Latest from The Spokesman-Review
Westboro Baptist Church announced plans Wednesday night to protest Steve Jobs’s funeral, sending the message out…wait for it… via Twitter for iPhone. Margie Phelps, daughter of the small church’s founder and the lawyer who represented the church during their First Amendment case at the Supreme Court, (which Westboro won,) was among the Phelps family members to use Apple products to Tweet about the death of the Apple co-founder. “Westboro will picket his funeral.He had a huge platform; gave God no glory & taught sin,” Margie tweeted Wednesday night on her iPhone/Elizabeth Tenety, Washington Post. More here.
Last fall, Spokane and Coeur d'Alene reacted admirably to members of the Westboro Baptist Church, a small Kansas congregation that uses the funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan to spread a view that the United States is being punished for being too accepting of homosexuality.
Recently in Kansas City, Westboro members picketed and another counter-demonstration was mounted. This time with some sound effects from the Foo Fighters. Maybe that will become a standard response to the congregation…don't fight fire with fire, fight hate speech with music.
Protesting members of the controversial Westboro Baptist Church were met with an unlikely group of counterprotesters Monday at Arlington Cemetery. Hours before President Barack Obama led the nation's Memorial Day observances at the Tomb of the Unknowns, three members of the Westboro Baptist Church were challenged by others who disagreed with them — including members claiming to be from the Ku Klux Klan. The Kansas-based church has attracted nationwide attention for its angry, anti-gay protests at the funerals of U.S. military members. Among those counter-protesting at the cemetery's main entrance: About 10 members of a group that claims to be a branch of the Ku Klux Klan from Virginia called the Knights of the Southern Cross/CNN. More here. (AP file photo: Westboro Baptist protesters)
Question: In a cemetery showdown between Westboro Baptist Church and the Ku Klux Klan, which side would you be rooting for?
John Martin, vice president for community relations and marketing at NIC, said the policy was created for safety reasons and to allow students to get to their classes. “The policy is to keep the campus safe and undisrupted when demonstrations are taking place. When Westboro Baptist Church visited us this last year we did not have a policy in place to say ‘OK, you’re welcome on our campus and we believe in the First Amendment right to free speech.’ However, we don’t believe groups that are demonstrating or exercising their right to free speech have the right to impede traffic or to disrupt classes or things of that nature”/Mitch Coffman, Idaho Reporter. More here.
Question: Was the NIC trustee decision to create a free-speech zone a reasonable response to the visit by Fred Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church in 2010 reasonable or overkill?
New York City artist Scott LoBaido works on his painting of famed military funeral protesters Fred Phelps and daughter Shirley outside the Westboro Baptist Church compound in Topeka, Kan., Sunday. LoBaido took a break from his 50 state tour of painting American flags on rooftops in each state to exercise his first amendment rights and finish his painting in the public spaces near the Westboro Baptist Church compound. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the First Amendment protects fundamentalist church members who mount attention-getting, anti-gay protests outside military funerals. The court voted 8-1 in favor of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan. The decision upheld an appeals court ruling that threw out a $5 million judgment to the father of a dead Marine who sued church members after they picketed his son's funeral. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the opinion for the court. Justice Samuel Alito dissented. "What Westboro said, in the whole context of how and where it chose to say it, is entitled to 'special protection' under the First Amendment," Roberts wrote, "and that protection cannot be overcome by a jury finding that the picketing was outrageous"/Associated Press. More here. (AP file photo)
Question: Does the U.S. Supreme Court opinion in favor of the despicable Westboro Baptist Church make you appreciate our 1st Amendment more/less?
The families in Arizona have suffered quite a bit. But one group wants to make them suffer just a little bit more: Westboro Baptist Church, the church of hate that pickets funerals to highlight its vile attacks, will picket the funeral of the little girl and five others who were killed in Saturday’s shooting rampage. Fred Phelps, in an offensive press release you may not want to read in full, announced Sunday he will bring his tiny band of followers, fresh from last month’s Elizabeth Edwards funeral, to this wounded city because, “That’s how God the avenger rolls,” he says/Adam Graham, Adam's Blog. More here. (SR file photo: Dan Pelle, taken during October visit of Westboro Baptist Church to Ferris High & other Inland Northwest stops, including Coeur d'Alene & Lake City highs & North Idaho College.)
- 'Dawn Treader' and Jack Black's 'Gulliver's' travails/Dennis Mansfield
- Get me rewrite/Fort Boise
- There's no more sure-fire way to start a flame war/Sisyphus, 43rd State Blues
- Tragedy in Arizona/Idaho Conservative Blogger
- Mental health care in the wake of Tucson/Political Game
- Stability and predictability/Randy Stapilus, Ridenbaugh Press
- Whole world is watching Giffords story/Marc Johnson, The Johnson Post
Question: Are you surprised by anything Fred Phelps and company does at this point?
