March 20, 2014

Fred Phelps, media symbiont

Democrat politician and anti-racism activist Fred Phelps is dead. The cult leader of the Westboro Baptist Church, enjoyed a, shall we say, symbiotic relationship with the national media.

From Wikipedia:
The first notable cases were related to civil rights. "I systematically brought down the Jim Crow laws of this town," he claims.[8] Phelps' daughter was quoted as saying, "We took on the Jim Crow establishment, and Kansas did not take that sitting down. They used to shoot our car windows out, screaming we were n***** lovers," and that the Phelps law firm made up one-third of the state's federal docket of civil rights cases.[18] 
Phelps took cases on behalf of African-American clients alleging racial discrimination by school systems, and a predominantly black American Legion post which had been raided by police, alleging racially based police abuse.[19] Phelps' law firm obtained settlements for some clients.[20] Phelps also sued President Ronald Reagan over Reagan's appointment of a U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, alleging this violated separation of church and state. The case was dismissed by the U.S. district court.[20][21] Phelps' law firm, staffed by himself and family members also represented non-white Kansans in discrimination actions against Kansas City Power and Light, Southwestern Bell, and the Topeka City Attorney, and represented two female professors alleging discrimination in Kansas universities.[18] 
In the 1980s, Phelps received awards from the Greater Kansas City Chapter of Blacks in Government and the Bonner Springs branch of the NAACP, for his work on behalf of black clients.[20]

Phelps' five runs in Democratic primaries peaked in 1992's Democratic U.S. Senate primary in Kansas at over 30% of the Democratic vote. (Keep in mind though that this was an unimportant primary because the Republican candidate for re-election was Bob Dole, so this race didn't attract top Democratic talent. But, still ...)

Ann Coulter has long noted how Phelps's family cult received implausible legal protection from the judicial establishment.

The Westboro Baptist Church is an interesting example for how to think about things like the possibility of false flag operations. It probably wasn't a false flag per se, but it was lovingly nurtured by respectable society, whose purposes it served well.
          

47 comments:

reiner Tor said...

the Republican candidate for re-election was Bob Dole

You mean George Bush the Elder?

Melendwyr said...

Fred Ward? Are you sure you didn't mean Fred Phelps?

Bongo Placebo said...

@reiner Tor

I'm pretty sure GHWB wasn't an incumbent Senator from Kansas that year; he was President at the time.

Anonymous said...

He means Bob Dole, the former senator from Kansas.

Phelps's "church" consisted of a few dozen people, mostly family members. How many plays, films, and headlines did the Left get out of it? Fifty years from now the Left will still be talking about Westboro as though it's current news.

Anonymous said...

Fred Phelps certainly became the poster boy for haters of the southern white working class.
The ADL and Southern Poverty Law Centre were happy to list him alongside perfectly legitimate groups.
There is an interesting article in the Occidental Observer which says he was manufactured by the media in the same way that the record industry creates a boy band.

http://bit.ly/1ddOmLP

reiner Tor said...

I realized shortly after having sent the comment. Please disregard.

Anonymous said...

WWWG/T is inconsolable, having lost the best friend they will ever have.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it amazing how all Phelps' efforts towards civil rights for blacks went down the memory hole over WWG. I also love when people I know call him a GOPer, and then I have to point out that he was a democrat. Needless to say the subject changes.

He was interesting to say the least. A die-hard, equality-seeking democrat who hated republicans as much as he did gays. But that never stopped the MSM from using him as a poster boy of the right. Sort of how they keep blaming JFK's assassination on the right wing culture of hate, despite Oswald's background. They keep laying Phelps at our doorstep too.

Anonymous said...

It's also worth noting that the Phelps family law firm/family church was in some respects a lawsuit machine.

The "church" members were in the habit of engaging in very visible, very objectionable public protests and would happily sue the living daylights out of anyone that violated the civil rights of the WBC.

Quite frankly, it seems like a disreputable family lawfirm, the equivalent of a pack of ambulance chasers, getting in on the religion-schtick in order to troll people into lucrative lawsuits.

That the image the Phelps family lawfirm-come-church projected naturally appealed to the innate biases and bigotry of the media.

