Westboro has its say on radio

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AIKEN --- Friends and family of Staff Sgt. Willie J. Harley prepared for his visitation services Wednesday evening by ignoring the local radio broadcast of a group that planned to picket his funeral.

Staff Sgt. Willie James Harley will be buried at 1 p.m. today in Aiken.   Special
Special
Staff Sgt. Willie James Harley will be buried at 1 p.m. today in Aiken.

"I'm quite sure their only objective was to get their voices heard and they got that," said family friend Kenith Corley.

Shirley Phelps-Roper, a member of Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church, agreed to an hour of unedited talk on Wednesday afternoon with radio host Austin Rhodes on WGAC-AM (580) in exchange for not picketing at Harley's funeral today.

The church has become known for pickets at military funerals to express their view that soldiers' deaths are God's punishment for American immorality and tolerance of homosexuality and abortion.

The church announced plans to picket the funerals of Harley, 48, and Spc. Luther "Will" Rabon, 32, of Lexington County, S.C., on Monday. The men were killed Oct. 1 in Afghanistan by an improvised explosive device.

On Wednesday's show, Phelps-Roper said the group had planned to attend both services despite contrary rumors, but would now attend neither after Rhodes' offer.

Phelps said the purpose of the pickets isn't to recruit members to their small church of about 50 active members, but to be faithful to God. Phelps-Roper said God promised in the book of Jeremiah that "we are not suppose to be afraid of what you say when I go out and say these words."

"When you see the Westboro Baptist Church standing on your street, you see the word of Christ," she said.

The hour-long chat focused mostly on the Phelps' family's history of more than 44,000 protests, which date back 20 years. The family began attending the church in 1955 before Phelps-Roper's father, Fred, became pastor.

Corley, who was preparing Wednesday afternoon to speak at Harley's funeral, said his friend would consider the attention put on him in the last week as silly.

"Just like his family's requested no interviews, he would do the same," he said. "He's not a publicity hog; he didn't stand out in front of everybody."

Harley's funeral will be at 1 p.m. at Cedar Creek Church in Aiken.

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Emerydan
10
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Emerydan 10/14/10 - 02:28 am
0
0
Austin Rhodes is merely

Austin Rhodes is merely encouraging this sick cult to target more funerals of fallen servicemen. This is exactly what this group wants.. a platform and attention, and Rhodes is only too eager to give it to them. He may think he is helping, but he is actually only aggravating the situation.

old49er
1
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old49er 10/14/10 - 02:43 am
0
0
I am not going to try to

I am not going to try to second-guess Austin Rhode's motives - I am for anything that will keep those idiots from disrupting the funeral of one of our soldiers.

InChristLove
22473
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InChristLove 10/14/10 - 05:58 am
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old49er, I agree. Whatever

old49er, I agree. Whatever works to give this family the respect to lay their love one to rest without a bunch of hate filled misguided individuals interrupting it.

KATHRYNTHIGPEN
0
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KATHRYNTHIGPEN 10/14/10 - 06:04 am
0
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I agree with "old49er". These

I agree with "old49er". These people should be kept from protesting anyones funeral especially one for someone who gave their life to defend our freedom or the freedom of others. I feel that the ones who show up to protest should be met with armed military to guard and protect the families of the men and women who have given the ultimate gift. I do not endorse violence but this has to stop and they obviously have no respect for human life or the true meaning of the words in the Bible. God also promises to punish those who would alter or change the words of His Book. Punishment is pending for those who disrupt these funerals by spewing their venom.

wribbs
435
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wribbs 10/14/10 - 06:11 am
0
0
When these idiots come into a

When these idiots come into a town do they camp in the woods somewhere, bring their own, food, gas, water? If I owned a business in the town they were coming to, I think I would be able to figure out who they are and refuse to serve them anything. Need a place to stay, not here you don't. Hungry? Go dig some roots off the side of the road. Need fuel? Maybe the guy down the road will sell you some, not me. Disrupting the logistics of transporting and feeding 50 morons would eventually shut these idiots down. Another plus is I'll bet they would get mad and cause a public disturbance, then you could have them arrested.

freeradical
1075
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freeradical 10/14/10 - 06:13 am
0
0
I appreciate Austin's motives

I appreciate Austin's motives but I think it would have been nice to

have someone join the conversation who could have stymied,

frustrated, and shutup this nutjob on every biblical theological point she

tried to make.

