Bikers roll to military funerals to oppose anti-gay protests


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280PLUS
February 21, 2006, 03:15 PM
Bikers roll to military funerals to oppose anti-gay protests

Tuesday, February 21, 2006; Posted: 7:55 a.m. EST (12:55 GMT)

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.

The Patriot Guard was also there, waving up a ruckus of support for the families across the street. Community members came in the freezing rain to chant "U-S-A, U-S-A" alongside them.

"This is just the right thing to do. This is something America didn't do in the '70s," said Kurt Mayer, the group's national spokesman. "Whether we agree with why we're over there, these soldiers are dying to protect our freedoms."

Shirley Phelps-Roper, a daughter of Fred Phelps and an attorney for the Topeka, Kansas-based church, said neither state laws nor the Patriot Guard can silence their message that God killed the soldiers because they fought for a country that embraces homosexuals.

"The scriptures are crystal clear that when God sets out to punish a nation, it is with the sword. An IED is just a broken-up sword," Phelps-Roper said. "Since that is his weapon of choice, our forum of choice has got to be a dead soldier's funeral."

The church, Westboro Baptist Church, is not affiliated with a larger denomination and is made up mostly of Fred Phelps' extended family members.

During the 1990s, church members were known mostly for picketing the funerals of AIDS victims, and they have long been tracked as a hate group by the Montgomery, Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Project.

The project's deputy director, Heidi Beirich, said other groups have tried to counter Phelps' message, but none has been as organized as the Patriot Guard.

"I'm not sure anybody has gone to this length to stand in solidarity," she said. "It's nice that these veterans and their supporters are trying to do something. I can't imagine anything worse, your loved one is killed in Iraq and you've got to deal with Fred Phelps."

Kentucky, home to sprawling Fort Campbell along the Tennessee line, was among the first states to attempt to deal with Phelps legislatively. Its House and Senate have each passed bills that would limit people from protesting within 300 feet of a funeral or memorial service. The Senate version would also keep protesters from being within earshot of grieving friends and family members.

Richard Wilbur, a retired police detective, said his Indiana Patriot Guard group only comes to funerals if invited by family. He said he has no problem with protests against the war but sees no place for objectors at a family's final goodbye to a soldier.

"No one deserves this

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Henry Bowman
February 21, 2006, 03:20 PM
Shirley Phelps-Roper, a daughter of Fred Phelps and an attorney for the Topeka, Kansas-based church, said neither state laws nor the Patriot Guard can silence their message that God killed the soldiers because they fought for a country that embraces homosexuals.:confused: :confused: :confused:

carlrodd
February 21, 2006, 03:29 PM
when can we expect these phelps morons to be punished for paying taxes and obeying laws in a "country that embraces homosexuals"? given that his church is mainly made up of extended family members, we can probably assume that most of his extended family members are made from other extended family members.

ArmedBear
February 21, 2006, 03:29 PM
Phelps is a nutcase.

They have a web site that tells where they will be next, and they brag about it.

If you want to know who these people are, and where to expect them, here it is. I live in a military town, down the street from a big national cemetery, so I want to know. But I DO NOT recommend this site for any reason other than to know thine enemy.

WARNING: OFFENSIVE
Westboro Baptist (http://www.godhatesfags.com/main/index.html)

Azrael256
February 21, 2006, 03:38 PM
*sigh*... That guy is such a scumbag. Phelps has a big surprise coming someday.

Good on those bikers. I heard of a lesbian biker group (dykes on bikes, or with bikes, or somesuch) doing the same at a funeral down here. Clearly good taste and reverence for the dead (especially soldiers) is a learned behavior, and not a function of one's race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. Clearly Phelps hasn't learned a thing.

tulsamal
February 21, 2006, 03:39 PM
It is truly a miracle that none of these protests have resulted in serious, even fatal violence. "Seeing red" is a mild understatement for how I would feel if I was attending the funeral of a family member and these loony tunes showed up. It would take every iota of self-control to not go over there and grind a couple of them down into the concrete.

Gregg

280PLUS
February 21, 2006, 03:44 PM
Un - Effin' - believable...

I'm just going to stop right there.