Naturally it's hard to accurately ascertain a person's true beliefs, let alone cut through the media-driven persona of a well-publicized individual, but at the end of the day it's still a pretty safe assumption to say that Phelps wasn't what the media portrayed him to be.

RobertW said...

Westbrook Baptist Church and False Flags? I'm not following. Can you elaborate?

David said...

He bore a strong resemblance to Sumner Redstone.

Melendwyr said...

The suggestion at hand is that Phelps was posing as an exaggeratedly offensive bigot in order to discredit 'reactionary' views in general.

Maybe. His entire family is in on the moneymaking scam aspects - considering how much they're hated, it seems a bit much to suggest that they're all part of a psiop. Would you sacrifice your good name and give up a normal life for the sake of ideological engineering?

Anonymous said...

Love the use of "symbiont." Perfect description of the man and his church.

Anonymous said...

The Occidental Observer article is interesting, but I think dead wrong as to the the effect that the Louis Theroux BBC "America's Most Hated Family" and follow up documentaries had on the WBC's reputation. I am not saying the clueless blue pill folks might have reacted differently.

Years ago Theroux covered Fred Phelp's clan at the height of their infamy and they came off as bunch of locally despised loons, pathetic, sad and likely con artists. In no way did I feel Theroux was doing the SPLC, ACLU, ADL, HRC or the LGBT?... agenda any favors. In fact the Theroux documentaries had me wondering if the WBC was a false flag operation funded by Soros, Sumner Redstone, David Geffen and the rest of the Hollywood Gay TWMNBN Mafia.


Theroux has done documentaries on KKKers and Neo-Nazis(Tom Metzger) and
they were presented as pathetic and mostly harmless losers. Not anything like the scary threats the SPLC made them out to be.


I have long admired Theroux's work and for the most part I find that he undermines the PC Cultural Marxist left's agenda. The apple did not fall that far from Dad's tree(Paul Theroux), in spite of the fact that for a brief time Theroux worked as a largely unpaid assistant to the odious Michael Moore.

Check out Theroux's work on youtube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9VyoQYUpk8

Anonymous said...

Being able to pick and choose who represents your opposition is a high percentage operation.

Anonymous said...

The suggestion at hand is that Phelps was posing as an exaggeratedly offensive bigot in order to discredit 'reactionary' views in general.

Maybe. His entire family is in on the moneymaking scam aspects - considering how much they're hated, it seems a bit much to suggest that they're all part of a psiop. Would you sacrifice your good name and give up a normal life for the sake of ideological engineering?


Geez, couldn't even be bothered to read such a short post?

The last paragraph:
The Westboro Baptist Church is an interesting example for how to think about things like the possibility of false flag operations. It probably wasn't a false flag per se, but it was lovingly nurtured by respectable society, whose purposes it served well.

Steve Sailer said...

I don't know the work of Louis Theroux, but the Therouxs in general are a large clan of writers and media personalities. They don't necessarily get along with each other, but as a brand name for stubborn independence in a business that doesn't have much use for the recalcitrant, "Theroux" would rank pretty high in my prejudices.

Don Reynolds said...

Fred Phelps was a man who had a fervent conviction that simultaneously promoted and denied justice. The impetus of those divergent forces demonstrates a righteous cause from his perspective. Regardless, his position does not excuse his irrationality or malevolence, but clearly shows how a person is able to be both a hero and a villain. His greater cause earlier in his career, however, is easily trumped by his sheer audacity to viciously interrupt a sacred ritual in a private ceremony--perverted in the name of God--and repeatedly defame and defile the character of a man who served our country.

Anonymous said...

Every time these people came up I would try to explain how they were obviously trolling. I don't know why they are, of course. Maybe the tribe is paying them millions of dollars to put on an act, maybe they were suing hapless municipalities. Whatever. They were trolling hard.

