Former President Bill Clinton, Senator
Hillary Clinton, Senator Barack Obama and President George W. Bush
are among the political leaders planning to attend the funeral of
former Ohio Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones. And Fred Phelps, too.
Fred Phelps is the pastor of the
Topeka, Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church. He and his
congregation of mostly family members are planning to protest the
funeral of the former Congresswoman.
At the group's website
GodHatesFags.com, the group announced their Cleveland Convention
Center protest: “We will be there at the funeral of this evil woman
– Representative, Stephanie Tubbs Jones. This country stood by as
she voted to criminalize the word of God!! ... She is in a HELLA
TROUBLE as her sentence is just beginning, you know.”
Tubbs Jones, the first African-American
woman to represent Ohio in Congress and an ally to the gay, lesbian,
bisexual and transgender community, died last week in a Cleveland, OH
hospital after a brain hemorrhage.
The Westboro Baptist Church came to
national attention when they started picketing the funeral
processions of soldiers killed during the Iraq war. Phelps believes
dead soldier returning from Iraq are God's punishment for American
support of gays and lesbians.
The group also protested the first gay
marriages held in California, saying: “WBC will picket the godless
and blasphemous same-sex marriage farce scheduled to take place in
God-forsaken, Hell-bound San Francisco ... God Hates Fags &
Fag-Enables. ... GOD HATES CALIFORNIA.”
Gay groups, who were mourning the loss
of Tubbs Jones, were in disbelief. “[Stephanie Tubbs Jones] always
stood tall against hateful bigots like Fred Phelps and his ilk,”
said Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays Executive
Director Steve Ralls. “The deplorable depravity of Fred Phelps
will never be a match for the transcendent spirit of Stephanie Tubbs
The church also plans to protest
Senator Barack Obama's acceptance speech in Denver.
Stephanie Tubbs Jones' funeral is
scheduled for Saturday at the Cleveland Convention Center.