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Old 02-23-2006, 03:24 AM   #1
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Bikers Stand Against Phelps

FORT CAMPBELL, Kentucky (AP) -- Wearing vests covered in military patches, a band of motorcyclists rolls around the country from one soldier's funeral to another, cheering respectfully to overshadow jeers from church protesters.

They call themselves the Patriot Guard Riders, and they are more than 5,000 strong, forming to counter anti-gay protests held by the Rev. Fred Phelps at military funerals.

Phelps believes American deaths in Iraq are divine punishment for a country that he says harbors homosexuals. His protesters carry signs thanking God for so-called IEDs -- explosives that are a major killer of soldiers in Iraq.

The bikers shield the families of dead soldiers from the protesters, and overshadow the jeers with patriotic chants and a sea of red, white and blue flags.

"The most important thing we can do is let families know that the nation cares," said Don Woodrick, the group's Kentucky captain. "When a total stranger gets on a motorcycle in the middle of winter and drives 300 miles to hold a flag, that makes a powerful statement."

At least 14 states are considering laws aimed at the funeral protesters, who at a recent memorial service at Fort Campbell wrapped themselves in upside-down American flags. They danced and sang impromptu songs peppered with vulgarities that condemned homosexuals and soldiers.

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Old 02-25-2006, 12:05 PM   #2
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Good for them

Phelps and co make me sick

I don't how they would be able to pass laws to stop them

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Old 02-25-2006, 01:30 PM   #3
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What the fuck is this Phelps guy thinking? The crazy things that religion makes you feel and do...but seriously, we're being punished for "harboring homosexuals" and why would God specifically target soldiers? This Rev., if he even deserves being called that, should be stopped and I the bikers.
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Old 02-26-2006, 11:29 PM   #4
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haha fred phelps.

what an idiot.
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Old 02-27-2006, 11:25 PM   #5
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I see that group on my local news all the time, protesting dead soldier funerals, protesting at football games. Fucking whackos.

I did see on the news here a few weeks ago a group of bikers standing up against them, it had to have been the same people, but I assumed they were local.
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Old 03-06-2006, 12:49 PM   #6
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KOKOMO, Ind. -- Police will have a new legal weapon as they prepare for the Monday funeral of a Kokomo soldier killed in Iraq.

State lawmakers on Thursday enacted a law curtailing protests at funerals ahead of an expected protest at the funeral of Army Sgt. Rickey Jones, 21. Jones died in a roadside bomb attack last week in Iraq.

Gov. Mitch Daniels signed the legislation late Thursday and it went into effect immediately. Disorderly conduct within 500 feet of a funeral, burial, funeral procession or viewing is now a felony offense.

The law was enacted because of a Kansas-based group's protests at the funerals of Indiana soldiers.

The protesters, from Westboro Baptist Church, claim soldiers are dying in Iraq because the United States supports homosexuals. The group plans to protest at Jones' funeral.

Vandals have targeted Jones' family's home and his family has been barraged with hateful phone messages within the past week.
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Old 03-07-2006, 08:53 AM   #7
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"Since CNN started airing reports on these funeral confrontations a few weeks ago, the Patriot Guard Riders say its membership has almost tripled. And more than a dozen states are now considering legislation that would restrict protesting at funerals.

The Phelps family vows to continue these protests. They might be outnumbered, but the way the Patriot Guard Riders see it, it only takes one of them to dishonor the memory of a fallen soldier."
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Old 03-07-2006, 06:56 PM   #8
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Phelps is a lunatic. I can't believe someone hasn't beaten the crap out of this guy yet. If I had a brother who was gay and was muredered and these creeps showed up to the funeral I cannot say that I wouldn't cripple them for life.
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Old 03-08-2006, 04:40 PM   #9
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Why not do protest at all and let the soldier rest in peace. Apperantly the anti-gay group said they would stop only when the States make it a law to bar anti-gay group from soldiers funerals or funerals period.
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Old 03-08-2006, 07:34 PM   #10
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Originally posted by Justin24
Why not do protest at all and let the soldier rest in peace.
Because he's a lunatic.
Originally posted by Justin24

Apperantly the anti-gay group said they would stop only when the States make it a law to bar anti-gay group from soldiers funerals or funerals period.
Um, no that's not exactly what they said, may want to re-read your article.
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Old 03-09-2006, 09:39 AM   #11
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they're such fine upstanding citizens

A small Kansas church known for its anti-gay protests said Wednesday it will still picket on the day of soldiers' funerals but won't violate new state laws that limit when and where such demonstrations take place.

