This is hardly shocking, but it’s still interesting.
VANCOUVER — Soft-spoken taxi driver Nate Phelps of Cranbrook, B.C., is coming forward on Easter Sunday to speak out in a televised interview against one of America’s most outspoken anti-gay crusaders — his own father.
Phelps, who has been quietly living in B.C. with his wife and four children, is the estranged son of Pastor Fred Phelps, head of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan.
Members of the church gained notoriety in Canada in 2008 after announcing plans to picket the funeral of Tim McLean, who was beheaded on a Greyhound bus near Winnipeg by a man who is now in a psychiatric hospital.
Pastor Phelps claimed the grisly murder was divine revenge for Canada’s liberal policies on abortion, gay rights and divorce.
Nate Phelps, who broke away from his father and his beliefs in 1980, first revealed his identity to a customer in his cab in Cranbrook. The fare happened to be University of B.C. journalism student Trevor Melanson.
Melanson went on to write an award-winning feature about Nate Phelps that was published in the Ubyssey, the newspaper at the University of British Columbia, and on thetyee.ca website in 2009.
In his first in-depth television interview, he tells journalist Peter W. Klein about a childhood dominated by a fear of going to hell, and says the Westboro Baptist Church shares some of the same traits as a cult.
Phelps says his father regularly beat his mother and 11 siblings, used racial epithets and blamed the world’s problems on homosexuality.
In recent years the Kansas congregation has outraged many for conducting verbally abusive protests at the funerals of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq. Phelps claims that America’s losses are God’s punishment for increasing social acceptance of homosexuality.
On his “church” website, (godhatesfags.com) Phelps publishes a list of planned protests that he dubs “the love crusades.”
In the interview, Phelps says that his father was once a brilliant and well-respected lawyer who led several anti-segregation cases and was honoured by the NAACP as a civil rights hero.
Nate Phelps now considers himself an atheist. The interview airs on Joy TV on Sunday, April 4, at 8 p.m.
CARRIE Prejean isn’t the only beauty queen open to expressing her objection to same-sex marriage. Miss Beverly Hills 2010 Lauren Ashley is also speaking out in support of traditional nuptials, Fox News reported.
“The Bible says that marriage is between a man and a woman,” Ms Ashley told Fox News.
“In Leviticus it says: ‘If man lies with mankind as he would lie with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death and their blood shall be upon them.’
“The Bible is pretty black and white
“I feel like God himself created mankind and he loves everyone, and he has the best for everyone.
“If he says that having sex with someone of your same gender is going to bring death upon you, that’s a pretty stern warning, and he knows more than we do about life.”
Ms Ashley, 23, will be representing Beverly Hills in the Miss California pageant in November.
Her statements mirror former Miss California Carrie Prejean’s answer to a question about same-sex marriage in last year’s Miss USA pageant.
At the time, Ms Prejean said her answer opposing same sex marriage cost her the title.
But with the Miss California Pageant still months away, and Ms Ashley already echoing the views that got Ms Prejean in trouble last year, is she concerned that she may ruin her chances of taking home the tiara?
“That isn’t really the issue,” she said.
“I have a lot of friends that are gay, and … I have a lot of friends who have different views, and we share our views together.
“There’s no hate between me and anyone.”
And according to the Miss California state director, Keith Lewis, a contestant’s personal opinion should have no bearing on the result.
“The Miss California USA system has always had a place for an individual’s thoughts and opinions when it comes to all sides of political issues,” Mr Lewis told Pop Tarts.
“It is an organisation which empowers women, and everyone is entitled to their own beliefs.”
Between Hitler’s appointment as Chancellor, and his Nuremberg speech that caused the creation of the Nuremberg Laws banning interracial marriage, Nazi party members started taking his promise to ban interracial marriage into their own vigilante hands by doing this very thing with Jews. Packs of young men would troll the streets harassing couples. Popular opinion was critical of Hitler for not following up on his promise to ban the marriages, so the vigilantes went unchecked by local authorities.
Every night, dozens of young men in Jerusalem’s Pisgat Ze’ev neighborhood take to the streets and go out searching for girls.
But theirs is not a promiscuous search. In fact, the group of some 35 volunteers is looking to prevent such interaction and to stop what neighborhood residents have overwhelmingly complained is a growing problem in Pisgat Ze’ev – Arab men going out with Jewish girls.
What was once a rare occurrence, residents say, has become the norm in this north Jerusalem suburb, which shares a side of the security barrier with the Palestinian village of Anata and the scattered dwellings on the edge of Shuafat refugee camp.