People focus on the "God hate fags" signs, but take a look at some of the others:

http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=westboro+signs

"God is your enemy"

"God hates America"

"Planes crash god laughs"

"You will eat your babies"

"Thank god for 9/11"

Now, when 4chan hacks a Mountain Dew website to say "Mtn Dew salutes the Israeli Mossad for demolishing 3 towers on 9/11"

http://i.imgur.com/yz7m6.jpg

...people recognize it as obvious, obvious, obvious trolling. Not so when it's Westboro. No, they're totally serious. Uh, huh. Anyway, "Megan" of the church who was there spokeswoman, quit a few years back and I suspect it was only because she saw the forward earnings estimates and made a strategic move. She'll probably come clean now that the CEO is dead.

notsaying said...

Now that he is gone, maybe his family stops hurting people.

They probably won't, but I hope they will.

geschrei said...

Funny, but for the past couple of years I've been admitting to my prog friends that I have a grudging admiration for Phelps and the Westboro Baptists. Not just for sticking up for their beliefs, no matter how odious, in the face of literally 50,000,000 to 1 opposition (even the most staunchly reactionary evangelicals denounce them) but to the brilliance of their trolling strategy: how many times have huge counter-protests been mounted at the mere mention of WBC showing up at a soldier's funeral or some other high-profile target, when they didn't even consider making the trip?

And now I may have to take it all back. The "Reverend" Fred, a liberal Democrat race hustler? Westboro Baptist, a possible false flag operation for the LGBT-centric mass media machine?

Is nothing blasphemous?

Anonymous said...

I've thought on occasion that the Phelps might be a "false flag" op, since the "progressive" Left has been their main beneficiary, but they are too good to be faking it. I think gays literally jumping out of the bushes in Topeka to molest his grandsons was too much for old civil rights atty Fred. Just like Western gays using post-shock therapy Russia as a pedosex tourism destination was the final straw for the Ruskies.

excellent documentary:

http://youtu.be/ImexvBtEbl8

Mr. Anon said...

Jim Jones also started out as a civil-rights champion and Democratic party stalwart, so Phelps was in auspicious company.

I saw some of Louis Theroux's documentary on the WBC, and they seemed to be just about the most awful, obnoxious people one could imagine. Just as bad as Phelphs himself was one of his lieutenants - either his daughter or daughter-in-law, I believe. From what I remember, the women in the clan seemed to take the lead; the men all seemed whipped.

Theroux insinuated to one of the family that Phelp's act had a whiff of "doth protest too much" and wondered if he wasn't compensating for latent homosexuality. I know it's a common charge laid at the feet of anyone who disagrees with the homosexual agenda, but in such an extreme case as Phelps, perhaps it wasn't so unreasonable.

Theroux's documentaries on Africa were also quite good. You ought to check them out, Steve. Some of his stuff is on YouTube.

ben tillman said...

Wow - I had no idea of his background.

ben tillman said...

It's also worth noting that the Phelps family law firm/family church was in some respects a lawsuit machine.

The "church" members were in the habit of engaging in very visible, very objectionable public protests and would happily sue the living daylights out of anyone that violated the civil rights of the WBC.

Quite frankly, it seems like a disreputable family lawfirm, the equivalent of a pack of ambulance chasers, getting in on the religion-schtick in order to troll people into lucrative lawsuits.


So maybe his earlier civil-rights advocacy was all about the money as well. Either way, your analysis is insightful and illuminating.

Anonymous said...

They are truly hated by most in their, and my, hometown. Frankly, I pitied them-- especially his grandkids.
Fred was also well known for his legal ethics problems and was disbarred for mishandling clients' funds if I remember correctly. I really felt for his daughter who was a law school classmate and had to listen to case after case in Ethics class where her father was charged with misconduct.

They cursed me by name when picketing my church back in the 90'a and it was clear that they wished to provoke their targets to physically assault them. There are many stories about them that would amuse you all, especially the claim that since they represented blacks they should recieve affirmative action in law school admission.

Discard said...

At a liberal church I attended, it was announced that the Westboro Baptists were going to picket a liberal church about a dozen miles away. Many in the congregation got all fired up with self righteousness, whispy old farts out to prove their progressive bona fides by counter demonstrating, just like the good ol' sixties.
Reading the e-mails flowing back and forth on the church's website first gave me the idea that Westboro Baptist was secretly backed by Gay Central. Nothing had ever prompted so much traffic, all of it pro-gay, some of it even calling out other parishioners for being insufficiently committed to the cause. They were an enormous asset to WWG. Maybe not a true false flag, but I don't doubt for an instant that they got help, perhaps anonymously, from their enemies.