:mad: :barf:

migoi
February 21, 2006, 04:41 PM
want a front row seat when the good Rev Phelps hits the Diety's front door step. It ought to be amusing.

migoi

Merkin.Muffley
February 21, 2006, 04:59 PM
Wow. What a screwball.

progunner1957
February 21, 2006, 05:09 PM
Phelps believes American deaths in Iraq are divine punishment for a country that he says harbors homosexuals. This guy must be about 6th generation inbred - his family tree must look like a mop handle.:D

Rezin
February 21, 2006, 05:11 PM
Newer member of the Patriot Guard here............

Rezin
February 21, 2006, 05:12 PM
It is truly a miracle that none of these protests have resulted in serious, even fatal violence. "Seeing red" is a mild understatement for how I would feel if I was attending the funeral of a family member and these loony tunes showed up. It would take every iota of self-control to not go over there and grind a couple of them down into the concrete.

Gregg

The PG are instructed NOT to even comment to them. They ALWAYS have a video man there, they WANT an incident...... It would give them more publicity....

KriegHund
February 21, 2006, 05:13 PM
This reverand fellow is a moron.
I appluad the bikers.

dmallind
February 21, 2006, 05:24 PM
so wait a minute let's think this through.....

According to Fred, American deaths are the result of a soft attitude towards homosexuals.

Forgetting for a moment the bizarre improbability of this connection for a whole host of reasons...... :banghead:

Wouldn't a way to test this to be to look at those nations which are either far MORE accepting of homosexuals (Canada, most of Western Europe) or are far LESS accepting of them (Iran, Iraq, and most of the Middle East) and look at their relative death tolls in the same scenario?

Doesn't it look, again assuming the improbability of any connection, that the acceptance of homosexuals is in fact NEGATIVELY correlated to death toll in the WOT?

Hey Fred let's drop this death toll by all wearing boas and learning to coordinate bedding accessories and appreciate show tunes!!

ArmedBear
February 21, 2006, 05:26 PM
...and a bit of humorous irony (if there is such a thing in this context)...

San Francisco opposed the USS Iowa museum in part because of the US Military's NOT accepting homosexuality...

Helmetcase
February 21, 2006, 05:30 PM
ArmedBear,
Never underestimate the ability of a crackpot like Phelps to ignore the facts. ;)

I ride a Yamaha, so I'm a "rider" not a "biker", but let me know if anyone hears about this going on anywhere on the East Coast. I'd love to be there to help kick these idiots' teeth in (verbally, of course :D).

It does surprise me though that these people haven't had their heads caved in. If it were my brother's funeral, I can't promise that they'd be safe in my sight.

ArmedBear
February 21, 2006, 05:34 PM
ArmedBear,
Never underestimate the ability of a crackpot like Phelps to ignore the facts. ;)

...or crackpots like the SF City Council...

I ride a Yamaha, so I'm a "rider" not a "biker", but let me know if anyone hears about this going on anywhere on the East Coast. I'd love to be there to help kick these idiots' teeth in (verbally, of course :D).


It's on the web site I linked, top left. They tell where and when they'll show up. I think they want confrontation and see themselves as some sort of martyrs.

Biker
February 21, 2006, 05:35 PM
Two wheels are two wheels and it's aaalll in the heart. I'd take that particular ride with you anyday.:)
Biker

Husker1911
February 21, 2006, 05:46 PM
With my family, I buried my father February 11. I'll not bore you with what a wonderful man and father he was. He was, however, a combat veteran. He flew 31 missions aboard a B-17 as waist gunner/toggalier, flying from Foggia, Italy in 1944 and 1945. He was proud of his service, and was buried with a military service. The man who spoke over my father's casket had tears streaming down his face. I choked up a little over the farewell "to our fallen comrade." It was a very moving ceremony, and this was to an elderly veteran, one who had led a full life.

I can't begin to describe the anger I would feel toward those that would desecrate the funeral of soldiers cut down in the prime of their young lives. I salute the biker group the Patriot Guard for their wonderful efforts. And a tip of my red hat to member Rezin. While I fully appreciate and endorse ALL the Bill of Rights, I don't believe the 1st Admendment justifies this type of shameful behavior.

Manedwolf
February 21, 2006, 06:40 PM
It is truly a miracle that none of these protests have resulted in serious, even fatal violence. "Seeing red" is a mild understatement for how I would feel if I was attending the funeral of a family member and these loony tunes showed up. It would take every iota of self-control to not go over there and grind a couple of them down into the concrete.

