06/16/05  Reverend Phelps Protests Idaho Memorial Service


Fred Phelps standing with his protesters outside a memorial service at Albertson College of Idaho this morning. photo by Bo Gusman, National Inspirer staff photographer

06/16/05 BOISE, Idaho (Inspirer) Riot police were on hand today as the Reverend Fred Phelps made good on his promise to protest the memorial service held for 19 year old Cpl. Carrie French. Phelps was quoted as saying, "God is not benevolent, and we're out to put a halt to this blasphemy... America would do well to go home and read the Old Testament." Phelps is legend in the extremes that he seems to go in order to promote his cause in the press. He insists that his church has been victimized and is the target of continued hatred and a bomb attack six years ago. He is noted for his outspoken anger towards Gays and Aids victims and has stated repeatedly that the war in Iraq is God's retribution for what he sees as America's decline in morals.

While the family of Cpl. French were sadly tolerant of the whole incident, it threatened to turn ugly with a near altercation between Phelps and Inspirer photographer Bo Gusman. "I think I caught him unawares when I snapped the picture, and he became enraged and tried to take my camera." Fortunately police stepped in to defuse the incident.

"I had forgotten that the camera was still in night mode and I had a couple of polarizing filters in place," Gusman continued, "I was sure the picture was worthless, but when I got back and downloaded it, I was shocked. I can't explain it, but he was all red and everything; the clothes were all different, and the cowboy hat was just... gone."

A spokesperson for Phelp's Westboro Baptist Church stated cryptically, "Mark ye the number of the beast."