A Kansas-based Baptist church led by a vehemently anti-homosexual
pastor was once sought out by then-Sen. Al Gore, Jr. in his Democratic
bid for the presidency in 1988, according to group leaders who at one
time even worked for the Gore effort in Kansas.
Fred Phelps, Sr., pastor of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka,
Kan., and creator of the notorious
“God Hates Fags” website, said that when Gore was running for president 12 years ago, he enlisted “members of the Westboro Baptist Church to help run his 1988 campaign in Kansas.”
|Al Gore and wife Tipper with Fred Phelps, Jr. and his wife Betty in 1988.|
“In fact, Fred Phelps, Jr. [son of Westboro pastor Fred Phelps, Sr.] was one of his delegates,” he said.
Also, in 1989 Phelps claims to have held a fundraiser at his home for Gore, attended by an estimated 500 people and “considered a success by any political standards.”
So grateful for that support was Gore, said Phelps, that four years later, in 1992, Phelps was provided tickets to the inauguration of President Clinton. He was also sent tickets to the 1996 inauguration, he said.
Since those days, however, Gore has begun to court support from openly homosexual and lesbian activist groups, which has caused friction with his one-time anti-homosexual supporters.
|Fred Phelps, Al Gore, and former Kansas Gov. Joan Finney.|
Gore’s reported change of heart — along with his support for new federal hate crimes legislation that would provide enhanced penalties for crimes against homosexuals — has soured him in the eyes of Phelps and his congregation.
Phelps, whose website is anti-homosexual in the extreme, said his church is an “old school” Baptist church that “adheres to the teachings of the Bible, preaches against all form of sin (e.g., fornication, adultery, sodomy), and insists that the doctrines of grace be taught publicly to all men.”
He also says he preaches “hate because the Bible preaches hate.”
“For every one verse about God’s mercy, love, compassion, etc., there are two verses about His vengeance, hatred, wrath, and so on,” says the group’s website.
“The maudlin, kissy-pooh, feel-good, touchy-feely preachers of today’s society are damning this nation and this world to hell. They are telling you what you want to hear rather than what you need to hear, just like what happened in the days of Isaiah and Jeremiah,” said Phelps.
Dag Vega, a spokesman for the Gore campaign, responded to Phelps’ claims by saying, “We are not dignifying those stories with a response.” But he did not deny any past association between Gore, Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church.
|Gore with Fred and Timothy Phelps.|
Vega also said he would supply documentation proving that Gore backed homosexual and lesbian rights in 1988, but that documentation was not forthcoming by press time.
Meanwhile, Phelps’ appearance and protests at events around the country continue to spark controversy and, in more than a few cases, outrage.
On Oct. 8, he appeared in Seattle, Wash., for the second time in a month to protest GayBC, an Internet-based radio station. Phelps led about a dozen supporters who used a megaphone to shout denouncements of the station and its homosexual audience.
As it did in September, Phelps’ demonstration provoked hundreds of local homosexual activists to take to the streets. At that time, Phelps and a small group of supporters traveled to Roanoke, Va., to protest during the funeral of a man shot to death in a homosexual bar by another man who told witnesses he was looking to “kill some faggots.”
Local Baptist ministers said they agreed that the homosexual lifestyle was destructive, but that protesting it at a funeral was inappropriate.