Members of Fred Phelps’ church, Westboro Baptist Church, were barred from traveling to Great Britain yesterday effectively blocking their plans to protest at British school production of the Laramie Project.
Phelps’ followers are well known to many Episcopalians as they have protested and taunted parishioners at many Episcopal churches here in the United States over the last decade or so. They’ve become a staple at General Conventions as well. They are well known for protesting at the funerals of service men and women killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The British Government blocked the entry of members of the group citing concerns, among others, about possible violence their activities might induce.
Mrs Phelps was upset.
“She called the British government ‘filthy’ for thinking they had the power ‘to keep the word of God from coming into her borders’.
The UK Border Agency said it opposed ‘extremism in all its forms’.
A spokesman added: ‘Both these individuals have engaged in unacceptable behaviour by inciting hatred against a number of communities.”
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Ekklesia has more:
The Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Evangelical Alliance UK, Faithworks, the Methodist Church of Great Britain, the United Reformed Church and Bible Society-funded thintank Theos said: “We are dismayed that members of Westboro Baptist Church (based in Kansas, USA and not associated with the Baptist Union of Great Britain) might picket the performance of The Laramie Project in Basingstoke on Friday … “We do not share [Westboro’s] hatred of lesbian and gay people. We believe that God loves all, irrespective of sexual orientation, and we unreservedly stand against their message of hate toward those communities.”