FOF #1335 – The Westboro Baptist Church vs Anonymous

Feb 25, 2011 · 1985 views

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One of the most controversial guests we’ve ever had is Shirley Phelps-Roeper, the spokesperson for Westboro Baptist Church, best known for picketing funerals with signs like “God Hates F*gs.” A new battle exploding on several fronts for her church- one, a huge fight with Anonymous, a group of internet freedom fighters and another fight with the U.S. Supreme Court.


  1. Jpike says:

    Ooooooh, she’s mad at me…! Love it.

  2. Chickengirl says:

    if you wanna know more about the Anons vrs. WBC situation, you should go to the Anon’s crack den, Encyclopedia and read the WBC article–well, if you click on this link its starts the article at the part that specifically talks about the hacking of the website and such….

    the rest of the article is made up of true facts and random BS to just make fun of the WBC….

    but like Fausto said, since there are so many Anons on the internet, all with different viewpoints, its difficult to pinpoint what they actually stand for, cos a lot of them aren’t exactly gay-friendly either.

    and as for Shirley herself…wow…what a woman…as I was listening to this, I was trying to wrap my head around how exactly to describe her. Going with the assumption that she is actually serious/genuine with everything she says and believes in…well, she isn’t a stupid woman, and while she says some crazy stuff(I mean at some points I just kinda tuned her out), I don’t think she’s mentally crazy either..I dunno. I can’t agree with anything she says tho, except for maybe fighting against hypocrisy. The WBC is a horrible group of people, that is for sure, but I think the general public, the ones that aren’t on their side, hate them anyways.

    As for having Shirley on the show? I don’t think you guys are wrong to do it, this is just another outlet to show how idiotic the WBC is. Although I don’t know how you guys could have such a normal conversation with her, especially when she started rambling off about crazy stuff. I’d lose my cool if I were in an interview with her!!

  3. Barrett says:

    I actually really enjoyed this interview. It’s the first time I’ve been able to hear what the Phelps believe and why. And like it or not: She has a point about hypocrisy. A friend of mine has a father who doesn’t support gay marriage, but is on wife number three.

    What makes me a little sad is hearing moments where she lets her guard down and is kind and has a sense of humor. It’s like a glimpse at a person who might be fun to be around… In another life where she’s not so venomous.

    Great job, guys! Really an outstanding interview.

    Also, does anyone think Shirley’s cadence is very similar to Deven Green’s? Shirley’s “Don’t you know…” reminded me a lot of how Deven says “Lookit.” No? Maybe I’m off on that one. Maybe Shirley’s just reminding me of the brilliance of Betty Bowers? Whatever it is, it’s no insult to Deven. Promise.

  4. Andy says:

    I am glad Anonymous took down their godhatesfags website, a website full of hate.

    Maybe we should feel sorry for her? I think she is a victim of religion and this old, outdated and silly book called “bible” which is full of nonsense and lies. Again in this interview she shows that she is ignorant, stubborn and has lost touch with reality because she takes the bible literally and ignores any rational arguments which are based on facts and science.

    I suppose in the future one of her children will turn against her, take advantage of the family’s fame and publish a book and call her out for her pathetic actions.

  5. Tim says:

    My initial impression is that she is scary, but after listening to the interview I realized the Westboro Baptists are just crazy like any other religion. There seemed to be big contradictions in what they teach, like they dismiss some people’s actions as God’s plan (like the Tuscon gunman), who therefore lack freewill, while other people (gay people, fornicators, etc.) are free and conscious beings who have to pay for the choices they make. They seem more interested in publicity than anything else, ergo, the God loves Feast of Fun. Nonetheless, it’s interesting to find common ground (civil rights, catholic child abuse) and definitely pleasant people you could talk to a respectfully disagree.

  6. MaxT says:

    Historically the hate against same sax behavior came from the revenge the Christians took against the Romans. In fact the Romans were mainly bisexuals (men – women were not allowed to have any behavior, just be a mother). As Romans used to persecute Christians, when Christians arrived to the power, one of the first things they did was to banish everything the Roman used to enjoy. Therefor sodomites became sinners. Since then in all the Christianity way of thinking same sex is to be fought. A very different picture from the loving and caring first Christians they try to give us, isn’t it? LOL They certainly picture them wrongly in movies. They certainly couldn’t base themselves on the Bible, they didn’t have it…
    I don’t believe in hell, which was an invention made by some pope for scaring people and make them give more money for salvage their soul.

