Fred Phelps and his family performance hate troupe (imagine the Von Trapps, but on the other side) visited three synagogues in Brooklyn yesterday. 200 counterprotesters, including the Brooklyn Borough President, were on the scene.
Other folks thought it was better not to reward the Phelps family with their attention. A congregant at one of the synagogues tells me that they were advised, if they were forced to speak to one of Phelps’ protesters, to say “I forgive you.”
Jews aren’t the only group Phelps hates. Other targets have included Matthew Shepard, the funerals of american soldiers killed overseas, everyone who was killed on 9/11 but particularly the New York firefighters, the at-risk students of the Harvey Milk School, dead miners, massacre victims, dead amish kids, President Obama’s grandmother and Mister Rogers.
Westboro Baptist uses the pushback against their deliberately provocative protests as an excuse to file suits seeking monetary damages. According to the Southern Policy Law Center, which monitors hate groups, Phelps himself filed over 400 before his disbarment. His daughter, Shirley Phelps-Roper, is the family lawyer and spokesman now.
Their reindeer games have gotten Phelps and Phelps-Roper on the list of people who are barred from entering Britain for fostering extremism.
They don’t like Catholics either. They’ll be appearing today at St. Patrick’s.