Residents now say that, due to Pisgat Ze’ev’s location and increasingly mixed Arab-Jewish population, the phenomenon of mixed dating has grown, with violent outbursts breaking out frequently between Arab and Jewish youth over the matter, and with growing communal anger over what many here feel is simply unacceptable.
“A rare occurrence?” a shopkeeper in the local mall asked sardonically this week when asked about the situation. “My friend, it’s not rare at all, this has become the reality. Pisgat Ze’ev has turned into one gigantic whorehouse, please excuse the expression.”
“[The young Arab men] come here to the mall and we see it all the time, they take the girls to the bathroom, they laugh with each other about it. And as if that wasn’t worse, one of them opened up an actual whorehouse just up the street. There are Jewish girls in there! It’s nothing short of a disgrace!”
Enter Eish L’Yahadut (Fire for Judaism), a volunteer group made up of both religious and secular Pisgat Ze’ev residents, who walk the streets at night looking for local girls out with Arab men.
“We’re not aggressive, and we don’t use violence,” said Moshe, a 31-year-old member of the group who spoke to The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.
“Our goal is to be in contact with these girls and try to explain to them the dangers of what they’re getting themselves into. In the last 10 years, 60 girls from Pisgat Ze’ev have gone into the [West Bank Arab] villages,” he said. “And most of them aren’t heard from after that.”
Moshe said that his group also maintains contact with the Arab men as well, in an effort to convince them that pursuing such relationships is not in their best interest. “One of the girls we’re in contact with, her father is a commander with the Jerusalem Police,” Moshe said. “Once the guy she was with heard about that, things changed.”
While some girls are receptive to the group’s efforts, others are not. “But we keep trying,” Moshe said. “These are girls who usually don’t know any better, who come from troubled homes, and they’re swept up by the guy’s charm or nice clothes. We try to show them that these aren’t the most important things, and we have women who speak to them as well.”
According to Moshe, the group is currently in contact with 17 girls, the majority of whom are in high school. The group has encountered physical confrontations, but, Moshe said, iits work is done within the full confines of the law, and the Arab men they approach are often receptive as well.
However, Arab residents of the neighborhood told the Post that the group has been a problem. “They come out all the time and hassle us,” said Imad, who works in the Pisgat Ze’ev mall. “I was out with this girl the other night, and they came up and started talking to us. I don’t like it, you know? What do they care who I’m with?”
But for Moshe and his group, the importance of their job lies with the girls they say they are protecting. “Sometimes these guys are abusive to the girls,” Moshe said. “While that usually starts after they’re married, there was an incident recently where one of these guys was beating the girl up in the middle of the street. We got involved, and she left him, but it’s a shame that it has to come to that.”
Another major issue for the group are the brothels that have sprung up in the neighborhood. In addition to their nightly “patrols,” the group stages protests outside the houses of ill repute in an effort to pressure the owners to shut them down.
“Our mission is not against Arabs,” Moshe said. “But it is for the protection of Jewish women, wherever they may be. And with regards to the brothels, the police don’t interfere, because they’re run by crime families. But if enough residents stand up against them, I believe they will be shut down.”
In that vein, Eish L’Yahadut is planning a rally next Thursday in front of the mall, to protest the brothels and what it calls “police inaction” over the matter.
“We want to get the neighborhood involved,” Moshe said. “Because it’s our neighborhood, and if we don’t stand up for it, no one will.”
The Kansas City man charged with assassinating abortion doctor George Tiller in his church a week ago warned Sunday that more violence is coming.
“I know there are many other similar events planned around the country as long as abortion remains legal,” Scott Roeder said in one of two phone calls to the Associated Press from prison.
He also complained about the “deplorable conditions in solitary,” worried about catching pneumonia because his cell was cold and said he needed his sleep apnea machine.
Tiller, 67, one of only three American doctors who performed late abortions on women with deformed fetuses, was gunned down inside his Wichita church as he chatted with a fellow usher about taking his grandkids to Disney World.
He had been targeted for years by anti-abortion protesters and demonized as “Tiller the baby killer” by conservative TV pundits. He often wore body armor – but not to church.
Roeder, 51, a mentally ill, unemployed anti-abortion activist from Kansas City, Mo., was charged with first-degree murder.
On Friday, the Justice Department opened an investigation into whether Roeder, who had enough money to stalk Tiller for years despite having little or no income, had help from accomplices.
Anyone who played a role in the killing will be prosecuted “to the full extent of federal law,” said Loretta King, head of the Justice Department’s civil rights division.
A funeral was held Saturday for Tiller at Wichita’s large Methodist church to accommodate crowds that would not fit in his own, the Reformation Lutheran Church.
The funeral was protected by 50 American Legion Riders who roared up on motorcycles and formed a shield around Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita to honor Tiller’s Navy service.
