Student Makes Documentary On Phelps' Church

'Fall From Grace' Premieres Friday

KMBC-TV, Kansas City/January 24, 2007

A student at the University of Kansas is releasing a documentary this week on Fred Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church out of Topeka, Kan.

The film is called "Fall From Grace."

Phelps' group has protested at funerals of service members killed in Iraq.

"On a one-on-one basis, he's friendly, kind and polite," filmmaker Ryan Jones said.

KMBC's Jim Flink reported that Jones was allowed free access into the church, including its services.

"It is just chock-full of rage and anger and hatred. It's almost too much to handle. I felt sick the rest of the day, physically drained, and ill having to listen of all of it," Jones said.

Flink reported that the 75 members of the Westboro church as mostly Phelps' family. Jones said church members believe they're on a mission and their homophobic message is saving people.

"They are the chosen people. They are on the same level as Noah and Jeremiah, these types of people," Jones said.

Jones said that even the youngest members are active on the protest lines.

Jones told Flink his film lets watchers draw their own conclusions about Phelps and his church.

"We can understand them and we don't have to hate them because they are a small fringe group that means nothing. They are not worth getting into brawls over," Jones said.

"Fall From Grace" premieres Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Screenland Granada Theater in Kansas City, Kan. It is being sponsored by the Film Society of Greater Kansas City. An $8 donation is requested.

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