Large crowds of counter-demonstrators turned out in the early morning darkness in Coeur d’Alene today to answer the small group of protesters from Westboro Baptist Church that plans a second day of denouncing gays, soldiers, Jews, the United States, and private and public colleges and schools. The seven members of the extremist group from Topeka, Kan., were out holding signs at the corner of Fourth and Dalton streets, next to Coeur d’Alene High School, by 6 a.m., while at least 50 counter-demonstrators met them with messages of their own. “I don’t like the way they treat veterans at the funerals,” said Greg Prado of Hayden, a Marine who served in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Prado attended with his son Cade, 6, and wife Amy/Alison Boggs, SR. More here. (SR Photo: Kathy Plonka: Scott and Michelle Hoagland, of Coeur d’Alene, give free hugs during the protest of the Westboro Baptist Church at North Idaho College on Friday.)
Question: What is the best way to demonstrate against hate?
Spokane police estimate they’ll spend between $9,000 and $10,000 on overtime costs to pay for the police presence at Westboro Baptist Church protests and counter protests Thursday.
That doesn’t include money for Spokane County Sheriff’s Office employees and the jail’s critical response team.
Police said no one was arrested and no citations were issued during the protests, took place at Whitworth University, Ferris High School and Eastern Washington University. The group is picketing today at Lake City and Coeur d’Alene high schools and at NIC.
Alisha Nowoj, far left 18, of Coeur d’Alene helped counter- protest the members of Westboro Baptist Church at North Idaho College this morning. (SR Photo: Kathy Plonka)
Cabbage Boy: Haven’t researched these people much, but during supper last night the question came up about funding. Does anyone know where they get their money? With all their targets that they hate, (and this is truly hate speech) they can’t have too many options for donors.
Question: I’ve wondered the same thing as Cabbage Boy. Where do you think Westboro Baptist gets money to fund trips like the current one to the Inland Northwest?
Tongue firmly cheeked, Mr. Bloggy offers his own ideas re: a task force on human rights approach to Westboro Baptist Church invaders: “Mr_Bloggy remains flummoxed and dumbfounded that we, as a so-called civilized society, continue to rely on change-impotent and quiver-empty “task forces” on “human relations” to bloviate, pontificate, shiver, shimmy and shake over what Mr_Bloggy likes to call “pure, damn, evil” rather than actually, you know, SOLVE THE PROBLEMS. Here, need some task force definitional metrics? Need a foundation for a more effective narrative? Let Mr_Bloggy suggest a minimalist approach, a creamless shave with Occam’s Razor. Keep reading.
- Bonus Bloggy: Explaining Tolkien’s Gookinii
Question: How would you deal with Westboro Baptist Church, if you ran the universe?
FishinJay: Driving by Lake City High School this morning I saw the Westboro crazies out there, and the counter protesters across the street. Then right next to the Westboro crowd was a man with the “Support Obama, Vote Minnick” sign. If the point of the Obama/Minnick sign is guilt by association, perhaps he should have taken a hard look at who he was standing next to first!
Question: Is the “Obama/Minnick” sign guy helping his cause by standing next to the Westboro Baptist Church crowd? Or is he being clever in trying to get his photo taken to besmirch Minnick?
A crowd turned out in the early morning darkness in Coeur d’Alene
today to counter the small group of protesters from Westboro Baptist
Church that plans a second day of denouncing gays, soldiers, Jews, the
United States, and private and public colleges and schools. The
eight members of the extremist group from Topeka, Kan., were out holding
signs at the corner of Fourth and Dalton streets, next to Coeur d’Alene
High School, by 6 a.m., while at least 50 counter-demonstrators met
them with messages of their own. “I don’t like the way they treat
veterans at the funerals,” said Greg Prado of Hayden, a Marine who
served in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Prado attended with
his son Cade, 6, and wife Amy/Alison Boggs, SR. More here.
- Nic: And they’re at Lake City HS with counter-protests across the street (both to the north and to the east). Oddly, a local is on the Westboro side with the Support Obama/vote Minnick sing. And he’s next to the “God hates boobies/gay people/America” people so it looks like he’s one of them.
Question: Am I the only one who feels sorry for the kids that Fred Phelps & his horrible family have drawn into their web of hate?
Good morning, Netizens…
Yesterday we were witness to the whirlwind tour of the Westboro Baptist Church demonstrations throughout Spokane, and there were a remarkable number of counter-demonstrations nose-to-nose across the street from one another. Having been involved in several demonstrations in the 60’s and 70’s I was not prepared for the civility and decency that Spokane’s home-grown demonstrations brought to the forefront.
