Friday, July 06, 2007

Phelps Asks ACLU For Help

Last month, Pam reported that Shirley Phelps-Roper, member of the hate group the Westboro Baptist Church and daughter of Fred Phelps, was arrested for child endangerment. Today, the charges were made formal. She has asked the ACLU for help:

(Omaha, Nebraska) The daughter of homophobic preacher Fred Phelps has been formally charged with negligent child abuse, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, flag mutilation and disturbing the peace over an anti-gay protest at the funeral of a soldier last month.

The indictment was filed Thursday. Shirley Phelps-Roper, 49, was arrested last month in Bellevue, Nebraska, after her 10-year-old son stomped on an American flag during a protest at the funeral of a National Guardsman killed in Iraq. (story)

Phelps-Roper and about a dozen other members of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas carried signs denouncing homosexuality and stating that military deaths in Iraq were God's retribution for America being permissive of gays.

A 1977 Nebraska law prohibits trampling a flag. The protesters brought their own flags to the demonstration.

At the time of her arrest a police officer said that Phelps-Roper put one flag around her waist.

"The second one was given to a 10-year-old, who put it on the ground and started kicking it in the area they were protesting," Officer Joe Gray said.

"It appears the adults weren't stepping on the flag because they knew it was a violation of the law. But they allowed the children to go ahead and do that."

If convicted Phelps-Roper could be sent to jail for three months and fined $500.

Phelps-Roper says the action is protected by the US Constitution and she intends to fight the Nebraska law and she has asked the Nebraska chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union to represent her.

The ACLU said Friday it had not made a decision.

I understand the ACLU taking cases involving first amendment issues. That's what they do. But is Phelps seriously OK with receiving help from the same ACLU that is working hard to end discrimination against LGBT people? That's too rich!