An interview with the Westboro Baptist Church

Stanford News, Stanford University/February 24, 2010

In the wake of the Westboro Baptist Church picketing outside the Hillel House, many members of the Stanford community felt differently. Some felt united, others revolted at the ideology of such an organization, and others indifferent. Articles were written about the solidarity of the student body in the face of the picketing with minor detail on the Church itself. I found myself feeling puzzlement at the event more than anything else. Why would a church dedicate itself to the practices of the WBC? If they seem to stand against everything, what can they possibly be for?

This puzzlement led me to send an e-mail to the WBC asking if I could conduct an interview. Luckily for me, a woman by the name of Shirley Phelps-Roper, the daughter of the church’s founder, Fred Phelps, responded and agreed to answer all my questions. Below is a transcript of the interview. Mrs. Phelps-Roper is the eldest daughter of Pastor Phelps, who founded the WBC, and its current ‘chief of staff’ concerning picketing and public relations. She was present, according to witnesses, at the Stanford pickets. She has been arrested for contributing to the delinquency of a minor - encouraging a 10-year old child to step on an American flag - and has been barred from entering the United Kingdom due to fears of hate speech provoking violence.

My hope in interviewing Mrs. Phelps-Roper was that she would be able to shed some light on the motivations of the WBC. I could not fathom what values the members held or what they supported given their stance against so many in American society today. Unfortunately, the interview was not as elucidating as I had hoped. The responses (all written in red) were littered with capitalized words and multiple exclamation points, end on end, for over-emphasis. Scripture was quoted numerous time in the defense of the WBC’s abhorrent views. I have edited the transcript and narrowed it down here to make it easier to read.

I was initially hesitant to relay the interview to the public, but I feel that absurdity is most honest when it is allowed to speak for itself. Though the content of the interview is offensive, it clearly exposes the blind malevolence of the WBC’s views for the absurdity they contain.

Q: How did you get involved with the Westboro Baptist Church?

SPR: It is the church I have been going to all my life.

We know what the WBC stands against - homosexuals, the military, and Jews - but what does it stand for? What does the WBC uphold or wish to encourage?

SPR: Excellent question! First, you work too hard at breaking down the demographics. There are ONLY TWO with your God. Those that OBEY and those that do NOT OBEY! So, what are we for? OBEY YOUR GOD! If you obey, he will bless you and if not, he will curse you. We would encourage each and every, all and singular of this generation to put away their idols, their false gods and their filthy manner of life and obey their God. It is life and health and peace and happiness - yea, it is marrow for your bones!

Given the wide range of issues that the WBC addresses, what solutions does it propose?

SPR: It is amazing in its glorious simplicity - it is the one and only answer and the solution to all that ails this nation/world! Say it with me now - obey your God! No kidding! You see, you have a little community of people that are right before your eyes and we do just that. We have no economic strategy and we don’t sit around discussing these matters. We don’t talk to our children about drugs or alcohol and we don’t have “the talk” about sexual activity or STDs or otherwise because we have elevated the discussion to be a daily searching of the scriptures to know what the Lord our God requires of us. If you have done that, you don’t have to turn aside to the left hand and to the right hand to try to out-fox God in an effort to avoid his curses and his wrath that is pouring out on this land and this people. You can’t out-fox God and you cannot avoid his wrath. When he focuses in on you, and he will, you are just out there - and the [expletive] priest does not stand with you in your grief and the [expletive] rabbi does not get the wrath of God off your back!

Why do you personally believe that God hates America/homosexuals/the military?

SPR: Because I can read! I would recommend that you stop wasting your time looking at what we do/say and look at the wrath of God that is abiding upon you and your country and your fellow countrymen! [...] Have you not heard again and again in the last 10 years - the worst - the first - over and over - this is the worst winter snow EVER! Blah, blah, blah! Meanwhile giving the glory of that work of God, to your false goddess, mother nature.

What would an ideal world look like, according to the WBC?

SPR: Another excellent question. Just look at you with the good questions, a little late, but nonetheless, beautiful in their simplicity! I shall make my answer equally simple. [...] The world would look exactly as it looks!

Why did the WBC choose Stanford University to picket?

SPR: Because the brute beasts that call themselves students are entitled to see what good looks like at least one time in your miserable, God-cursed lives!

Why did the WBC choose the Hillel House as the designated picket area?

SPR: [...] With the event of the spewing forth by this nation, from the deep in her bowels, The Beast and propped him up into the most powerful office in the world, I say, with that event, the timeline has become very disciplined and short! So, in studying the eschatology of it all, we find, as would you, that in these last hours of the last days of all, there are two major events that will directly impact our beloved Jewish brothers and sisters. We have a job to do in getting the words before their face, and in the doing of it, we will fulfill those words of God wherein he promised them in that day when he cast them aside in his fury because they broke the covenant and then they did that final act of treason wherein the murdered their Messiah. [...] I say, God promised them in that day that inasmuch as they provoked him to jealousy with their idols and false gods, that he would in turn provoke them to jealousy with a people that in times past were not his people. How lucky are we to be the little souls on the ground at this hour to get to perform that task and to fill that roll.

What are pickets conducted by the WBC designed to accomplish?

SPR: Well, you can see many things in what I have already said that are accomplished, e.g. provoking the Jews to jealousy and informing them, reminding them really of the words of their prophets about these last two glorious events that will land on their doorstep with or without their liking. They will have that final indignation poured out on them when The Beast, Antichrist Obama brings the nations to march upon Jerusalem and that city will be taken and the horrors will be the worst ever seen in this earth from the beginning of the creation to that day, and then, in the midst of that horrible sorrow and grief and affliction, there will yet be some of them alive, and of that remnant, God will pour out a spirit of grace and supplications on 144,000 of them and they will look upon the Lord Jesus Christ, whom they pierced and they will mourn for him as one mourns for their only child and those will be some people that I, the Lord willing, will be permitted to know! And if that is the case, or whoever are those little souls that are permitted to help them, it will be most amazing! More words on that, but somehow, I’m not thinking you give a care.

Do you believe the picketing you undertook at Stanford served its purpose?

SPR: Oh, you have no idea! You see [...] what we did was bind you to the commandments of God - all of you. Now, you have no excuse for your disobedience, and so therefore, the wrath of God has an unencumbered path to pour all over you and your state. See, had you bothered to read the words, you would have already known this. Some of the rebels of this nation have read and they know and they rage at us for bringing this thunder. E.g. When the woman last July used the two swords and the large knife and cut the head off her tiny baby (3 weeks) and ate his brain and his toes and his nose, etc. I say, there was an article suggesting that it was our fault. Interestingly, we find that to be what the rebels of old did to the prophets in the Bible! So we say yay!

How did the picketers themselves feel about the event and its reception?

SPR: They were elated and ecstatic and multiply words here - get out the Thesaurus and find lots of words that mean the same concept and line them up. [...] I know, my eldest daughter was one of them, the twitter was made for her - she was alerting the world to her joy! That is before I get to the rest of that little flock of lambs that were over there telling you the words that you need more than you need water, oxygen and food! They did that free of charge. They asked for nothing and they took nothing, except your abuse. They are good for that.

If you have any final words or comments, please feel free to write them.

SPR: All humor and otherwise aside, the time is so very, very short, the Lord is on the way, the destruction of this nation is imminent! Each person has a never-dying soul. If you hear these words and they cause you to mourn for your sins, you have a tiny window to obey your God and escape the tribulation that will come upon this land when it begins to shake and quake and sputter.

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