Anonymous said...

I believe the term you're looking for here is "Moby"

Walking Fred said...

I have long thought that Phelps' band of fools was a bit too perfect of an "enemy", a clear stereotype of evil Southern white Christians led by a white man to boot, going around committing acts that no reasonable person on the planet could not but hate, over and over again for the press to parade around in front of the public.

Finding out that he had been a democrat, and actively involved in the civil rights movement cemented the fact that this was a false flag operation. No telling how much they were paid to do it. It would be as interesting if not more of a journalistic breakthrough than Woodward and Bernstein's, for someone to break the story and who was paying for it. I'm betting there's a Soros sugar daddy type in there somewhere.

RobertW said...

I know he was a Democrat for many years but I simply don't buy the "false flag" nonsense. People who are simply "on the payroll" do not put up with the type of abuse he received at the hands of ... well ... everyone who wasnt a member of WBC. There are very few people who are willing to speak and stand by their principals, regardless of the costs to themselves. Most people fold up their principals at the slightest push-back. No, he was the real deal and the world will be a sadder place for his passing.

Anonymous said...

"Ann Coulter has long noted how Phelps's family cult received implausible legal protection from the judicial establishment."

The Phelps (and Ropers) are a gaggle of extremely competent and savy lawyers. They are not ignorant hicks as some imagine.

So just to stink up the place: Were the Westboro 'family cultists' correct? Did the US soldiers who died in Iraq, to name one place, die the death of a jackass? Please explain why they didn't. The best answer I can come up with is if they did not die they would get VA benefits. Since very few veterans actually see combat, that might be a decent bet.

Scotus opinion on Funeral Protests.
http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/10pdf/09-751.pdf

I am not sure what Coulter is complaining about exactly. I doubt she read or considered the legal brief. The Westboro people are not ignorant hicks, they did not make a rash decision to picket.

Some people claim they are hated in Topeaka. I think you will find substantial support for Westboro among 'old school' Baptists.

Anonymous said...

They cursed me by name when picketing my church back in the 90'a and it was clear that they wished to provoke their targets to physically assault them.

Likely the real motivation for their over-the-top trolling. Goad some big, well funded counter-protesting organization into beating them up, and sue the pants off them.

Anonymous said...

Phelps and his cult were obviously always playing to the cameras and trolling for publicity; I don't think anybody in his right mind who spent 5 minutes looking at their protests would deny that. I often wondered whether they were really sincere in their hatred for homosexuals, but ultimately, the question doesn't really matter, any more than it matters whether an actor playing Hamlet is really Danish or not. Maybe he hated homosexuals, maybe he didn't, but a man who was first and foremost interested in making life difficult for them would spend his time protesting outside of bath houses, gay bars, and women's softball games, not the funerals of (presumably) straight Marine casualties.

Anonymous said...

"Westbrook Baptist Church and False Flags? I'm not following. Can you elaborate?" - they made their money by provoking reactions from people and then suing them over it. It shouldn't be possible, considering things like the fighting words exception, but as noted, they had some friends in high places.

C. Van Carter said...

Running a false flag pro-immigration political candidate would be useful.

Mountain Maven said...

The false flag theory, while provocative, fails the Occam's Razor test. Pure evil is the simplest explanation.

Silver said...

"Running a false flag pro-immigration political candidate would be useful."

Do you mean in the sense that he'd boost immigration in ways so over the top he'd "inadvertently" turn people against it? If only. It seems there's nothing that the masses will not lap up if it's tied to immigration, the more pathetic and worthless the immigrant the better. It's mass psychosis.

Cail Corishev said...

Do you mean in the sense that he'd boost immigration in ways so over the top he'd "inadvertently" turn people against it? If only.

