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Fred Phelps

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Susan Reimer | March 21, 2014
I never thought I could feel such gratitude toward a posse of motorcycle riders as I did the day Brendan Looney was buried beside his best friend, Travis Manion, in Arlington National Cemetery. They screened the grieving families of the two Naval Academy graduates from the hateful placards carried by the members of the Westboro Baptist Church who celebrated the deaths of those young men as evidence of God's retribution on our sinful nation. And riders revved their engines so the families could not hear the chants.
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NEWS
By Leonard Pitts Jr | March 23, 2014
And what shall we say now that the monster has died? His estranged sons Mark and Nate told the world just a few days ago that their 84-year old father, Fred Phelps, was in the care of a hospice and "on the edge of death. " Thursday morning, he went over the edge. The senior Phelps, of course, was the founder of Westboro Baptist "Church" in Topeka, Kan. He was the "God hates" guy. As in "God Hates China" (its divorce rates are too high), "God Hates Islam" (for being a false religion)
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FEATURES
By Michael Gold and The Baltimore Sun | March 20, 2014
The founder of the Westboro Baptist Church, the Kansas institution that stages anti- LGB  protests across the country, died Thursday, according to multiple reports . Fred Phelps, 84, started the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka in 1955. Since its founding, the Church has become known throughout the world for demonstrations and pickets at events including military funerals and political gatherings. Westboro members would stand outside holding posters and signs with spiteful slogans condemning LGBT people, among others.  One oft-repeated refrain, likely the one which became most associated with the church and is used at its web address, was "God Hates Fags.
NEWS
Susan Reimer | March 21, 2014
I never thought I could feel such gratitude toward a posse of motorcycle riders as I did the day Brendan Looney was buried beside his best friend, Travis Manion, in Arlington National Cemetery. They screened the grieving families of the two Naval Academy graduates from the hateful placards carried by the members of the Westboro Baptist Church who celebrated the deaths of those young men as evidence of God's retribution on our sinful nation. And riders revved their engines so the families could not hear the chants.
SPORTS
By Rick Maese and Kevin Van Valkenburg | August 15, 2008
The Sun's Olympic correspondents, Rick Maese and Kevin Van Valkenburg, are blogging to each other at baltimoresun.com/olympicsblog . An excerpt: Where's Phelps' dad? To Kevin, et al. Subject: Watching from afar Fair or not, nosy or simply curious, I think people back in the United States are watching Michael Phelps nightly on NBC and making note of the many shots they see of Debbie Phelps cheering from the stands. The omission is probably striking to some: We see Michael's mom, but what about dad?
NEWS
By Gina Davis and Sun Reporter | March 11, 2006
The family of Lance Cpl. Matthew A. Snyder, who was killed last week in Iraq, desperately wanted to keep his death from being politicized. But a group of protesters had other plans. Waving placards declaring such messages as "Thank God for dead soldiers," seven members of the Westboro Baptist Church from Topeka, Kan., picketed Snyder's service yesterday as they have military funerals across the nation. Assembled on city property adjacent to the St. John Catholic Church in Westminster, the group held signs, some bearing anti-gay slurs, that declared that war casualties are divine retribution - that God is allowing men and women to die in Iraq because of this country's tolerance of homosexuality.
NEWS
By Raymond Novak | October 5, 2011
The Supreme Court has embarked on a new term that is widely predicted to be one of its most momentous in many years. But we should not quickly forget one very important First Amendment case decided by the court during its last term — one that may ultimately turn out to have been an important decision limiting the role of the jury as a check on the power of the government. Snyder v. Phelps is a classic case of competing interests: the right of a father to bury his son in peace versus the constitutionally guaranteed right of a group to demonstrate on a public sidewalk.
NEWS
By Nicole Fuller and Nicole Fuller,nicole.fuller@baltsun.com | September 25, 2009
A federal appeals court ruled Thursday that a fundamentalist Kansas church's protest outside the funeral of a Westminster Marine killed in Iraq is protected speech and did not violate the privacy of the service member's family, reversing a lower court's $5 million award. The ruling from the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., held that the signs and writings of the Westboro Baptist Church, which included anti-gay and anti-military messages, are protected by the First Amendment.
NEWS
By Leonard Pitts Jr | April 4, 2010
You will be furious when you finish this column. Fair warning. In March 2006, a 20-year-old Marine, Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, was killed in a motor vehicle accident in Iraq. His family probably thought that the most painful blow imaginable. Truth is, their pain was only beginning. Cpl. Snyder's death, you see, came to the attention of Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan. Westboro, for those who do not know, is no more a church than is your average gas station toilet. According to published reports, it claims about 75 members, most of them kin to its leader, Fred Phelps.