While I did not have enough free time to attend each demonstration, the non-traditional and ordinary news media was well-represented enough I did not feel the need to be at each demonstration.
The Westboro Church’s demonstration was about HATRED, pure and simple, and their entire set of premises, anti-gay, anti-Jew, anti-just about anything you hold near and dear, which brought them to Spokane simply are wrong. They were debated in the streets by hundreds of people who were having no part of it.
The best part, perhaps, is that no one was arrested, despite a strong police presence. However, the people of Spokane told them in language that even deaf elephants understand that we had no use for their hatred. It did me a lot of good to have so many Spokane citizens, from a broad spectrum of societal and social groups, united against Westboro’s hate-filled beliefs.
I cannot help but wonder will they come our way again? In their own words, they came to deliver a message; did they get our message?
A mob of counter-protesters shout at the Westboro Baptist Church members as the two groups line 37th Avenue and Regal Street on Thursday near Ferris High School in Spokane. (AP Photo/The Spokesman-Review, Dan Pelle)
- Toadman: I was among those 1200 at EWU. It was quite an event, like nothing I’ve experienced at EWU so far. I’d like to thank Westboro Baptist Church for bringing us all together for a common cause. ;-)
The Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations is holding a press conference and peaceful rally, in response to the WBC protests throughout the community, on Friday, October 22 at 9:00 AM at the Human Rights Education Institute Center in Coeur d’Alene. The Center is located on Mullan Road adjacent to the Coeur d’Alene City Park. The joint press conference and rally will feature statements by America’s veterans, religious leaders, youth, educators, government officials, business and labor leaders, representatives from the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, law enforcement and the minority communities.
Question: Which approach to the Westboro Baptist Church do you prefer — passive resistance and a rally as advocated by Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations or direct confrontation in a counter-protest?
Shirley Phelps-Roper, of the Westboro Baptist Church, shares her point of view while standing on the corner of Cincinnati and Spokane Falls Blvd, on Thursday. Story & more photos here. (SR Photo: Dan Pelle)
- KREM tweet: “Just heard over the police scanners that there are 1,200 people at the #EWU Westboro counter protest.”
Eight members of the Westboro Baptist Church, a radical anti-homosexual and anti-Semitic religious group based in Topeka, Kan., are picketing near Gonzaga University. There are about 600 people demonstrating against the group across Spokane Falls Boulevard from the Westboro representatives, near the GU baseball field. A Westboro member said they chose the Inland Northwest because North Idaho College, in Coeur d’Alene, is presenting “The Laramie Project,” a play about the aftermath of the murder of Matthew Shepard, a gay college student, in 1998/Spokesman-Review. More here.
Question: 600 versus 8? Is it worth the time?
Counter protests and demonstrations
are planned across The Inland Northwest Thursday to drown out the voices
of the Westboro Baptist Church.The group’s website posts a tight
schedule Thursday starting 11 a.m. at Gonzaga, then visiting Whitworth
University, Ferris High School, Eastern Washington University and a
South Hill Synagogue before the day is done. Wednesday night, the schools and Synagogue are preparing for the
unwelcome visitors. Gonzaga is organizing a sit-in on campus, a silent
demonstration during the Westboro protest/Kalae Chock, KXLY. More here. And: KREM report with schedule here.
Question: Are you curious enough to try to see Fred Phelps & his Westboro Baptist Church haters when they’re in town?
(Westboro Baptist Church) will be picketing “The Laramie Project” 8 -8:30 a.m. Friday outside
Boswell Hall. According to WBC, their reasoning for this picket is “to
preach some truth to the audience and cast of this fag propaganda play
of lies.” … WBC will also picket outside Boswell Hall closing night of “The Laramie Project,” Oct. 30 from 6:45-7:30 p.m. “I
was really surprised,” Jacoby said in regards to finding out that the
WBC would be picketing the production. “We had hardly even started
publicity. How we managed to land on their radar was my first biggest
question. We’re in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, pretty well off the beaten
path. We’re a two-year school. I was sure this was not going to fall on
their radar, but somehow they did. They must’ve seen the audition notice
in the last week of August”/Shauna DeMerritt, North Idaho College Sentinel. More here. (AP File Photo of Fred Phelps, dark glasses, and family)
Question: Have you ever seen the play, ‘The Laramie Project’? Do you plan to do so some day?
