Phelps Responds To Westboro Column

Margie Phelps, the lawyer representing Westboro in the current Supreme Court case and daughter of the Church’s founder, has responded to my recent column on that case. Since I do not believe it was published, in fairness I am publishing it in full on the blog:

Dear editor,

This responds to Jonathan Turley’s special about costs awarded to us in the funeral picketing case.

He’s right in a sense—the courts have been cut off from the average person, by prohibitive costs, sanctions, and cumbersome rules. That was done purposefully because this nation is not righteous, and has no mercy.

He’s wrong suggesting costs are unfair in this case. When you make a decision in the cold light of day to use the courts to vent your spleen – making the whole case about your hurt feeeeeeel-liiiiiiings – utterly ignoring longstanding constitutional principles, there should be some consequence. After all – you folks in Washington love to pound the table, puff up, and harrumph, “This is a nation of laws!”

Some things are immovable. Everyone is talking about the soldiers – their lives, their deaths and their funerals. Everyone is talking about the raping priests. Everyone is talking about same-sex marriage. All those issues are bound up scripturally in these dying soldiers. Stop sinning; they’ll stop dying. What answers does the Pentagon have to stop their deaths? That public dialogue is one we have every right to join—whether you hate the words or not. The funerals are public free-for-alls, with politicians, media, veterans and military sprawled all about with flapping mouths and flags.

It was wrong-minded of the faithless father and his military lawyer to ever file that lawsuit. The Fourth Circuit cited multiple Supreme Court cases in overturning the runaway verdict. Abusing the legal system in the hopes of jury nullification is wrong. Requiring a party in that instance to reimburse a modest portion of the costs of litigation to the abused party is fitting.

Margie Phelps
Member/attorney, Westboro Baptist Church
Topeka, KS

38 thoughts on “Phelps Responds To Westboro Column”

  1. Amicus Brief filed in the S.Ct.



    WASHINGTON — Forty-eight states and the District of Columbia have submitted a brief to the Supreme Court in support of a father who sued anti-gay protesters over their demonstration at the 2006 funeral of his son, a Marine killed in Iraq.

    Only Virginia and Maine declined to sign the brief by the Kansas attorney general.

  2. amati1684 said : “All this should be enough to make any thinking person abhor religious practice of any variety. It makes too many people crazy.”

    Most of these types were crazy to begin with, religion just gives them an excuse or justification.

    Nothing in Christianity holds up Phelp’s odd beliefs. Christianity may be homophobic but it does not preach hatred. Phelps and his so called church preaches Hatred a teaching so contrary to the teachings of Chist as to be actually anti-christian.

  3. My favorite line was “stop sinning and they will stop dying.” That’s the sort of simplistic nonsense I would expect to hear from someone whose spiritual growth ossified around the second grade.

    The bible is a compilation of ancient texts proffering dubious history, soaring poetry, arcane laws, and a host of baffling inconsistencies. It’s the record of the tortured relationship endured by some some primitive peoples with a tribal god of stifling jealousy and stunning, petty childishness. The sort of divine being that will demand the sacrifice of Abraham’s son, Isaac, and then say, “Oh, just kidding; now that I know you’ll do it, just slay the ram caught in a thicket by its horns…” Wilfred Owen and Woody Allen have done wonders with that story.

    The Phelps family is but another shining example of why this book is a dangerous weapon in the hands of immature and emotionally stunted people.

    And now we must now endure Rush Limbaugh’s insane assertion that the Iceland earthquake is God’s punishment for American passage of health care reform, and a Muslim cleric is blaming women for it. All this should be enough to make any thinking person abhor religious practice of any variety. It makes too many people crazy.

  4. FFLEO’s position is the correct one in my opinion. By all accounts the Phelps family is a despicable bunch. First, their actions violate fundamental standards of basic human decency. Second, their logic is severely flawed. When another miner dies from mesothelioma, the protest should be at the doors of the mining company. A soldier does not formulate the policies that take him to his death. Third, their theological justifications for what they do are absurd. If the Phelpses would spend more time in self-reflection rather than self-absorption, they might recognize that they do not hold a copyright on religious doctrine.

    Having said that, I cannot fault the decision to tax costs. That is one of the consequences of losing the suit, and it was a known risk at the time the suit was filed. It is no more appropriate to deny an award of costs to an unpopular party than it is to deny a fair trial to an unpopular criminal defendant.

