Fred Phelps, who heads up the controversial organization, told reporters how they had come to this decision. “Yesterday I learned of the sad news that my wife of 47 years had intercourse with another man before we were married. According to the bible, she should be put to death. I decided that I cannot do that, not only because it would be illegal, but because I love her.” Phelps continued, “I think some things in the bible worked back then but they do not hold water today. So with that being said, we are officially ending our message of hate along with ceasing the picketing of any groups such as gays and Jews as of today.”
“I think it is great what the WBC is finally doing. They recognized the error of their ways and they are doing something about it,” said 34-year-old gay rights activist Michael Spielman from Topeka. “They were picking and choosing what to preach from the bible. Either preach it all, or preach none of it, but don’t use the bible as a scapegoat to hate a certain group of people.” Spielman continued, “I have friends that don’t care for gay people, but they would never say they don’t like them because of the bible, because that is just ridiculous. If you don’t like something, do it for your own personal reasons, don’t use the bible as an excuse.”
Phelps went on to tell reporters the future plans of his church. “In the next week we will be shutting down all of our ‘hate’ websites such as GodHatesFags.com and GodHatesAmerica.com. We will continue holding church service, where everyone will now be welcome,” Phelps said. “We will also be hosting new charitable events such as gay Bingo night, gay toy drives and kosher food drives just to name a few.”
The press conference ended with Phelps answering a reporter’s question concerning all the people that they have wronged over the years. “Jesus only spoke of love and compassion. What we were doing was the exact opposite. I just hope and pray that everyone can forgive us for our many years of wrongdoing.”
The Westboro Baptist Church began leading anti-gay protests in 1991. They received nationwide attention when Phelps and his followers picketed the funeral of Matthew Shepard, carrying signs that announced Shepard was already burning in hell. The WBC is not affiliated with any Baptist denomination and describes themselves as following Primitive Baptist and Calvinist principles. The church is headquartered on the west side of Topeka, west of the Kansas State Capitol. Its first public service was held on the afternoon of November 27, 1955. The WBC has setup a 24-hour hotline at (785) 273-0325 to answer questions about any of their upcoming charitable events.