    What I do not understand is why God should be so hateful with his creatures. I do not get it.

    Anyway Religion is a strictly personal matter between the person and his/her God. And anyone trying to force anyone else to believe in what they believe in are violating that person.

    Fausto and Marc, whatever others may think, great job.
    Now please make Deven Green come back on the show 🙂

  7. Angela says:

    All I can say is, she used the phrase “train up a child”. Could just be quoting from the Bible, but if she uses and advocates the “physical discipline” methods specifically taught by Michael and Debi Pearl in their book “To Train Up A Child”, then it breaks my heart, knowing what parents have done to their kids because of those two.

    I didn’t grow up extremely religious myself, but I know enough about religious dogma (and have dealt with enough controlling personalities) to have an inkling of what Fred Phelps’ kids probably experienced, all to the end that they “obey” their father and God. Sure, people should teach their kids to function in a civilized society and to be considerate of others, but it should be done from a basis of caring about others and doing as you would be done by, not out of pants-wetting fear that you’ll be punished in this life or the next.

    It shouldn’t hurt to be a child. 🙁

  8. Michael says:

    I liked the interview. Don’t agree with her except for her pointing out gross hypocricy. She is lying about her perfect kids however. Have you heard of her son Nathon Phelps? He has written a book about growing up in this crazy family and he is an emotional mess. He does interviews and I have heard him interviewed or discussed on atheist podcasts Irreligiosophy episode 80, Secular Nation episode 50 and Chariots of Iron episode 28. Maybe you could interview Nate Phelps. Thanks guys.

  9. shuffler says:

    I feel that the Westburo Baptist Church gets more publicity than it deserves. Shirley’s reasoning about Anonymous, mentally ill assassins, and dead soldiers proving God’s Will is distinctly circular: she takes events as they happen and twists then so they ultimately promote a devine plan. While the interview may be marginally interesting as a snapshot profile of an extremist group, I am no more interested about Phelp’s view of homosexuality or hypocracy than I am of the KKK’s Grand Dragon’s opinion on the effects of Affirmative Action policy or an Aryan Nations press release about whether Jews have too much influence in American Media.
    The group uses Religious Freedom and their tax-exempt status to promote a social and political agenda and picket in a spiteful manner at funerals and celebrations. They clearly have a First Amendment Right to speak their mind. They are however kooks that deserve to be treated as the marginal figures of society that they are. Her charm does not impress me.

    • SarahH says:

      I appreciate this podcast, because it showcases how stupid all religions truly are, regardless if they preach love or hate.

      “she takes events as they happen and twists then so they ultimately promote a devine plan.” Isn’t that what all religions ask you to do: think in circles.

      She wears on my nerves and seems the exciting thing is she’s a second away from picking up a gun and shooting her own family as well.

  10. Even though I completely disagree with her approach and on most of her opinions thanks for having the counter argument on the show. It’s nice to have multiple sides represented.

  11. chuck210 says:

    I’m glad you have serious shows like this once in a while. I don’t know why I chose Sunday to listen this one but I did. Just a coincidence. There is one suggestion I would make. When you have guests like this, it would be helpful to have someone on with an opposing view to offer some context. In this case, I would have chosen the Southern Poverty Law Center. They monitor the Phelps family and their church among other hate groups. They have a wealth of information on them. They make reps available to the media. Just my two cents. Great show BTW.

  12. Derek says:

    So Sarah Palin falls off the media’s radar for a month and we end up with an interview with Westboro Baptist Church? It may have been really easy to get her for an interview this month.

    Joking aside, I really liked this episode. I listened to it the day you put it online . . . And listened to it again yesterday to digest.

    Personally, I’ve never really given WBC much thought. To me their the Howard Stern of religion. I’ve just never much cared for their practice of protesting funerals. This interview also confirmed to me that they’re in it for the shock value. The more shocking they are the more the media eats it up. The more media attention they get the more free advertising they get for their cause.

    I’ve always heard other people go up in arms about things that they’ve said and go so far as to say “They need to be stopped!” You can’t stop someone from exercising their first amendment rights. By what means are you going to stop them? Anything you do just adds fuel to the fire. It’s simply not worth it. The only thing I can get behind is ordinances about where funeral protests can take place . . . But if you start doing that where does it end? That’s a slippery slope.