NEWS
March 13, 2010
More than 30 years ago, a young Jewish lawyer named David Goldberger defended the rights of American Nazis to march through the streets of Skokie, Ill., home to thousands of Holocaust survivors. Although he hated everything the Nazis stood for and knew that such a demonstration would cause great mental anguish to many of his fellow Jews, Mr. Goldberger -- then an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union -- felt that a larger principle was at stake. Under the U.S. Constitution, the Nazis had a right not only to hold their vile views but also to express them publicly.
FEATURES
By Michael Gold and The Baltimore Sun | March 20, 2014
The founder of the Westboro Baptist Church, the Kansas institution that stages anti- LGB  protests across the country, died Thursday, according to multiple reports . Fred Phelps, 84, started the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka in 1955. Since its founding, the Church has become known throughout the world for demonstrations and pickets at events including military funerals and political gatherings. Westboro members would stand outside holding posters and signs with spiteful slogans condemning LGBT people, among others.  One oft-repeated refrain, likely the one which became most associated with the church and is used at its web address, was "God Hates Fags.
NEWS
By Raymond Novak | October 5, 2011
The Supreme Court has embarked on a new term that is widely predicted to be one of its most momentous in many years. But we should not quickly forget one very important First Amendment case decided by the court during its last term — one that may ultimately turn out to have been an important decision limiting the role of the jury as a check on the power of the government. Snyder v. Phelps is a classic case of competing interests: the right of a father to bury his son in peace versus the constitutionally guaranteed right of a group to demonstrate on a public sidewalk.
EXPLORE
By Diane Browndmbrown@comcast.net | June 13, 2011
I seemed to have thrown a Starbucks barista for a loop a couple of weeks ago, when I asked for a slice of pound cake and a glass of skim milk. She asked her co-coffeemaker, "Can we do that?" The other replied, "I guess so. " "How much do we charge for the milk?" I paid around $4.50 for the two items, then moved to the seating area next to Starbucks, where Target offers an assortment of sandwiches and soft drinks. Whoa. That's where I saw bottles of milk for a buck. So now I know: Grab your cake from Starbucks, then walk six feet if you want cheap milk.
NEWS
March 10, 2011
Even those, like us, who agree with the Supreme Court's ruling that the despicable protest by Westboro Baptist Church outside a soldier's funeral in Westminster was constitutionally protected free speech have nothing but sympathy for the family of Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder and the other slain service members targeted by the group. To that end, we sympathize with U.S. Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger's desire to find a way, within the bounds of the court's decision, to prevent the Topeka, Kan.-based church group's ability to inflict emotional damage on other innocent families in the future.
NEWS
March 7, 2011
Since the Supreme Court has upheld the right of the so-called Reverend Fred Phelps to offend, annoy and abuse the feelings of Americans, there is nothing left to do except this: Let this letter be the last time that his name is printed or uttered on the air, online or in print until the Topeka papers publish his obituary. The only meaningful punishment to this tormenter of souls would be perfect silence. And the First Amendment doesn't prevent us from not saying what needs greatly to be left unsaid.
NEWS
By Leonard Pitts Jr | April 4, 2010
You will be furious when you finish this column. Fair warning. In March 2006, a 20-year-old Marine, Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, was killed in a motor vehicle accident in Iraq. His family probably thought that the most painful blow imaginable. Truth is, their pain was only beginning. Cpl. Snyder's death, you see, came to the attention of Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan. Westboro, for those who do not know, is no more a church than is your average gas station toilet. According to published reports, it claims about 75 members, most of them kin to its leader, Fred Phelps.
NEWS
January 15, 2010
I am a confused and angry American. Today I open my browser and see the devastation in Haiti. My heart breaks for those people and I have collected clothes from each closet to send, wishing I could do more. Next is Pat Robertson saying this was brought on by their ancestors because they sold themselves to the devil to drive out the French back in 1791. This is the same as the mean and untrue things he said about 9/11. It happened because the country was filled with feminists, abortionists, ACLU members, and gays and lesbians.
NEWS
By Robbie Whelan | March 31, 2010
Outraged that the father of a dead Marine was ordered to pay some court costs incurred by a group he had sued for picketing his son's funeral, people from across the country have launched a grass-roots fundraising effort to help the grieving family. "I was appalled," said Sally Giannini, a 72-year-old retired bookkeeper from Spokane, Wash., who had called The Baltimore Sun after seeing an article about the court decision against Albert Snyder. "I believe in free speech, but this goes too far."
NEWS
By Robbie Whelan | robbie.whelan@baltsun.com | March 30, 2010
Outraged that the father of a dead U.S. Marine was ordered to pay the court costs incurred by a group that he had sued for picketing his son's funeral, people from across the country have launched a grass roots fundraising effort to help the grieving family. "I was appalled," said Sally Giannini, a 72-year-old retired bookkeeper from Spokane, Wash., who had called The Baltimore Sun after seeing its story about the court decision against Albert Snyder. "I believe in free speech, but this goes too far."
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