Westboro Baptist Church — Live Report

April 24, 2007, 9:33 am; posted by
Filed under Steve  | 4 Comments

National radio host Mike Gallagher traded three hours of his airtime today for a promise that the Westboro Baptist Church would not protest the funerals of the 32 victims of the Virginia Tech shooting. I got up early (for me) to listen to the show live, on a station in Tennessee, and below I will be reporting on it, updated at least on each commercial break.

I recognize that you may not be interested in reading anything about this organization, so you must click through to the next page to read this summary. Refresh it often if you’re interested in keeping up.

11:58 — In closing, the sisters tell us the heart of their message, which is that “the bodies are going to pile up” like cordwood. They then thank Mike and hastily leave to catch their commuter raft back across the River Styx. And it’s over.
11:57 — “You’ve gotta go where the dialogue is occurring,” Shirley says. And apparently that’s funerals.
11:56 — John humbly suggests the sisters should picket recruitment centers instead of funerals. Gallagher asks them to protest his studios all the time instead, but Margie apologetically tells him he’s “not quite relevant enough.”
11:54 — I have a really hard time believing Margie’s claim that some families have told them at funerals that they didn’t want the army and the Patriot Guard there, or Shirley’s story about being thanked by a grieving mother.
11:51 — “Do you believe in grace?,” a caller asks. “LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING…,” Shirley starts. She ends her two-minute spiel by telling the male caller, “You don’t have the first clue about grace, ma’am.” What is it with these ladies and gender confusion?
11:50 — They picketed Billy Graham’s last Crusade in New York City and “every mainstream religion.” “For sixteen years we have criss-crossed this nation . . . looked hard for anyone who will serve God, and we haven’t found anyone.”
11:48 — He’s playing Fred Phelps clips now, where the old man criticized talk show hosts and Gallagher specifically. “Shouldn’t he be a little more grateful?,” the host asked.
11:44 — Mike is running out of steam. “Stay with us…if you choose…”
11:42 — Shouldn’t they exhibit the fruit of the Spirit?, a caller asks. “Every one of them is directly applicable to what we’re doing out there every day. . . you perverts think you can take words and give them an unnatural meaning to shame the prophets.” Wow.
11:41 — Wow, this caller appears to legitimately agree with the sisters (“Y’all sing beautifully”) and think they’re courageous prophetesses, but Mike seems to believe she was a ringer from their family.
11:40 — Each person in their church spends their own money to carry out these protests; Margie works as a senior manager and supervisor in a state agency.
11:38 — They accuse Billy Graham of telling you whatever you want as long as you pay him. Of all the criticisms…
11:31 — A caller wastes a few minutes by asking them why they think anyone in their right mind would accept a gift from someone who hates them, namely God. Naturally, as hardcore Calvinists (and — to be fair — sadists), they don’t much care.
11:29 — Mike Tyson would fit right in with this “church,” with all their talk about eating babies.
11:19 — Women in ministry gets them excited more than anything this side of sodomy. The Episcopal Church, with its women bishops, is apparently more akin to a leper colony and a whorehouse.
11:16 — They’re totally ducking the question from Laurie, who complained that their people swore in front of her 13-year-old son. They really like to swear, you see.
11:14 — “If there is another church that’s serving God in this world, we haven’t found it.”
11:12 — The sisters have relaxed a little over the news break and tell us that if they accidentally protest the funeral of someone who went to heaven — “No harm, no foul.” “He would be thrilled with that.”
10:57 — I have no desire to hear any more of their preaching or ‘prophecy,’ but I would love to see what their family reunions are like at, say, Christmas. What sorts of jokes do they tell?
10:56 — The caller is right to say the women are incredibly arrogant and incredibly condescending; I’m just not sure what it accomplishes to tell them so.
10:46 — In some ways, such as their claim that serving God results in a guarantee of earthly blessing, their theology is strangely modern.
10:43 — Mike: “You ladies are so angry!” Shirley: “We’re so zealous!!”
10:41 — A caller brings up I Corinthians and the lack of love; immediately the sisters respond with anger. “You’re right,” he said, “but you’re not doing it in a loving spirit.” “You are so foolish, ma’am!,” they replied. Are pink gel pens really a tool of the devil?
10:40 — There’s a lot of screaming going on. The sisters just spoke in an odd tandem monotone, kind of like the Bob and Ray twins skit.
10:38 — “We all need to repent,” Mike said to a caller. “I’m repenting right now.”
10:36 — Soldiers’ funerals are described by these women as the “primary international stage.” Horrifying.
10:27 — If the 71-member WBC takes pride in not being attached to a “monster church” or denomination, why keep ‘Baptist’ in the name?