  5. tootie:

    “The bible never advocates injustice or immorality. You are just making stuff up.”


    Let me just pick one of the top of my head:

    If within the city a man comes upon a maiden who is betrothed, and has relations with her, you shall bring them both out of the gate of the city and there stone them to death: the girl because she did not cry out for help though she was in the city, and the man because he violated his neighbors wife.

    ~Deuteronomy 22:23-24 NAB

  6. None of what the Phelps do makes sense.

    When the apostles preached the deal was: shake the dust off your feet of any place where people refused to hear the message of God, and go away. I don’t see anything in those verses which advocate hounding and harassing those who reject God’s word.

    The message from the Bible is to move along to a more receptive audience.

    The Phelps family is not acting according to the bible, but the legal case is fascinating.

    Over at Lew Rockwell online, one of the writers there makes an interesting case that sidewalks should be privately owned and that if you want to protest on a sidewalk, you have to pay the owner to do so. That might eliminate such protests.

  7. Gingerbaker:

    The bible never advocates injustice or immorality. You are just making stuff up.

  8. I agree Ms. EM, although the Phelps’ must have that right so you, others, and I do not lose our free speech rights. I fully understand what you are saying. At a minimum, we can take solace that there are not more misfits like the Family Phelps and that we are free to criticize them.

  9. FF LEO–

    I lost religion many years ago. Still, I hate to see people like the Phelpses use religion and the Bible to spew their hatred for the human race–and to cause further pain to people who are already suffering from the loss of a beloved family member. Talk about sociopaths. What the Phelpses do may be legal–but it isn’t morally defensible.

  10. Elaine M:

    Thanks, Elaine, I couldn’t possibly have described her any better than the words emanating from the mouth of Margie. Esteemed member of the Bar, indeed.

  11. I don’t know the details of the case, but it’s entirely possible that as a result of what is effectively “dumb luck” on their part, they may be on the winning side of the law. It seems pretty improbable that a lawyer who is the child of one of the parties would really be up to snuff to argue a case before the SCOTUS. Nonetheless, that “dumb luck” may pay off.

    (This is making me realize that there’s a big downside to being on the Supreme Court. Sure, you’ve got great job security, and you can play basketball any time you want, but once in a while, under the law, you may have to rule that the evil company that killed children isn’t financially responsible, and potentially that the father of a dead soldier would have to pay money to the scummy, vile weasels. Yuck.)

    It’s always amazing in 21st century America to hear “magical thinking.” Even the theological premise that a righteous nation won’t have military deaths seems have no biblical precedent (or grounds) from what I can remember.

  12. Gyges,

    That’s why I said “Part of it…”. Every member of this clan was inculcated by a domineering, egocentric bully. And the brainwashing continues today. These people came to my hometown last summer, and they brought a young boy of about seven or eight, whose job was to videotape everything, including people confronting his mother. He looked very confused. I took photos here:

  13. Mespo & Ms. EM,

    I treasure a full and unencumbered First Amendment; unequivocally and first and foremost.

    As an unabashed atheist, I most certainly and adamantly abhor the Phelps’ religious nonsense; however, in this legal case, I think the law is squarely on their side of the balance scale of justice—and rightfully so.

    The beauty of the First Amendment is that it does not discriminate, nor must it ever.

  14. Ginger,

    I think it’s a little unfair to place the blame only on the Bible. I think there’s probably a certain percentage of any population looking for an excuse to place “the other” as below themselves. The Bible happens to be full of excuses, but I have no doubt they’d find some other outlet for their need to demonize.

  15. FFLeo:

    She works for her Dad. All the lawyers are family members and they all attended Washburn School of Law. Anyone see a pattern here? Not exactly Fulbright & Jaworski.

    Washburn School of Law is a second tier law school, and while it has produced many fine lawyers, I wouldn’t think this crowd makes the promotional brochure. Credentialed or not she is using her training to harass and defend the indefensible. No amount of lipstick will help this situation, as Sarah Palin might tell us.

  16. FF LEO–

    Theodore John Kaczynski, the Unabomber, graduated from Harvard University in 1962 and received a PhD in mathematics from the University of Michigan. He also had a National Science Foundation fellowship while at Michigan. He was a brilliant man and a well-credentialed individual. Just sayin’.

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