As Fred Phelps Inches Toward Hell, Missouri Law Forbids Funeral Protests He's Known For

revfelps.jpg
Rev. Fred Phelps.
The hate-mongering piece of garbage that is The Rev. Fred Phelps Sr., is almost dead, but at least he lived long enough to see a Missouri judge uphold a law forbidding his followers from one of their most antagonizing tactics: funeral protests.

Protesters at funerals must stay 300 feet away starting one hour before the funeral and ending an hour after the services, U.S. District Judge Fernando Gaitan, Jr., ruled last week.

Phelps' followers, who call themselves the Westboro Baptist Church, are known to protest funerals -- especially for troops killed in combat -- to express their belief that God is punishing the U.S. for homosexuality. The protests are a large reason why the Southern Poverty Law Center calls Phelps' group "arguably the most obnoxious and rabid hate group in America."

See also: Mizzou Students Prepare to Block Homophobic Protest Against Michael Sam with Human Wall

Nine years ago, about twenty of Phelps' followers picketed the funeral of Army Spc. Peter Navarro, a 20-year-old from Wildwood who died Dec. 13, 2005, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his Humvee in Taji, Iraq. Protest signs blamed Navarro's death on the U.S. government's tolerance of gays.

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Danny Wicentowski
Westboro Baptist Church protesters at the World Series.
In 2006, the Missouri Legislature responded by passing a law prohibiting funeral protests. Shirley Phelps-Roper, Phelps' daughter, filed a challenge to the law with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union, saying it violated First Amendment rights.

A long legal battle followed, with the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that a buffer-zone between funerals and protesters must have a pre-determined size to be constitutional.

Last week, Gatain ruled that the 300-foot buffer rule was constitutional and enforceable, lifting the injunction on the law and allowing police to enforce it for the first time since January 2009.

"My office has been fighting for five years to ensure that funerals for fallen soldiers can be free of disruptive protesters shouting right outside the church door," says Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster. "No parent who has lost a child should be confronted by the hate and intolerance of strangers, and today's ruling means parents and other loved ones will have a protective boundary from protesters."

Protesting too close to a funeral will earn offenders up to six months in jail and a $500 fine for a first offense and up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine for repeat offenders.

Phelps is on the edge of death, according to his son, Nathan Phelps, who is estranged from his father.


Follow Lindsay Toler on Twitter at @StLouisLindsay. E-mail the author at Lindsay.Toler@RiverfrontTimes.com.

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33 comments
Greg Bradley II
Greg Bradley II

They forbid? I remember taking an oath to support and defend the constitution. I guess its time to practice the right of freedom of expression!

Ninjuwusu Jfcraig
Ninjuwusu Jfcraig

TO EACH HIS OWN, i SHOULD HAVE KNOW YOU WERE A FLOWER CHILD....LOL...peace out.

JJ O'Brand
JJ O'Brand

Dude, fuck off, any rational human being knows what (a) piece(s) of abject trash the Phelps clan, and their ilk are. You bitch about free speech, you don't even understand the amendment, nor what it actually protects.

Ninjuwusu Jfcraig
Ninjuwusu Jfcraig

The hate mongering piece of garbage.............what a professional statement front RIVER FRONT TIMES...........it would seem that maybe the person who wrote this may or might be gay also, he has the right to free speach just as you do and your hate words...............think about, and yes Im from st.louis 40 yrs, Im sure more yrs than you are old.........as seen by your unbalanced statement............

smdrpepper
smdrpepper

So, when do the daily gay pride parades start to go past his death bed?

ReverendFloydBiggins
ReverendFloydBiggins

So, will he go to the same part of Hell as all the Catholic priest who molested thousands & thousands of innocent children?

Or, will he go to section of Hell with the Atheist & Scientologist? 

All Muslims go to directly to Hell , sometimes on airplanes (hope the devil feeds them pork spam)

Maybe, the Mormon part of Hell (we know those heretic sinners and their multiple wives are toast) is where he will end up.

Perhaps the Jewish part of Hell for being an unbeliever in the True Christian Faith™.

I hope he goes to the hipster section of Hell , where they knew they were going to roast before anybody else knew they were going to roast.

I know --- he will end up in the Gay quarter of Hell, where the "fabulous souls" are sentenced to an eternity of endlessly listening to Liberace , and wearing nothing but pink leotards decorated with cheap rhinestones.


Steve Mincer
Steve Mincer

c'mon... admit it...you all laughed at that sign on the right.

Hoffmeyer Jeffrey
Hoffmeyer Jeffrey

We've become a nation of wimps. Our forefathers would have solved this problem long before it reached this level.

Kevin Griffin
Kevin Griffin

The Wasteboro Baptist Church does not believe in worshipping the dead, therefore there would not be a funeral to protest at.

Alyssa Currie
Alyssa Currie

Go to the gay bar and have a drink and a great time. He would've hated that,

Gene Davis
Gene Davis

Good riddance of an evil person.

Chris Davis
Chris Davis

I think the best course of action is to not stoop to their level. I think letting his death not even register with the public is all we need to do.

Adriana Lopez
Adriana Lopez

Let the waste of space burn in hell!! Looking like a skeletor.

Zac Miller
Zac Miller

I think we should just ignore him and let him fall into obscurity, but this law is bullshit and Koster is dead wrong. This law violates the first amendment and should be struck down. No one in this country has the right to not be offended. Every law like this takes away a little bit of our freedom.

Andrea Spencer
Andrea Spencer

How about Rolling Thunder in honor of fallen military members whose funerals were protested?

Beau Pinkerton
Beau Pinkerton

So, technically... if he prayed to the magic man in the sky and asked for forgiveness...the gates of heaven should swing open?! According to christian beliefs...

Karen Hall
Karen Hall

If there is a hell, it's been waiting for you. Enjoy.

Mike E. Moses
Mike E. Moses

let's all hope he learns what a big horny bird actually feels like..in hell

Angela Marie
Angela Marie

So don't protest.... just show up wearing rainbow colors to pay your respects :P

Jeremy Schweigert
Jeremy Schweigert

How many police officers do you think you could find that would be willing to enforce that law for his funeral?

Professor
Professor

@smdrpepper @ReverendFloydBiggins  


Looks like smdrpepper is casting stones at a fellow sinner.

Hell is for other people ... right?

 RFT spouting "hell bound" for anybody is a bit ironic to say the least. RFT has long prided itself as Satans Little Helper when it comes to libertine hell-bent lifestyles in The Loo. FACT.

 PS----any Gay, Lesbian, Transexual, Ect ect march/protest at a Phelps funeral would be illegal. See what happens when you limit free-speech because of some very small voices in a very small circumstance?


{PSS-- the "Fag Nation" picture would make a great name for a rock band. Good album cover, or poster art too !}





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