The Controversy of Westboro Baptist Church

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Westboro Baptist Church and Free Speech Controversy Since its inception the Westboro Baptist Church has expressed an agenda of fanatical Baptism where they promote homophobia, anti-Semitism, and the message that God hates everyone but the WBC. In the last thirty years, the WBC has protested events such as funerals in order to give attention to their agenda. Their actions have caused pain and distress to many families but no legal action has been successfully taken against them because they have been ruled to be protected by the 1st Amendment. Westboro Baptist Church Background Founded in 1931 in Topeka, KS The church was taken over by Fred Phelps in the 1950s after he was hired as an associate pastor The approximately 75 current members are mostly from the Phelps family, including children as young as five who are made to participate in the protests History of Protests: Anti-Gay Protests (Some examples) Protests against homosexuals or any pro-LGBT: protested a vacuum store for selling Swedish vacuums after the Swedish gov't arrested a preacher for hate speech (Crowe 2009). funeral of Matthew Shephard, protested and had 6' monument build as a memorial to Shephard being in hell for defying God and tried to have it installed at a courthouse (Westcott 2006). protests against same-sex marriage protested Sago Mine memorial because they claimed the disaster was God's punishment for homosexuality History of Protests: Anti-Semitic Protests against Jewish

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