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Inside the Westboro Baptist Church: a TIME exclusive

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posted on Jan, 13 2011 @ 09:07 AM
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Members of the Westboro Baptist Church plan to stage an illegal protest at the funeral of Congressional Representative Stephanie Tubbs-Jones, D-OH

Behind the Signs

The Westboro Baptist Church first made national headlines in 2006, picketing the funeral of a Marine killed in Iraq with inflammatory signs reading You're Going to Hell and Thank God for Dead Soldiers. In December 2010, Westboro protestors descended on the North Carolina funeral of Elizabeth Edwards -- but were vastly outnumbered by counter-protestors.

Now the church -- which publicly proclaims that "God sent the shooter" in the January 8, 2011, massacre in Arizona -- plans to protest at the funeral of a federal judge killed in the rampage. Who are these people? Why do they routinely disrupt the funerals of fallen American troops? Celebrate the carnage of 9/11? Hail the pain of AIDS sufferers? What, at heart, do they believe -- and what are they like when they're not brutalizing the grief-stricken? In June 2008, hoping to understand what drives a community of faith to act in ways that, to the rest of the world, appear reckless and unspeakably cruel, photographer Anthony Karen spent a week with church members. Here, LIFE.com presents exclusive, never-seen pictures from Karen's time with the church, and his own recollections and insights into their lives and their faith outside the public eye.


Founding Father

Pastor Fred Phelps, the 80-year-old founder of Westboro Baptist, greets one of his grandchildren immediately following a church service. Phelps, a former civil rights attorney, has 13 children -- 11 of them lawyers -- and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The church itself, based in Topeka, Kansas, has about 70 members, almost all of whom are part of Phelps' immediate and extended family. Of the extraordinary access photographer Anthony Karen was granted to chronicle such a tight, seemingly insular community


Fighting Words

Phelps' church, meanwhile, which is not recognized by any official Baptist convention or association, adheres to what appears to be a straightforward, grimly retributive theology: As long as Americans embrace homosexuality and religious pluralism -- i.e., accommodating Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, atheists, etc. -- the nation, in Westboro's view, is doomed. Until that message is received, church members will continue to celebrate divine punishment


Source: www.life.com.../0

This is a good start to a great article. At least in it's presentation and insider coverage. NOTE: You'll have to go to the article to view the TIME photos (protected).

In TIME's black & white. I guess trying to show them as Old Timers etc. I don't know.

Seems to me they need to do something more productive with all of their energy. All of those Attys in that family. They probably keep themselves employed by defending and filing lawsuits.

I just can't bring myself to say anything nice and/or good about these people.

If they did have a noble cause at first, I think they lost it and are seeking fame (of whatever sort).

They are going to be big in the news in the upcoming weeks. Mark my words. I think they may get a big beat down at the little girls event.

The LORD works in mysterious ways as they may soon find out.




posted on Jan, 13 2011 @ 09:30 AM
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Holy sh#t,FAGS EAT FECES,i was not aware of that!

My dog occasionally eats feces,is he going to hell?

edit on 13/1/11 by lektrofellon because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 13 2011 @ 09:45 AM
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(edit for clarity, this is a pun/joke; not a serious interview.)

John Lipton Interviews Westboro Baptist Church:


John: What is your favorite word?
Westboro: N****r and Fag; wait, can I only choose one?

John: What is your least favorite word?
Westboro: Tolerance.

John: What turns you on?
Westboro: Lynchin'!!

John: What turns you off?
Westboro: Constitutional Amendments 13th, 15th, 19th and 24th.

John: What sound or noise do you love?
Westboro: Sound of chains tied to trucks dragging on the ground; Anything being shouted dealing with "God Hates ____"s.

John: What sound or noise do you hate?
Westboro: The sound of independent thought; any phrase uttered by someone with an IQ higher than 30.

John: What is your favorite curse word?
Westboro: FAG. Hands down. Love Fag... er... Can we edit that out?

John: What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Westboro: I've always thought of my flock as successful Plantation owners!

John: What profession would you not like to do?
Westboro: Civil Rights Advocate.

John: If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
Westboro: "Great job, kiddos, really doing the Lord's work down there." ... Who are we kidding; your God ain't my God!
edit on 13-1-2011 by igigi because: Antikythera mechanism



posted on Jan, 13 2011 @ 09:55 AM
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I heard this little tidbit yesterday:

www.680news.com...

Dean Blundell, a controversial morning show host on rock radio station 102.1 The Edge, said he brokered the deal with Shirley Phelps-Roper of the Westboro Baptist Church in an effort to prevent further suffering for the victim's family.



posted on Jan, 13 2011 @ 10:00 AM
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reply to post by igigi
 


These people sound like extreme racists and haters...this sounds like a cult.

These people esp the guy you are quoting is NUTS and a danger to people around. He is someone who would go off and yet people actually agree with the crap he spouts. Wow. I hope nobody gets hurt because of these idiots.



posted on Jan, 13 2011 @ 10:05 AM
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Where did these fine examples of modern fundamentalism hear words such as 'fag' and 'scat'?

Surely they cant be searching out obscure german porn when they are not waving their ridiculous placards about



posted on Jan, 13 2011 @ 10:40 AM
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reply to post by Tasty Canadian
 


My point exactly. They get some special care/treatment aks Media exposure and they all happy.

They are pronouncing God's word/will. They are using God for their own sick interest.



posted on Jan, 13 2011 @ 02:44 PM
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I just checked up on the church.

Seems like they have decided to head to Colorado to take on some High School who is doing a play about a murdered gay student.

I think God must have guided them away from Arizona.



posted on Jan, 13 2011 @ 02:47 PM
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reply to post by anon72
 


God or the prying eyes of the MSM and the Public. More and more we're seeing the MSM steer away from sensationalizing Westboro.

Very good thing, imo




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