She was on the shakiest biblical ground I have ever heard, as well as

being completely outside the will of God, where His Son is concerned.

(I don't believe she mentioned the substitutionary, redemptive work of

Jesus even once.)

It was all about her, her family, her church, her,her,her,,,,,,,,.

It was obvious that Austin was over his head in this dept. and when she

repeatedly quoted scripture he just let her word be the final take, and

basically came off sounding outgunned where any scripture points were

made.

I believe his heart was in the right place but I think it would have been

much more interesting for the listener and a whole lot more vexing &

frustrating for this nut if he had basically acted as a moderator between

her and someone ( a local pastor willing to defend the gospel perhaps)

with the needed theological firepower at their disposal.

She should, and could have been shown to be a complete liar where

her scripture quotes where concerned.

johnston.cliff
2
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johnston.cliff 10/14/10 - 06:17 am
0
0
Of course the promotion of

Of course the promotion of abortion and homosexuality is immoral. That's not in question. But, verbally and visually assaulting the friends and family of fallen heroes is not the way to make this point and the actions taken by this church are equally immoral and offensive.
The one positive result of the visits from the Westboro church is that no matter how you feel about the promotion of abortion and homosexuality, everyone agrees on the disapproval of the actions of this group.

seabeau
33
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seabeau 10/14/10 - 06:58 am
0
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Although I severely disaprove

Although I severely disaprove of this groups actions , I cannot but agree with them that a country whose morals has decayed as our's has cannot expect anything but destruction and pain.

revscottep
3
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revscottep 10/14/10 - 07:03 am
0
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What a contrast between the

What a contrast between the honor and sacrifice of Harley & Rabon, and the mean spirited, disgraceful, ungodly words and deeds of the WBC people. They should read some other parts of the Bible (New Testament, for instance) that warns us we will be judged by God in the same way we've judged people. I'm also very sad that they have hijacked what church is really called to represent as they press their public political agenda. If they are going to be consistent in their expression of faith, as they use a literal interpretation of scripture, I strongly suggest they not fear the king of Babylon & therefore take their protests there (Jeremiah 42).

Ushouldnthave
0
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Ushouldnthave 10/14/10 - 07:09 am
0
0
Austin did a good, but

Austin did a good, but controversial, thing. I for one didn't listen to this cult, but appreciate any legal ideas that keep them from harming a brave soldiers family. I would, however, listen to a show featuring the Patriot Guard.

TK3
562
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TK3 10/14/10 - 07:10 am
0
0
I am all for protests but not

I am all for protests but not at a funeral. If they showed up at one of my relatives funeral, their right to protest would run right into my fist.

Austin Rhodes
2862
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Austin Rhodes 10/14/10 - 07:12 am
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Someone would have to be as

Someone would have to be as crazy as that lady is to have any desire whatsoever to engage her in a theological debate.

I don't care to even consider debating a lunatic when all you have to do is allow her rants to make the case against what she was doing. Why bother?

Our goal was to insure that the funeral processions were left alone, mission accomplished. As to whether or not they were going to come, they have thousands of such confrontations under their belt, but they don't have Sgt. Harley's or Sgt. Rabon's services notched on their guns.

The only thing that woman accomplished yesterday was confirming to all that heard her that she and her clan are bat**** crazy.

Suzy Q
1
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Suzy Q 10/14/10 - 07:49 am
0
0
Austin is right... trying to

Austin is right... trying to debate that nutbag would have been beyond pointless and frustrating for anyone attempting it. She's a fanatic. Trying to get her to see the error of her ways would be like trying to get Al Qaeda to hold hands with you and sing 'kum by ya'... ain't gonna happen.