Many wept when Tiller’s wife of 40 years, Jeanne, stood before the gathering and sang “The Lord’s Prayer.”
Dr. Warren Hern, a Colorado late-term abortion provider who was Tiller’s friend and who fears he may be the next target, was one of the pallbearers.
This morning, worshippers who watched Tiller die filled the pews at Reformation Lutheran to pray for him.
A few minutes after 10 a.m., exactly one week after Tiller was shot, the congregation began to pray: “Oh God, we are consumed by grief for what we have witnessed in our community. Come to our aid, walk with us, hold us, strengthen us and give us courage for the days ahead.”
Protesters from Topeka’s Westboro Baptist Church, known for picketing the funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq, held signs and shouted outside the sanctuary.
A Christian Perspective on the Morality of Punisher Warzone (‘Very Offensive”) vs Milk (“Extremely Offensive”). Apparently being a gay activist is far more offensive than throwing people in glass bottle grinders, decapitating women, shooting people with grenade launchers and blasting people point blank in the face with shotguns.
Sir David Attenborough has revealed that he receives hate mail from viewers for failing to credit God in his documentaries. In an interview with this week’s Radio Times about his latest documentary, on Charles Darwin and natural selection, the broadcaster said: “They tell me to burn in hell and good riddance.”
Telling the magazine that he was asked why he did not give “credit” to God, Attenborough added: “They always mean beautiful things like hummingbirds. I always reply by saying that I think of a little child in east Africa with a worm burrowing through his eyeball. The worm cannot live in any other way, except by burrowing through eyeballs. I find that hard to reconcile with the notion of a divine and benevolent creator.”
Attenborough went further in his opposition to creationism, saying it was “terrible” when it was taught alongside evolution as an alternative perspective. “It’s like saying that two and two equals four, but if you wish to believe it, it could also be five … Evolution is not a theory; it is a fact, every bit as much as the historical fact that William the Conqueror landed in 1066.”
Attenborough, who attended the Wyggeston Grammar School for Boys in Leicester in the 1930s, said he was astonished at manifestations of Christian faith.
“It never really occurred to me to believe in God – and I had nothing to rebel against, my parents told me nothing whatsoever. But I do remember looking at my headmaster delivering a sermon, a classicist, extremely clever … and thinking, he can’t really believe all that, can he? How incredible!”
In 2002, Attenborough joined an effort by clerics and scientists to oppose the inclusion of creationism in the curriculum of state-funded independent schools receiving private sponsorship, such as the Emmanuel Schools Foundation.
Members of a fundamentalist American church group planning to stage a protest at the funeral for a Winnipeg man brutally killed on a Greyhound bus have managed to enter Canada, a spokeswoman told CBC News on Friday.
Canadian border guards are under orders to prevent members the Westboro Baptist Church, a controversial Kansas-based sect, from entering the country.
The group intends to picket the funeral of 22-year-old Tim McLean to tell Canadians his slaying on July 30 was God’s response to Canadian policies enabling abortion, homosexuality and divorce and remarriage.
Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day’s office sent an alert to border patrol to “look out” for people with signs and pamphlets consistent with the messages that the church promotes and to keep them out of the country.
Shirley Phelps-Roper, daughter of church founder Fred Phelps, said a group of church members was turned away from a border crossing at Niagara Falls, but a small group did manage to get into Manitoba overnight.
“They were looking for picket signs and they were looking for leaflets. Well, we don’t do leaflets, and the picket signs, you know, Fed Ex ships them overnight,” she said.
However, Phelps-Roper said the reaction the group has raised from some police and public officials has her questioning whether the planned protest will go ahead.
“The question to my mind [is] whether or not we ought to get them the heck out of that country, because that’s some crazy stuff when you’ve got your officials talking like they are in a back-alley brawl and not government officials who took an oath to obey the law and so forth.”
Phelps-Roper said she would advise church members not to go ahead with the protest if there is a concern they might be arrested or harmed.
A counter-protest against the church’s picket plans was launched on the social networking site Facebook on Thursday.
More than 700 people have since joined the group; postings indicate they plan to form a “human wall” around the family to shield them from the church protest, if it takes place.
Winnipeg NDP MP Pat Martin said the group should be “sent packing,” and should not try to show up in Winnipeg “for their own safety.”
“We’re not going to allow these people to compound the tragedy of the McLean family loss, and Canadians simply won’t tolerate these lunatics disrupting what should be a respectful service,” he told CBC News on Friday.
“Your freedom to swing your arm in the air ends when it touches the end of my nose,” he added. “What these people were going to do was hurtful, harmful and disruptive to the peace, order and good government that we guarantee to our citizens, so they have no place in this country.”