Julie Banderas of the Fox News Channel

A discussion about protests by an anti-homosexual church at the funerals of fallen American soldiers turned into an astounding shoutfest on national television this weekend, with Fox News host Julie Banderas calling a fire-and-brimstone Christian preacher “the devil” and apparently condemning her to hell.

“You are the devil!” Banderas exclaimed to Shirley Phelps-Roper. “If you believe in the Bible, miss, you’re going to hell!”

Phelps-Roper, who believes America’s sinful behavior has resulted in God’s cursings rather than blessings, was appearing on “The Big Story” last night to talk about why members of her Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., protest at funerals for slain U.S. troops with slogans such as “Thank God for 9-11,” “Thank God for IEDs (improvised explosive devices),” and “God Hates Fags.”

“What would you do if you had a son in the military?” an outraged Banderas asked. “Would you damn him to hell as well? Because you’re gonna join him there if you had a son!”

“I have eight sons and I have three daughters,” responded Phelps-Roper, “and none of them would dare, dare fight for a nation who has made God their No. 1 enemy.”

Banderas engaged in a heated, rapid-fire, name-calling exchange with Phelps-Roper, which included:


Banderas: “The Bible says ‘the fear of the Lord is hatred of evil,’ [from the Book of] Proverbs. ‘Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.’ Perverted speech like yours: ‘God hates fags.’ You are preaching absolute B.-., and you know the final letter.”

Phelps-Roper: “If you don’t tell them that this nation is full of idolatry, full of adulteries …

Banderas: “Full of insane people like yourself, ma’am.”

Phelps-Roper: “You’re proud. You’re proud of your sins. You can’t do enough sinning. You think ‘gay’ pride, bimbo. You have sinned away your day of grace.”

Banderas: “OK, you are an abomination.”

Phelps-Roper: “America is doomed. America is doomed. … Before your eyes, missy, you’re gonna see the destruction of America.”

Banderas: “If America is doomed, then why don’t you get out? Why are you in this country? Why are you an American? Are you an American?”

Phelps-Roper: “I am exactly where my God put me to tell you plainly, that you are going to hell, and there’s nothing you can do about it.”

Banderas: “Why don’t you take your church to another country, then, ma’am? Thank you so much. You should not be proud to be an American, and thank you. Good-bye.”

Members of the Westboro Baptist Church hold signs and stand on the American flag at the funeral of Pfc. Caleb Lufkin June 2, 2006, in Galesburg, Ill. (courtesy: Westboro Baptist Church)

This afternoon, Fox News anchor Trace Gallagher told Banderas, “Most would say [Phelps-Roper] is a little on the wacky side.”

“Yeah, a little bit,” responded Banderas, “and she claims to be a Christian. Yah!”

Last week, a Pennsylvania man filed a lawsuit against WBC for its “intentional and outrageous” conduct during and since services were held for his son, Lance Cpl. Matthew A. Snyder, who killed in a noncombat vehicle accident in Iraq.

Albert Snyder “wants to deter this group of people from these disruptive and mean-spirited protests at the funerals of deceased members of the military,” Craig Trebilcock, an attorney representing Snyder, told the Baltimore Sun.

Phelps-Roper, who is licensed to practice law in Kansas and before the U.S. Supreme Court, told the paper her church would countersue “for conspiracy to violate civil rights and violation of civil rights.”

“If they think that coming after us is going to fix this, they are sadly mistaken,” she said. “We were seven people exercising protected rights of speech and religion.”

The WBC is planning another protest tomorrow in New Castle, Del., at the funeral of Army Staff Sgt. Darren Harmon, who was killed by an IED.

Video of the TV confrontation available here.


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