There's plenty of stuff online showing interviews with this hate-mongerer at YouTube. Just type in her name and the crazy pops right up in front of you.

Southern_Patriot
0
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Southern_Patriot 10/14/10 - 07:49 am
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It was a controversial thing

It was a controversial thing that AR done. I didn't listen to the program, I to had rather listened to the Patriot Guard but now AR will crow about it for no telling how long.

agustinian
689
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agustinian 10/14/10 - 07:49 am
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Austin: Wasn't the Westboro

Austin:
Wasn't the Westboro threat to picket a form of psychological extortion? Wasn't your offer of an hour on your radio station a form of ransom? Doesn't that just encourage other wack jobs to undertake similar actions in order to get free air time?
Think about it.

A-

Mwilli5009
0
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Mwilli5009 10/14/10 - 07:50 am
0
0
How someone hasn't put one in

How someone hasn't put one in Phelps-Roper's skull at one of WBC's protests is beyond me. These military members have grieving military friends, ya know.

aahhuh
0
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aahhuh 10/14/10 - 07:59 am
0
0
These people knew better to

These people knew better to go starting something with people down south at a funeral of a love one. Specially with people of color!!! They knew it was going to be a all out WAR!!! if they came to that funeral starting mess. Austin didn't have anything to do with it!!! He might had advised them not to go stirring up a hornet's net so to speak!! They cowarded out!! Lets be REAL about it!!!

Austin Rhodes
2862
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Austin Rhodes 10/14/10 - 08:02 am
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The situation at hand was

The situation at hand was unique in nature, and really doesn't fit the "giving in to terrorists" equation. The Westboro clan will never kill anyone, so we can't kill them to stop their antics. You folks that want to beat them into submission would be making them far bigger stars than they are. They have a Constitutional right to "yell", and we have the Constitutional right to "yell over them"...in the meantime, a family funeral is turned into a carnival.

That didn't happen yesterday. What happened yesterday is that a kook talked on the radio for an hour, and anyone who heard her was shaking their head the whole time.

I don't normally have kooks on the show, and my audience knows that, so I just let her tilt at windmills and got a giggle in the process. No harm done.

As far as why someone doesn't "put one in their skull", that would be because the only people who care enough to do such a thing are usually too grounded in their own religion and family life to sacrifice it over "swatting a fly".

I let the chick foam at the mouth on my show for an hour.

Whoop dee frigging doo.

As far as "crowing about it"...why would I? All I did was pull back the curtain and let JoJo the Dog Faced Girl juggle her balls.

humbleopinion
0
Points
humbleopinion 10/14/10 - 08:02 am
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0
What is sad is that that they

What is sad is that that they DO have the Constitutional protection of freedom of speech. If we attempt to stop them on these grounds, then we ALL lose the protection of that document to OUR freedom of speech. The leftists would love nothing more than to have the Supreme Court shut them down as then they will go after the political right and conservatives at a rapid rate. This group of lunatics has been around for over 40 years and if in all that time they have only grown to a membership of 50 then they really don't need to be bothered with. Just ignore them Austin....Let the veteran groups who have been dealing with these idiots keep on dealing with them. The sound of Harleys ridden by veterans has done a good job in blocking their rantings many times in the past, and will do so in the future. I am not advocating violence or the violation of any laws, but how is it that veteran groups haven't taken these loons out back of the barn for a good, ol' fashioned *** whipping?????

corgimom
32399
Points
corgimom 10/14/10 - 08:14 am
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0
Austin Rhodes- you did a very

Austin Rhodes- you did a very kind deed, one that you didn't have to do.

If people want to criticize what you did, you can't stop them.

I, for one, think you did a very thoughtful act.

