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    Posted June 5, 2012 by
    BMailhot
    Location
    Farmington, Connecticut
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    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Be a CNN Student News iReporter

    The Oppressors of the Westboro Baptist Church

     
    Discrimination in this day and age is something of true seriousness and intensity. The people of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, KN have that concept nailed. The people of Westboro Baptist Church are quite possibly the heart of oppression and hatred in the mid-west. the people of Westboro Baptist are experts at professing hatred for people whether they are Jewish, black, homosexual, or simply aren't members of their cult-like organization. The pastor of this church, 82-year-old Fred Phelps, Sr.—described as an independent (primitive) baptist or Calvinist—is the source of the discrimination.
    One may infer that the anger and hate inside Fred Phelps stems from his horrific childhood. When he was just 5 years old, his mother died of esophageal cancer. After that, he lived with his father, who physically abused him and his two siblings. They were taken away from him and were sent to live with their aunt who died in a car crash about 14 years later.
    The Phelps family is not entirely senseless, however. Of Fred Phelps’ thirteen children, there are three who have estranged themselves from the family and became independent. Of those three, one sticks out in particular: Nathan Phelps. He estranged himself from his father at the age of eighteen and became an author, LGBT activist, and public speaker on child abuse and religion. He talks about his struggles as a child trying to please his father and the abuse he and his siblings suffered growing up. He talked about writing a book that detailed his terrifying childhood and experience with the church, but the project was scrapped and was never seen.

    The Westboro Baptist Church is perhaps most famous for its picketing around the country, especially at funerals and further for the funerals of U.S. army personnel. They have men, women, boys, and girls of all ages holding up signs with phrases such as “Thank god for dead soldiers” or “Not blessed, just cursed”. Thankfully, these acts of hatred don’t go unnoticed. There is a group of three hundred-or-so bikers, most of whom belong to the American Veterans Motorcycle Club, that take note of the church’s picketing schedule, posted on the website, and ride to the location, American flags in tow, forming a border around the event at which they plan to picket. This is perhaps the greatest hope for those who have lost loved ones and want to hold a funeral service in peace. These bikers can perhaps be the sole driving force that intends to bring the people of Westboro to a halt.

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