Just when you think that the reverend can't sink any lower, he demonstrates that there is no depth to which he will not descend in his zeal to pursue his small-minded and bigoted agenda.
Anti-gay minister proposes monument denouncing Shepard - billingsgazette.com: An anti-gay preacher from Kansas wants to erect a monument in a city park celebrating the death of gay University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard five years ago. The Rev. Fred Phelps has led protests in Casper and Laramie on the anniversary of Shepard’s death since 1998, when Shepard was lured out of a Laramie bar by two men, kidnapped and beaten into a coma. Shepard, 21, died at a Fort Collins, Colo., hospital five days later. Police have said he was targeted in part because he was gay. His attackers were later convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. In a letter sent to Casper officials Thursday, Phelps said he wanted to erect a stone monument in City Park with a bronze plaque bearing Shepard’s face and an inscription reading "Matthew Shepard, Entered Hell October 12, 1998, in Defiance of God’s Warning: ’Thou shalt not lie with mankind as womankind; it is an abomination.’ Leviticus 18:22." Phelps said he wants the monument in Casper because it is Shepard’s hometown, where he learned it is "OK to be gay."
To be sure, that's vintage spew from the man. Nothing terribly new there, although the fact that he's willing to go to that expense is impressive.
No, the impressive part is that apparently, if they follow through with their current plans, the city of Casper, Wyoming, will not be able to do one damned thing to prevent the monument from going up.
Phelps has proposed putting the monument in a part of City Park officials are considering selling in order to avoid the removal of a Ten Commandments monument that has drawn fire from another religious group. The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation has threatened legal action if the city does not remove the Ten Commandments monument. Earlier this week, the City Council decided to explore selling the park land rather than removing the monument despite opposition from some councilors, who fear it will draw interest from people like Phelps. "I think (the Ten Commandments monument) should be there, but I am voting to remove it if it has to be for this very reason, for the prevention of people like Phelps," councilor Renee Burgess said. Others said they would not be persuaded by hate to remove the Ten Commandments monument, which has sat in the park since the 1960s.
Of course, in part, this depends on who buys the parkland from the city. One suspects that the reverend will make a devoted effort to buy the parkland himself, and if he has the high bid, the city council will be unable to stop him, no matter how distasteful they find his plans.
All of this because essentially, the Casper city council does not seem to believe in the separation of church and state. My.
Actually, given the way the article concludes, he may well just buy some private property in the city -- probably through a second party, just to make life easier -- and put up his monument in any event. And then the city will have the entertaining time of finding legal grounds with which to get it removed.Posted by iain at October 03, 2003 04:36 PM