Now that Brent Steele (R - Bedford) has announced his intent to criminalize protests at military funerals, he's made himself a target of Fred "I'm Crazier Than a Bedbug" Phelps and his followers.
You'll remember good ole Fred from his website godhatesfags.com and from other assorted protests - from Matthew Sheppard's funeral to the recent protest of a fallen soldier in Martinsville. (See Anti-gay funeral crashers strike in Indiana)
Seems that Martinsville protest at the funeral of the soldier killed in Iraq really peeved Steele. (You might find yourself asking, "Why is a religious extremist nutjob like Phelps picketing a soldier's funeral? Don't God and the American flag go together?" The answer: Not in Phelp's book. He claims God let the soldier die to punish the US for being soft on homosexuality.) And as a dung beetle starts out with a small piece of crap, this thing too has rolled into one big pile of poo...
Steele wants to outlaw political expression with his bill. I think we can all agree that Phelps is a real piece of work, but you can't outlaw protesting. Constitutional rights and all that... And of course when the news got wind of Steele's plan, they contacted Phelps for a reaction.
Phelp's reaction? A protest outside of Steele's church this Sunday. The stinky snowball continues...
A Bloomington reader plans on organizing a counter protest. From the mailbag:
My name is Eric Robertson, I am a Senior Sociology student here at IU
involved in the Common Ground group on Tuesday nights, and I wanted to pass
word along of something interesting some of the GLBT community might want to
be involved in this coming Sunday.
I am from Bedford, IN and at 10 AM on Sunday, Nov. 6th, "Rev." Fred
Phelps and his followers from Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, KS are
coming to Bedford to picket Dive Christian Church and protest homosexuality
and State Rep. Brent Steele's (R-Bedford) efforts to make picketing military
I am interested in setting up a counter-protest for this date at Dive
Christian Church in Bedford and would like to get some fellow GLBT
supporters from IU to join me. I am a Christian and I do believe in Jesus
but the things that these kind of people do in the name of Christianity turn
I plan to hold two signs, one saying "Jesus Loves Everyone Including
Gays" and another that says "God's True Children Do Not Preach Hate."
Anyone interested in participating may email me or call me at (812) 388-5639 and I will give you more details.
If you decide to go counter-protest remember this word of advice: Phelps continues his agenda by suing the pants off of counter-protesters who touch him. He claims battery and files civil charges. If you don't think you can keep your cool (and these guys are some nasty mfs who will do their best to piss you off. They want you to touch them so they can sue.) then it's probably best for you to stay home.