10:20 — Missouri starts with an M “because it’s the meanest state in the country.” Ahhhhh…
10:16 — Mike asks who would qualify to go to heaven, which of the murdered students. “Have you seen their pictures?,” they ask. The default setting is hell, and apparently a candid snapshot is all that’s needed to verify that.
10:15 — I wonder what would happen to these women and this church if their father recanted his doctrine.
10:14 — Margie places the blame for the tragedy squarely where it belongs — on “parents, teachers, and preachers.” Oh, and the President.
10:11 — The Patriot Guard, who blocks the protests at the funerals, consists of “scooter sissies.” That sort of talk is dangerous for people who believe dying young is a sign of judgment.
9:56 — Caller Bob talks about his ‘guarantee’ of salvation through the cross, and the sisters start snorting and laughing. It goes downhill from there.
9:54 — Hooray, eleven of Phelps’ thirteen kids are lawyers. What a surprise.
9:50 — Never before has Charles Osgood’s voice seemed so calm and rational.
9:48 — I’ll spare you the list of adjectives they have for soldiers. It’s like they’ve got the thesaurus in front of them at all times, open to ‘evil,’ and they’re just working their way down the list.
9:46 — Where in the Bible do they find that dying young is automatically connected to damnation? Was 33 too young?
9:44 — How do they know who the sinners are? Because they were on campuses, the “heathen, self-indulging, living-for-themselves brats.” I don’t know how these women know that anyone lacks the “fruit or evidence” they demand, though. The next caller hits that question. Their answer is half-Calvinism and half-generalization, but the ultimate evidence is apparently that they died.
9:43 — Apparently America crossed the line with Lawrence v. Texas, because Christians didn’t resist that (admittedly awful) Supreme Court decision. “You ARE going to eat your children!”
9:41 — “Sidney” calls in to agree with the sisters. “The nation is vomiting out its inhabitants because of their sacrifices to Molech in the name of abortion.” Hmm. But he doesn’t think everyone’s going to hell, based on an appeal to God’s mercy. The sisters says he has a few things right, but he’s still “delusional,” because “it’s too late to pray.”
9:39 — “They bankrupt this nation with their filthy burning lust.” Three guesses who they’re talking about…
9:37 — They’ve been picketing funerals for 16 years, starting (of course) with a few artists who died of AIDS. Then they helpfully added military funerals to their arsenal.
9:28 — A female pastor calls in and the ladies aren’t too happy. “Lay it on us, lying false prophet.” John 3:16 is apparently the most-lied about verse in the entire Bible, although they don’t seem to explain why, beyond a reference to keeping God’s commandments.
9:25 — I think I missed some of the show because of connection problems, but they didn’t seem to recant anything while I was hearing commercials for Tennessee’s version of Agway.
9:17 — Most of the world is going to hell, but the WBC members are counting on the “grace” Gallagher identified to save them. Margie is really wound up already, telling us that God is “kicking this world’s a**,” because he’s so “p****d.” She sounds like a 8-year-old who just discovered swearing.
9:15 — The key problem with their arguments (and the way Gallagher responds to them) is that they take nearly every Bible verse they quote entirely out of context. But they do take pride in quoting the Bible. “You said you were a Bible believer, Mike — you should know that!” Charming ladies.
9:13 — Margie has an adopted child. Yikes. And it sure is depressing that Shirley has eleven children.
9:11 — The women start out with soft voices, but Margie is quickly getting angrier and angrier. Shirley started to talk about how they weren’t really being mean, since they were just using the Word as a “double-edged sword,” but Margie wants the world to know that the actual mean ones were the parents who “raised their children for the devil.”
9:07 — Gallagher starts by talking about how gracious the two women (Shirley Phelps Roper and Margie Phelps) are in person, and wonders why they’re so different in public. He sounds a little too obsequious for my liking.


4 Comments to “Westboro Baptist Church — Live Report”

  1. MC-B on April 24th, 2007 10:36 am

    I wonder how many hours of airtime it will take to placate these lunatics next time.

  2. Mike on April 24th, 2007 2:09 pm

    Steve–thanks for doing this. Any idea if the audio is archived anywhere on line?

  3. Steve on April 24th, 2007 2:21 pm

    I know the Gallagher show charges money for archives, but if you go to this site, there’s a whole list of stations that will be broadcasting it today, many of which you can hear over the Internet, either there or on the station’s own page. One will start (from Altoona) at 3 pm for instance, another in Florida at 5 pm.

  4. Westboro : Bweinh! on November 1st, 2007 9:41 am

    […] am fully conversant with the hypocrisy and evil of Westboro; I covered it here six months ago in a live report on their radio appearance. They are vile, misguided, horrid, and wrong. I cannot imagine — I don’t want to be […]

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