was.

    Posted by joe, 04/27/2011 9:48am (3 years ago)

  • This is a great story but I'm wondering how true it is. All the other sites seem to show the same e-mail as evidence. It's still a great story and I'm glad that they didn't interfere with the funeral.

    The biggest thing people don't know about WBBC is that Fred Phelps and his daughters are all attorneys who specialize in freedom of speech law. So they wait until someone hits them and sue for $. It's not a church, it's a scam.

    Posted by Rob, 04/26/2011 4:05pm (4 years ago)

  • Hey ya'll ,
    They all live in Topeka ,Kansas between 12th and Houtoon in about the 3200 block and up .They live on the whole block , there back yards are connected . You cant miss it the flag is up side down !!!!!! So get F out of the USA !!!!!!!

    Posted by Pam, 04/26/2011 3:21pm (4 years ago)

  • We in Oregon are standing in applause at your intelligence!! Way to go united citizens of Brandon!!

    Posted by Jodi TePoel, 04/26/2011 12:19pm (4 years ago)

  • You wonder why, if they "hate fags" so much, they just don't go, say, to San Francisco and protest there?

    Oh wait...

    They most likely would be roughed up a bit.

    So they will continue to pick on the most vulnerable people...the ones who won't fight back...

    so sad....

    Posted by Dick, 04/26/2011 11:48am (4 years ago)

  • "SEMPER FI" to all you Civilian Marines for a whale of a job on the West Burptist J**K offs! My Hats off to ya!!

    Posted by Lance Corporal 3 time, 04/25/2011 11:36pm (4 years ago)

  • God Bless the people of Brandon, Mississippi!!

    Posted by Ronald M. Blanchard, 04/25/2011 9:48pm (4 years ago)

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