State Capitol News
Wed January 12, 2011
Members of Westboro Church Agree Not to Picket Funerals of Victims of Tucson Shooting
By Howard Fischer
Phoenix, AZ – That price, if you will, is radio time. Steve Sanchez will give
Shirley Phelps Roper, the spokeswoman for the Westboro Baptist
Church, a half hour Saturday morning on his Phoenix radio show to
explain its views. That includes its practice of picketing
funerals with signs proclaiming God Hates Fags. In exchange,
church members will stay away from Thursday's funeral for 9-year-
old Christina-Taylor Green.
(I've had Shirley Phelps Roper on my show before. She's a real
nutcase. There's no doubt about it. But yesterday, when I was in
my office, getting ready for the show, I heard her on TV stating
that that little girl deserved to die because she was a Catholic.
And it really hit a nerve with me.)
Roper also got nationally syndicated talk show host Mike
Gallagher to give her an hour on Monday. Roper said she is
trading the publicity the church would get from the picketing for
a different kind.
(We're trying to be as smart as we can to get as much attention
to these words. It's not about standing on that street and making
sure nobody's going to say we can't stand somewhere. It's not
about that. It's about this word of God and the falling out of
the providence of God and his workings, his dealings with this
Sanchez acknowledged he was giving
Phelps a megaphone of sort. But he said it is worth halting the
protest at the funerals.
(I believe in the media we have responsibilities to use our
mountains and to use them sometimes for moral good, as opposed
for ratings. And by giving her 30 minutes, we all know what she's
about. There's nothing new. We know that she's a hate-monger.)
Roper said the exposure she can get from the radio shows is far
broader than anything that could be generated from picketing in
Tucson. For Arizona Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.