Gregg

I was hoping that when he proclaimed he was going to do this at Corretta Scott King's funeral, that a few of the Black Panthers or such would show up and he'd get a long, long overdue nose-and-jaw-shattering punch in the face.

If I was a cop, I sure wouldn't see anything, if that happened.

Gun Wielding Maniac
February 21, 2006, 07:06 PM
Methinks some little twerps should be introduced to Mr. Paintball gun next time they show up at a public funeral to protest. A full auto burst in the face at about 15 paces would wipe the smug grins off their faces, I guarantee. I cant even imagine the horrible things I would do if this happened at a funeral of a loved one. I'm talking, stalk, seek, and burn.:fire:

Kurt_M
February 21, 2006, 07:47 PM
http://bestsmileys.com/thumbs/7.gif Good on them. And here's hoping a nice solid little meteor conveniently strikes the good Rev. Phelps during his next protest. I for one would cheer.

gunsmith
February 21, 2006, 07:55 PM
it would take hundreds of cops to protect them, they would show up at gay demo's and fuerals waving their signs chanting chanting "GOD HATES FAGS"
as one who has seen "Team America" I can't understand what they have against the Film Actors Guild:D

they really need a beat down, I was amused seeing them argue with the other crazies in SF but I was unaware of them doing this at millitary funerals.
I lost a good friend in Iraq at the begining of the war and I would have not been able to control myself if they had shown up:fire: ......if fact I don't think I still could.

it's only a matter of time before they mess with the wrong greiving family

The_Ferret
February 21, 2006, 08:01 PM
Hey folks, I might can shed a little light on this...
This same group, the www.godhatesfags.com, were protesting here in Lexington, KY. As I recall, it had something to do with a homosexual couple here adopting a child, and their church did not condemn them.
So basically this guy and his "congregation" come out here and protest, and they protest at EVERY church in town that refuses to come out and protest the adoption/church.
From what I heard, everybody in this guy's extended family is a lawyer, and what they do is go around, insult people at these "protests", and then try to get someone to insult or do something to them, at which time they promptly sue. And they have the thing on tape. That's just what I've heard... Maybe they really are just homophobic...

-the_ferret-

dmallind
February 21, 2006, 08:40 PM
Hey folks, I might can shed a little light on this...
This same group, the www.godhatesfags.com, were protesting here in Lexington, KY. As I recall, it had something to do with a homosexual couple here adopting a child, and their church did not condemn them.
So basically this guy and his "congregation" come out here and protest, and they protest at EVERY church in town that refuses to come out and protest the adoption/church.
From what I heard, everybody in this guy's extended family is a lawyer, and what they do is go around, insult people at these "protests", and then try to get someone to insult or do something to them, at which time they promptly sue. And they have the thing on tape. That's just what I've heard... Maybe they really are just homophobic...

-the_ferret-

I have a feeling we can pretty much take it as read that your last sentence is true. ;)

Crosshair
February 21, 2006, 08:46 PM
http://www.pensitoreview.com/images/photo-phelps-he's-gay.jpg
:neener:

JJpdxpinkpistols
February 21, 2006, 08:49 PM
From what I heard, everybody in this guy's extended family is a lawyer, and what they do is go around, insult people at these "protests", and then try to get someone to insult or do something to them, at which time they promptly sue. And they have the thing on tape. That's just what I've heard... Maybe they really are just homophobic...


This isn the entry from wikipedia (yeah, yeah...blah, blah, liberal, blah blah, its not fox, blah). This is almost *funny*...Mister Rogers?!?!?!

Since the early 1990s, Phelps has targeted several individuals and groups in the public eye for criticism after their deaths, prominent examples include Matthew Shepard, a gay murder victim, Mister Rogers, a Christian who had a long running TV show in the USA, Scandinavians, and US soldiers killed in Iraq. Elsewhere and more recently, the miners who died in the 2006 Sago Mine disaster and the late Coretta Scott King have been targeted by Phelps and the WBC.

As of February 7, 2006, thirteen states are considering bans on protests near funeral sites immediately before and after the ceremonies. These states are: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia. Wisconsin has instituted such a ban.

Just a bit more food for thought.

pax
February 21, 2006, 09:00 PM
This is kinda off-topic. I'd suggest y'all take the discussion over to APS (www.armedpolitesociety.com) ... if discuss it you must.

(Looked for a smiley to express utter disgust for Phelps & his ilk, but can't seem to find one that is quite strong enough.)

pax

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