"We're not going to get arrested. We obey the law," said Shirley Phelps-Roper, an attorney and member of Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, a fundamentalist congregation headed by her father, the Rev. Fred Phelps.

Westboro Baptist canceled demonstrations at funerals this past week in Oklahoma, Indiana, Missouri and Wisconsin, which have new laws limiting such protests.

Phelps-Roper cited a variety of reasons for the cancellations and said the group still plans to picket in states that have new laws.

She also said the church is considering legal challenges to the laws. "We're waiting until all the legislatures are over to see what tattered shreds they've left the Constitution in," she said.

Yes I guess the founding fathers wanted to protect people like Phelps and Co, I'm sure they'd be so very proud
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Old 03-13-2006, 11:26 AM   #12
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Five women sang and danced as they held up signs saying "thank God for dead soldiers" at the funeral of an army sergeant who was killed by an Iraqi bomb.

For them, it was the perfect way to spread God's word: America was being punished for tolerating homosexuality.

For the hundreds of flag waving bikers who came to this small town in Michigan Saturday to shield the soldier's family, it was disgusting.

"That could be me in that church," said Jackie Sandler whose son Keith is currently serving his second tour of duty in Iraq.

The fringe group of fire and brimstone Baptists from Kansas has been courting controversy for more than 15 years, traveling the country with their hateful signs and slogans.

The Westboro Baptist Church first gained national notoriety when they picked the funeral of Matthew Shepard, a Wyoming student who was murdered in 1998 for being gay.

They have since picketed the funerals of Frank Sinatra and Bill Clinton's mother, celebrated the terrorist attacks of September 11 as an act of God's wrath, and have even targeted Santa Claus and the Ku Klux Klan.

But it was the callousness and cruelty of harassing the grieving families of soldiers at dozens of funerals across the country that has sparked a grassroots movement of bikers determined to drown out the jeers and taunts.

In Flushing, Michigan they turned their leather-clad backs to the five women and held flags and tarps up so that mourners walking past wouldn't see the signs saying "God hates fags," "fag vets" and "America is doomed."

Many found it hard to hide their anger when Margie Phelps, the daughter of Westboro's founder, called out "All this for little old us? Oh, you shouldn't have. I feel so special," before she started singing "the Pope, the Pope, the Pope is on fire. He don't get no water let the heretics burn" in front of a Catholic church.

The glee with which the women hurled insults made John Franklin, 64, sick to his stomach.

"This guy's family deserves a peaceful funeral. It's not right what they're doing," said Franklin, who fought in the Vietnam War. "The only reason they're able to walk around like that is because the veterans fought for their freedom."

While Westboro's congregation remains stable at around 100 people - most of whom are the extended family of founder Fred Phelps - the ranks of the Patriot Guard Riders has swelled to more than 16,000 in just a few months.

The protests come at a time when many Americans think the war in Iraq was a mistake but are anxious to show their support for the troops.

Four states have enacted legislation barring protests at funerals and a dozen more are in the process of introducing bans. But it is unlikely that the bans will stand up to legal challenge.

The group is careful to protest in public spaces and is well aware of its constitutional rights - 11 of Phelps' 13 children are lawyers.

"This nation is poised to trash the first amendment just to stop my preaching," Fred Phelps said in a telephone interview. "I'm kind of honored."

Phelps said he and his congregants are targeting the funerals because God's way of punishing an "evil nation" of "fags and fag enablers" is to "pick off its children."

"I don't have any sympathy for these parents. They're all going to hell," Phelps said. "The family's in pain because they haven't obeyed the Lord God."

The group is so outrageous that some among the extreme-right have speculated that Phelps is a plant aimed at giving the anti-gay movement a bad name, said Mark Potok, the director of the intelligence project at the Southern Poverty Law Center which tracks hate crimes.

"I don't think they have any constituency beyond their own members - even the Nazis aren't interested," he said.

Phelps' virulence and frequently graphic condemnations of anal sex could mask a deeper issue than a radically literal interpretation of the Bible, Potok speculated.

"This man probably thinks more about gay sex than any other person in the United States of America and one can only guess at what that means," he said. "Many of the most homophobic people are deeply afraid that they might be gay."

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