    That all said this is the first time I’ve ever had an opportunity to hear them able to speak calm about their mission. Every time I’ve seen any media outlet bringing a representative of the church on all they do is sit there and call them terrible people. I found that to be unproductive at best. I’ve seen plenty of interviews with murderers and rapists where they allow these people to speak and be heard without interruptions and without judgement (at least during the interview) why should a group that simply says things that many find to be reprehensible be treated any differently? They shouldn’t. For that reason I think Feast of Fun has just done a far better job than I’ve seen from other media outlets. There was disagreement but it was stated respectfully and then it was moved on from. I think this may be why God loves the Feast of Fun even though two of us people are running the show.

    I don’t agree with a lot of what they say but I also don’t think I dislike them as much as I did before.

    I have to say that I do like Shirley basically saying the following. Who is anyone to compare your rebellion against God with their own rebellion against God? Rebellion is rebellion. Therefore the adulterer and serial divorcees of the world shouldn’t be dictating what a gay couple can and cannot do in terms of entering into a marriage or marriage-like union. Let he who is without sins cast the first stone in other words.

    This does not mean that WBC has found a new fan in me, they have not. I still think protesting a funeral is a terrible thing to do. (let the dead and the mourners be) What this does mean is I feel a little wiser about what’s going on in their heads having heard this interview.

    I will say though this conjured up a very strange image in my head. Picketers with signs proclaiming “GOD HATES….” all around with Shirley in the center in a kissing booth offering free kisses on the forehead to any rebellious sinners that will take them. Who will cross that picket line?

  13. RcktMan says:

    I listened to the show on Friday but wasn’t able to comment right away… amazing interview. To have a rapport with someone as notorious as Shirley Phelps is a testament to your incredible interviewing abilities, as well as your exhaustive research talents. I’ve always said that one of your greatest strengths is the ability to let the subject of your interviews stay in focus. By allowing them to speak and to get their thoughts out– however difficult it may be sometimes– let us understand who they truly are. We may not agree with them (at all), but at least we understand. That’s journalism to me.

  14. david says:

    Excellent show boys. The 2 other (or was it one other?) time(s) you’ve had Shirley on the show were also very good. I don’t agree the Phelps’ clan but agree we all have 1st Amendment rights that should be exercised and protected. Ignoring such voices and opinions is a mistake for our movement also.

  15. dc_gay_man says:

    I love the Westboro clan – they’re fame monsters. It’s straight-edge Hollywood-style fame whoring with a twisted purpose. Like D-list celebrities, they don’t believe in damage causality (hurt feelings?) in the pursuit of fame and getting their message across (legally?).

    Listen to their voice mail:

    If you are PR, press 1. If you need background information (for print publication), press 2. If you want bunch of quotes, press 3, 4, 5, on-ward.

    They are not the only people pointing out that God Hates… which is the fallacy of the interview.

    The ultimate joke is that Westboro are fame monsters of the God Hates movement – but they are not alone. And I think the joke is played on the media.

  16. Danny Haszard says:

    Harassment by religious extremist

    Jehovah’s Witnesses instigated court decisions in 1942 which involved cursing a police officer calling him a fascist and to get in your face at the door steps,….this same JW 1942 court decision upheld infamous Phelps hate church in 2011
    Danny Haszard

  17. dinodude says:

    I have the greatest respect for Marc and Fausto for these interviews.

    Shirley Phelps-Roeper is an intelligent woman, yet she is wasting her life spreading hate, and in the name of Christianity. Should we feel sorry for her? Does she realize that more people see her as the Devil’s minion, and not as an angel of God?

    I greatly appreciated this interview, as it allowed me to see how much rationalization is behind the reason that created the monster. With her fits of singing and sudden outburst of childish sarcasm, I’m more certain of her mental illness. This woman is nuts.

    It’s people like this that solidify my athesism.

  18. Cristián says:

    Oh God! Is that Carrie’s Mom? Can I get an autograph?!

  19. brian says:

    Wow, Kudos, Marc and Fausto, this was an exemplary interview. Honestly, I had to wait until I could grow a sufficiently big enough pair just to be able to listen to the episode. It was truly excellent. You two really hit a home run here. Additionally, thank you for keeping me informed. I am personally indebted to you. And your capacity for professionalism and conversational moderation is amazing. You pressed hard questions and didn’t let her rebel from them.

    Also, Mrs. Phelps made some interesting points, some. Her conviction and self-esteem is to be admired, even if it comes from a place of psychosis or extreme narcissism. I guess we can, if nothing else, consider ourselves warned.

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