First of all, let me apologize for my lack of posts lately. My good friend James was on R&R from Afghanistan and we both determined that the supply of PBR and Coors Lite in the Phoenix area was unacceptably high so we have been doing our part to reduce it.
The story of Albert Synder and his legal battles with the Westboro Baptist Church have been well documented on this blog and many others. I’m not going to go into that travesty of justice in this post.
Sometime ago I watched a documentary about the WBC called The Most Hated Family in America. It was made by this British documentarian named Louie Theroux, who lived with the Phelps family for a few months. For that, he is obviously just as crazy as the Phelps or he is one tough SOB. If you got the time, it is posted on YouTube, and it is at least worth watching a few minutes of.
The one thing that struck me the most about the Phelps is how comfortably they live. They live on a compound with several large houses in Topeka, Kansas with a couple of other families who are supportive of the church. They all drive vehicles that look new and it is widely reported that the family spends several hundred thousand dollars a year on travel (plane tickets, rental cars, hotels, etc.). Not to mention that they have a lot of high quality computer, video, and printing equipment to maintain their website, church, and protest activities.
So the next question for me was: Where does all the money come from to pay for these activities and their lifestyle? Well it would appears that the SPLC and the WBC have shared an income source in the past.
Fred Phelps was a lawyer until he was disbarred and in the past had participated in civil rights cases in Kanasas. However, his family still runs a chartered law firm and most of the family go to law school or become paralegals once they graduate from high school (which adds to the list of expensive activities that they need to pay for). According to the WBC’s Wiki and links provided in its endnotes, the WBC has been able to collect money under a law called the Civil Right’s Attorney Fees Award Act of 1976. This act basically allows a court to award certain parties legal fees and other monies in “Civil Rights cases”. I am pretty sure that this is the law that allowed that federal court in the Synder case to force Albert Synder to pay the WBC’s filing fees. Ironically, this law was designed to help groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center fund their “Civil Rights” court cases.
That doesn’t account for all their money though. A good friend of mine is convinced that the SPLC, Human Rights Campaign, and other progressive groups are giving the WBC cash so they can use them to attack the Christian right. The evidence for this is that Fred Phelps was a Civil Rights attorney that had some links to groups like the NAACP (apparently Fred even got some awards from them). I wouldn’t put it past a piece of crap like Morris Dees or Mark Potok to try a stunt like that but in the end I don’t think they are that stupid. Something like that, were it to come out, would destroy them. I think that they do some non-religious/non-civil rights business through their law firm and that is able to generate some cash for them. Or they are all FBI informants like Hal Turner.
I still have to wonder if they really believe in the stuff they preach. I think it is obvious that they have found a pretty good racket going by being complete and utter assholes. Plenty of other people do it, just look at Hollywood. And just like with the freaks in Hollywood, you know every single one of them is getting off on the publicity.