In this March 23, 2006, file photo, Margie Phelps, daughter of Rev. Fred Phelps, of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan., kicks a U.S. flag on the grass outside the State Capitol during a rally for the “Right to Rest in Peace” rally in Denver. Phelps is set to go before the U.S. Supreme Court on today to represent her church in a case that tests the scope of free speech protections under the Constitution’s First Amendment. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/The Rocky Mountain News, Chris, Schneider)
- 1. D’oh! The posters were supposed to read “God Hates Flags …” — Kevin Taylor; and: she needs to get laid!, but….. how?! — Pecky Cox.
- 2. Phelps takes a high kick to start running away like the coward she is when the American Flag takes on a life of its own and prepares to attack with a furl of its red and white stripes, the stars coming to a head, teeth chomping at her heels — JeanieS.
- 3. Margie flags again the perception that the worst-behaved kids are the children of preachers, teachers and cops — JohnA.
- HM: Poolman
Margie Phelps, second from right, a daughter of Fred Phelps and the lawyer who argued the case for of the Westboro Baptist Church, of Tokepa Kan., walks from the Supreme Court, in Washington Tuesday after the court heard arguments in the dispute between Albert Snyder, of York, Pa., and the Westboro Baptist Church. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
The U.S. Supreme Court takes up a case of high emotion and high principle Wednesday. At issue is whether the father of a Marine killed in Iraq can sue picketers who showed up at his son’s funeral with signs that read ”God Hates Fags” and “You’re Going to Hell.” A federal appeals court invalidated a $5 million judgment against the picketers, concluding that even outrageous opinion is protected by the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech/Nina Totenberg, NPR. More here.
Question: Do you support the right that the foul Phelps family & Co. have to spew their hatred, even at the funerals of U.S. military personnel?
Do not confront them. That’s the best way to respond to protesters from Westboro
Baptist Church, say human rights leader Tony Stewart and Coeur d’Alene School District Superintendent Hazel Bauman. “We abhor the message promulgated by this group,”
Bauman wrote Tuesday, in an e-mail sent to some of her key staff
members. “We will not engage with them and will do all we can
to prevent our students from engaging with them as this is their
ploy. We do not wish to play into their hands or even dignify this
bigotry with a response”/Maureen Dolan, Coeur d’Alene Press. More here. (AP file photo)
Question: Do you agree with Tony Stewart & Hazel Bauman that the best way to deal with the Westboro Baptist Church protesters is to ignore them?
Good evening, Netizens…
Westboro Baptist Church is coming to Spokane to continue spewing more hatred against gays, and from their website, we present the Westboro itinerary for the Spokane area:
Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA October 21, 2010 11:00 AM - 11:30 AM
Moody Bible Institute in Spokane, WA October 21, 2010 11:40 AM - 12:10 PM
Whitworth University in Spokane, WA October 21, 2010 12:30 PM - 1:00 PM
Rodgers High School in Spokane, WA October 21, 2010 2:25 PM - 2:55 PM
Eastern Washington University in Cheney, WA October 21, 2010 3:45 PM - 4:15 PM
Synagogue Chavurat HaMashiach in Spokane, WA October 21, 2010 6:00 PM - 6:30 PM
Coeur d’Alene High School in Coeur d’Alene, ID October 22, 2010 6:10 AM - 6:40 AM
Lake City High School in Coeur d’Alene, ID October 22, 2010 7:10 AM - 7:40 AM
North Idaho College in Coeur D’Alene, ID October 22, 2010 8:00 AM - 8:30 AM
North Idaho College in Coeur d’Alene, ID October 30, 2010 6:45 PM - 7:30 PM
I have been following the statements and actions of Fred Phelps and his band of approximately 70 unaffiliated Baptist Church members for several months now, and I am no more opposed to their exercising their freedom of speech than I am of anyone else. However, like the person(s) who cry FIRE in a crowded theaters, there are limitations. Spitting on the caskets of dead Marines who gave their lives in the defense of liberty seems like a good place to start changing from a hysterically-outrageous little church of 70 hate-filled Baptists into something more worthwhile and reverent. Dragging our US flag in the dirt in parades just doesn’t sit that well for me, either.
However, when I say these people are on the absolute outer fringe of organized religions, I appear to be in good company. Westboro Baptist Church is currently classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. They spend over $200,000 a year on traveling around the country to express their opinions filled with hatred.
If you truly want to know more about the people from Westboro Baptist Church, I highly recommend you read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westboro_Baptist_Church and you will see why they are viewed as a hate group.
Nic: As a Christian, it saddens me that people like Fred Phelps can commit such ugly acts in the name of God. I’m heartbroken that he has set the stereotype of how much of the world thinks of real Christians. As an American, I am bewildered that (Westboro Baptist Church) is able to maintain their 501(c)3 status.
Question: Is it fair to judge Christians by the actions of extremists like Fred Phelps & Co. of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan.?