Members of Westboro Baptist Church from Topeka, Kan., picket a military funeral in McKenzie, Tenn., in late July. Southern Baptist Convention President Bobby Welch has denounced the pickets, calling them "hate-filled" and saying they show "an ignorant and uncaring disregard" for the families. Westboro is an independent church and is not affiliated with the SBC. Photo by Morris Abernathy
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--Fred Phelps, the Topeka, Kan., pastor who has been protesting at the funerals of U.S. troops slain in Iraq, engages in “hate-filled activities” and is not a Southern Baptist, SBC President Bobby Welch said Aug. 29 in a statement.
Phelps and his followers from Westboro Baptist Church -- notorious for their “God hates fags” posters -- have staged protests at soldiers’ funerals in several states. The group reasons that roadside bombs killing American troops in Iraq are God’s retribution against America for a small bomb that caused approximately $1,800 damage outside the Topeka home of one of Phelps’ daughters in 1995. The group also emphasizes that it opposes the U.S. military for allowing homosexuals to serve. The military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy prevents homosexuals from serving openly but also prohibits the military from asking soldiers about their sexual preference. Read More