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Westboro Baptist Church

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Westboro Baptist Church
Westboro-church1
Photograph of Westboro Baptist Church

Category

Prank Call Victim, Prank Call Victim Location, Hate Group

Associated Victim(s)

Fred Phelps, Shirley Phelps-Roper, various other cult members

Address

3701 West 12th St.
Topeka, Kansas

Additional Info

The Westboro Baptist Church is a fanatical cult based out of Topeka, Kansas, whose congregation consists almost exclusively of members of the Phelps family. Headed until 2013 by the family patriarch, the late so-called Rev. Fred Phelps (1929-2014), they are known for their extremist views on several topics, particularly homosexuality, and have been actively involved in the anti-gay movement since at least 1991. In the past, they have called for the US Government to enact the death penalty for anyone who has a gay lifestyle. Their ideology is so extreme that they have been known to frequently picket the funerals of fallen soldiers since 9/11, displaying hateful banners and chanting slogans praising their death.

Beliefs and DoctrineEdit

The cult claims to be Baptist Christian, with an adherence to Primitive Baptist and Calvinist principles, but is not affiliated with any known Baptist conventions or associations. Due to their extremism and radical, hate-based doctrine, the WBC has in fact, been universally shunned by all mainstream Christian churches and sects, including other Primitive Baptists and Calvinists. Their extremism has also resulted in Phelps being banned from entering some countries, such as the United Kingdom.

Since 9/11 and the start of the Iraq War and the Afghanistan Conflict, they have become known for picketing the funerals of fallen soldiers with signs featuring such disgusting slogans as "God Hates You", "Thank God For Dead Soldiers" and "Thank God For 9/11", etc. etc. claiming that the soldiers' deaths (and indeed, any and all tragic events or disasters in the world) are punishment by God for society's tolerance of homosexuality. The Phelps family pickets approximately six locations every day, including many in Topeka and some events farther afield. By their own count, WBC has conducted over 30,000 pickets, in all 50 states, in over 500 cities and towns. In addition to anti-gay protests at military funerals, the organization pickets other celebrity funerals that are likely to get it media attention. These actions in particular have resulted in them being frequently refered to as 'the most hated family in America.'

Besides gay
West 1466111c

WBC members (including Fred Phelps) on a typical protest.

s, the group also preaches hatred against just about anyone and everyone outside of their group, believing that they are the only true followers of God and that anyone who does not follow WBC's hate-filled teachings is a "fag-enabler" and will be condemned to hell. For this reason, Jews (never mind the fact that Jesus Himself was Jewish), African-Americans, Hispanics, Catholics, other Christians, members of all other religions, military veterans, celebrities, foreign nationals and almost every other demographic group you can think of have all been targets for the WBC's hateful picket campaigns at some point in the past.

Ties To Other Extremist GroupsEdit

Police surveillance of the cult has revealed possible ties between a Westboro member (and son in law of Fred Phelps) named Charles Hockenbarger and white supremacist hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and Posse Comitatus. Given that Fred Phelps maintained almost total control over the lives of all members of his "church" at the time, it's highly likely that Hockenbarger was merely acting as a proxy for Phelps, although nothing could be definitely proven at the time. Ironically, the WBC's ideology has apparently become too extreme for even the KKK to stomach and they recently took efforts to publically distance themselves from the cult.

Fred Phelps himself was also known to be allied with white supremacist preacher Pete Peters of La Porte, Colorado, leader of the antisemitic Christian Identity Movement. Members of Peters' congregation are widely believed to have been responsible for the 1984 murder of liberal Denver talk radio host, Alan Berg.

Prank Call TargetEdit

Not surprisingly, the Westboro Baptist Church's detestable actions and sickening ideology have lead to them being a prime target for prank callers. With the phone numbers of the church building and that of its various members widely posted on YouTube and other public places, they have been called numerous times both with and without soundboards. Upon calling one of their automated numbers, the caller is immediately subjected to verbal abuse by a recording of one of the cult members - however, it is also possible to leave messages and to speak directly to a cult member.

Soundboards used against them include the Satanic Racist, a soundboard of the demon-possessed girl, Regan MacNeil, from the 1973 movie, "The Exorcist" and even a soundboard of Fred Phelps himself. Most often, it is Fred Phelp's equally fanatical daughter, Shirley Phelps-Roper, who answers the phone when the church building is called. Profanity-laden messages from the Epic Crazy Lady's Husband, Duncan, the Racist Redneck and Tom the Pissed-Off Roofer have also been left on their answering machine. The general consensus among pranksters is that the Phelps family and their cult are some of the few victims who are truly deserving of every bit of harassment they receive.

Occasionally, when they have received a large number of prank calls, the WBC stops answering the phone live and has their automated phone system take the call. If you press a number on your phone, it takes you to a series of pre-recorded messages by Fred Phelps, Shirley Phelps-Roper and other cult members, that are virulently anti-American and homophobic.[1][2]

Fred Phelps Excommunicated from WBC, Death and other New DevelopmentsEdit

In March 2014, the Huffington Post suddenly announced that Fred Phelps was on the verge of death from terminal cancer at a hospice center somewhere in Kansas. The information came from his estranged son, Nate Phelps.[3][4] Ironically, it was also revealed in the same article that Fred had been stripped of his post as head of the church and formally excommunicated by a board of elders made up of his own family members.[3] According to another article by the Topeka Capitol-Journal, this happened during summer 2013 after he had a minor change of heart and began to advocate a "kinder approach between church members." Apparently, this new proposal was viewed as running counter to the church's long-standing hate-based doctrine and lead to a power struggle behind the scenes between Phelps and the board of elders.[5] In addition to Fred being thrown out, Shirley Phelps-Roper, the cult's longtime spokeswoman, was also stripped of her position and replaced by board of elders member Steve Drain. So far as is known, however, she was not excommunicated like her father and is still an active member of the group.

UPDATE: on March 20, 2014 it was announced via two of his children, Timothy Phelps and Shirley Phelps-Roper, that Fred Phelps had passed away late the previous night, at the age of 84.[6] Public reaction to the news, so far, seem to be mixed. While some are, predictably, celebrating his demise, the majority (including many gays) seem to have chosen to respond with forgiveness and pity instead, vowing not to stoop to his level. Given the circumstances of his departure from the group, it is highly unlikely, however, that his death will have any significant impact on the Westboro Baptist Church's hate activities and may even lead to them engaging in worse behavior yet.

Soundboard Prank Calls to the Westboro Baptist ChurchEdit

External LinksEdit

ReferencesEdit

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