Dual WorldNetDaily columns by Ann Coulter and Chrissy Satterfield denouncing the soldier-funeral-picketing haters at the Westboro Baptist Church got us to recalling a time when WND wasn't quite as down on Fred Phelps and his crew.
As we detailed in 2006, WND positively portrayed a Fox News appearance by Westboro protester Shirley Phelps-Roper in which she argued with host Julie Banderas. WND dispassionately described her as "who believes America's sinful behavior has resulted in God's cursings rather than blessings" and her church as an "anti-homosexual church" before mentioning the funeral protests. It seems that WND was attracted by Westboro's anti-gay behavior -- WND, after all, is anti-gay too.
This apparent trial balloon went over like a lead-filled one with WND's readers. As we noted, the lead answer on a WND opt-in poll about the on-air altercation was "Julie's comments were over the top, but the protests at funerals of dead U.S soldiers are even more disturbing," and the three letters WND ran about the story were all critical of Phelps-Roper, calling her "a disgrace and a psychopath," a "cult leader" and a "self-righteous, hateful, name-calling woman."
It wasn't until two years later, when the Westboro folks picketed the funeral of Bush White House press secretary Tony Snow that anyone at WND felt moved to condemn the group. That's right -- it took a prominent conservative being targeted by the church for WND to screw up the courage to denouce it as "infamous."
It took way too long for WND to come around, but it has at last joined the voices from across the political spectrum who agree (publicly, anyway) that the Westboro clan is a bunch of odious haters.