Yep. We already have pro-immigration boosters declaring that we need moar immigration because American workers are stupid and lazy, and American universities are unable to train them. They already talk about Americans as if we're good for nothing except consumption. They already push to bring in people from countries that overtly hate us, even ones that have recently sent us terrorists. They even already insist that we accept "refugees" carrying dangerous communicable diseases.

Try to write a parody of an open borders fanatic. I don't think it can be done.

Anonymous said...

How many paying lawsuits did the WBC win in the last couple of decades? What damages and payouts did they win?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westboro_Baptist_Church

As of March 2009 the church claims to have participated in over 41,000 protests in over 650 cities since 1991.[28] One of Westboro's followers estimated that the church spends $250,000 a year on picketing
Funding

WBC's travel expenses exceed $200,000 annually.[235] According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Westboro is funded entirely by its congregation and accepts no outside donations.[236] The church has received money from lawsuits and legal fees.[236][237] For example, they sued the city of Topeka several times in the 1990s.[236] WBC received $16,500, and is pursuing another $100,000, in legal fees for a case won in court.[237] The WBC is considered a nonprofit organization by the federal government, and is therefore exempt from paying taxes


The Cultural Marxist left spends tens of millions promoting the Gay Agenda. Just keeping alive and promoting the massive hoax that was the Mathew Shepard "Hate Crime" must cost multiples of the WBC budget.

I serious doubt the Phelps family is returning checks from anybody. What David Geffen spends on one of his Malibu or Fire Island parties could fund WBC for a year.

Ask yourself how many times in the last decade you did not see an anti-gay hate media story or donation appeal that did not have a WBC protestor front and center?

I have not ruled out the False Flag option. How many left wing causes have been exposed as Communist fronts. Likewise there were anti-stalini Trotskist fronts revealed to have been funded by the CIA that later went totally Neo-Conservative?

Anonymous said...

Whether it was a con job or not, you gotta admit: Phelps was more entertaining than Tim Wise or Hugo Schwyzer

Chucklehead said...

"I know he was a Democrat for many years but I simply don't buy the "false flag" nonsense. People who are simply "on the payroll" do not put up with the type of abuse he received at the hands of ... well ... everyone who wasnt a member of WBC. There are very few people who are willing to speak and stand by their principals, regardless of the costs to themselves. Most people fold up their principals at the slightest push-back. No, he was the real deal and the world will be a sadder place for his passing."



- If he's doing it for money then its not exactly a principled stance (not that there's much principle to be found in heckling a family burying their son) . And the left has shown time and again there are no shortage of people willing to take abuse for far less.

Anonymous said...

"I serious doubt the Phelps family is returning checks from anybody."

My understanding is they refused Federal Nonprofit 503c status, but do act as a nonprofit under Kansas law. So I doubt they get donations, and for religious reasons do not solicite them. WBC appears to be a small self financed Church consisting mostly of some members of the Phelps and Roper family.

They are smart diligent lawyers with an excellent work ethics. It seems they all attended state school in Kansas through law school. They are very frugal. So I think they really do self finance.

But this is beside the point. Is the WBC basically right that soldiers died a pointless death? Why shouldn't they point that out?

Anonymous said...

Good old fashioned American nut case. You can't have a good pro wrestling match without a heel. Phelps stepped up.

Maxwell Power said...

Back during the 90s I saw them (or impressionable copycats) picketing at the end of Prospect Street in Providence R.I. -- definitely "a really futile and stupid gesture done on somebody's part"

Maxwell Power said...

If the FBI was funding the Kwanzaa guy back when, I see no reason they can't be training media-savvy hatespeech stooges today... "Church Committee" yeahright

Sir Nigel Tufnel said...

Running a false flag pro-immigration political candidate would be useful

It's such a fine line between clever and stupid

Anonymous said...

No, they mean it. If you compare their positions to any fundamental Christian domination (southern baptists for example), they agree on all the big issues, as well homosexuality.
This also explains his fight for civil liberties regarding blacks, paraphrasing his explanation: You can't chose weather you are born black or white, it is how God makes you. Maybe you can't choose if you are born gay or not either, but you can chose not to act on it, so homosexual acts are sin. Open proponents of homosexuality as well, because they promote sin, sinning and outright deny what's written in the Bible.