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Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Picket of Conservative's Funeral Finally Pushes WND to Reject Fred Phelps
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A July 15 WorldNetDaily article by Joe Kovacs expresses disdain that members of the "infamous" Westboro Baptist Church plans to picket the funeral of conservative Tony Snow. This is a change of tone for WND, which has no history of criticizing the church when they protested at the funerals of gays.

An October 2000 news article called Westboro and its pastor, Fred Phelps, "a vehemently anti-homosexual pastor" and "anti-homosexual in the extreme" (important for WND to note only because it was trying to tie Al Gore to Phelps), but an October 2002 article by Art Moore held Phelps' activism up as a reason to oppose a proposal in Canada to add "sexual orientation" to a hate-crimes law: Because Phelps "bases his views on religious grounds," the article claimed, a law forbidding him to spew his hate would "shut down religious discussion."

An August 2003 article by Ron Strom noted that a "homosexual webcasting radio station" blamed Phelps' church for getting "struck by lightning, frying critical phone equipment."

Kovacs goes on to note, "Ironically, as WND previously reported, one of the leaders of the church was already condemned to hell on national television by Fox News host Julie Banderas." But as we noted at the time, that article downplayed the church's extremism, portrayed Banderas as the aggressor and the church member, Shirley Phelps-Roper, as the victim, and touted Phelps-Roper's credentials in being "licensed to practice law in Kansas and before the U.S. Supreme Court."

Even the church's protests at funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan haven't moved WND much. A January 2007 article noted that conservative legal group Judicial Watch supported a Missouri law targeted at Phelps' church banning pickets at memorial services, but even then WND didn't paint the church in a critical manner; it benignly states that the church "believes that God is judging America because of the nation's acceptance of homosexuality," suggesting that there is a person or two at WND who sympathizes.

It's not until a prominent conservative is targeted by the church that WND screws up the courage to denouce it as "infamous."

Posted by Terry K. at 12:20 AM EDT

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