Westboro Baptist Church: ‘We want to do the right thing’
Westboro Baptists leader Jonathan Phelps says his followers want to “make the world a better place” by protesting the funerals of “heroes” and “people of faith”.
The controversial Westboro Church of the First Baptist Church is the largest Christian denomination in the US and is believed to have more than 50,000 followers.
The church, which is based in Topeka, Kansas, has been targeted for protests by members of Congress, the local police and the media, including a local NBC affiliate.
“We don’t care about your politics or your religion, we don’t even care if you’re a Democrat or a Republican,” Mr Phelps told reporters during a press conference on Monday.
Mr Phelps said he was motivated to leave the church by the media’s treatment of other prominent people in the group.
“There are a lot of people who are not on the front lines, who are suffering in silence, and I wanted to step up and do something about that,” Mr. Phelps said.
“You’re talking about people who’ve been killed, people who have been killed by other people.
You’re talking to them in the hospital and they’re saying, ‘I’m not going to be the same person I was in the past’.” Mr Phelps was arrested in June last year and spent three days in jail.
He said he decided to leave because he was disgusted by the violence and hate that he witnessed.
“I thought about the thousands of people that have died in this world and the tens of thousands of others that have been tortured,” Mr Pratts said.
The Westboro church has been vocal in its opposition to the funerary rites of the fallen soldiers and the funeraries of American heroes.
The group has also staged rallies against the funerations of President Donald Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence.
“This is the last chance for them to get their money and their power back and their hatred, which they’ve cultivated over many years,” Mr Bennett said.
Mr Bennett has also criticised the funerall rituals, calling them “an insult to those who died”.
He also called on Westboro members to be more vocal about the “toxic” media coverage.
“When they are saying things that they don’t believe in, they are not listening to what the rest of us are saying,” Mr Porter said.
He says Westboro’s members will continue to protest.
“They will continue their protest,” he said.
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