Austin Rhodes
2862
Points
Austin Rhodes 10/14/10 - 08:23 am
0
0
Criticism doesn't bother me,

Criticism doesn't bother me, I just want folks to understand that I entered into this little exchange with a plan and it went exactly like I thought that it would. No debate, just "show and tell".

She showed...and her rhetoric told. No disrupted funerals.

As the late, great Skip Carey would say:
"Braves win...Braves win...Braves win !"

curly123053
4671
Points
curly123053 10/14/10 - 08:28 am
0
0
The type of "free speech"

The type of "free speech" these Westboro cult members like to engage in crosses over the line to criminal behavior in my opinion. I see this behavior as a type of harassment. Last time I looked harassment was against the law. When someone is making false statements and then standing at a hero's funeral with hate-filled signs and chanting hate they have crossed that line between having free speech and harassing mourning family members. The American Communist Lawyers Union(ACLU) has twisted and completely confused the people into calling this junk that the Westboro cult does as free speech, when it should be considered as harassment or a "hate crime". If anybody would ever get ticked off enough to take revenge on this Westboro group of cultists they would most likely be charged with a hate crime. It should go both ways.

getalife
4
Points
getalife 10/14/10 - 08:36 am
0
0
What Austin did was a good

What Austin did was a good thing. It is tough enough when you have to bury a son or daughter, but having a bunch of nut-jobs out there chanting while the family goes through the funeral is just too much. I really think this is carrying the freedom of speech too far. There should be some law that would stop this. These people are demons.

seenitB4
87178
Points
seenitB4 10/14/10 - 08:44 am
0
0
You know what... we have

You know what... we have fools everywhere...one day they are going to run into a fool with a weapon.....just saying..I would try to stay as far away as I possibly could.

curly123053
4671
Points
curly123053 10/14/10 - 08:48 am
0
0
I would start by charging

I would start by charging them with harassment and go from there. Give them one chance to disperse, then start arresting them on harrassment charges. I am surprised the DOD does not do more to try and stop this type of harassment of military funerals.

noway
201
Points
noway 10/14/10 - 08:53 am
0
0
Austin, thanks for what you

Austin, thanks for what you did. If people don't like what they say, then don't listen. If people want to go join the crazy church, they have that right. Austin saved those families from the disgust of the people from this "church". Thank you and God Bless Our Soldiers.

pommom38
1496
Points
pommom38 10/14/10 - 08:57 am
0
0
They got EXACTLY what they

They got EXACTLY what they wanted and that was air time to preach their philosophy to the masses! And lookie here, people are STILL discussing it. Congrats Westboro, mission accomplished!!
Now, they will continue moving on to the next funeral and the next, etc. Yes Austin, you kept them from two, whoop dee doo.
Patriot Guards are all over, am pretty sure there are enough to go around to help these families out, I pray no other radio station caves and allows them to preach again!

Austin Rhodes
2862
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Austin Rhodes 10/14/10 - 09:02 am
0
0
PomPom...looks like you are

PomPom...looks like you are craving a carnival. That is fine if it is YOUR family holding the funeral, but since it isn't, you need to keep the sideshow in the closet.

These Westboro idiots are like fire ants...all you can do is handle them as they come up, there is no such thing as (legal) extermination of the species...UNLESS you exterminate ALL free speech in the process.

pommom38
1496
Points
pommom38 10/14/10 - 09:17 am
0
0
No, you created a freak

No, you created a freak carnival when you bowed down to these idiots! What about my comment resembles wanting a carnival? LOL
I repeat, I pray no other show allows such mockery.
You're entitled to YOUR opinions and views, I am entitled to MINE.. Isn't free speech wonderful!!
And no surprise the LAW never thought to make adjustments to that amendment so that we never had these type of people to deal with..

InChristLove
22473
Points
InChristLove 10/14/10 - 09:19 am
0
0
curly123053, the problem is

curly123053, the problem is this group is filled with lawyers and don't you think they know the law and how close they can come to the line without crossing it.

Austin, thanks for what you did. I was unable to listen in but a member of my church did and she said the lady was crazy.

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