Extremist church to be blocked at border: report
Published Thursday, August 7, 2008 11:47PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, May 18, 2012 8:45PM EDT
Canadian border guards have been told to bar a fanatic church group that was planning to protest the funeral of a man beheaded on a Greyhound bus, reports say.
NDP MP Pat Martin told the Winnipeg Free Press that Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day sent the alert to border guards Thursday.
The church group, described in a British documentary as "the most hated family in America," told CTV.ca earlier Thursday that it planned to protest at the funeral of 22-year-old Tim Mclean on Saturday.
Martin said his office was flooded with phone calls Thursday with Winnipeg constituents angered by the group's plan.
"These people are almost as crazy as the murderer," he told the newspaper, referring to the church's intentions.
The daughter of the founder of the Westboro Baptist Church, based in Topeka, Ka., told CTV.ca she and several other church members will go to Winnipeg on Saturday to demonstrate against what she described as McLean's "filthy way of life." Shirley Phelps-Roper said his life was emblematic of Canada's moral decay.
"God handed us a gift," Phelps-Roper said in a phone interview on Thursday.
She said McLean deserved his death by beheading on a Greyhound Bus last week.
"(His death was) supremely unemotional. You got God shaking in rage. There is no emotional component ... He was a rebel against God. He was taught to be a rebel by his parents. He came from a rebel country ... They brought this wrath upon his head. And it sucks to be him and it sucks to be them," Phelps-Roper said.
She said his brutal murder was a sign from God.
"You gotta connect the dots, people ... from your idols to your filthy way of life," she said.
"Here's what I know. He is dead and God does not do that to people that serve in his truth."
Phelps-Roper described McLean -- who she had never met -- in an insulting, insensitive and graphic manner. Her crudest descriptions of the 22-year-old are not printed.
"I haven't met him personally, but he has nothing going on," she said dismissively.
"(His life) was all about him. Blah, blah, blah ... He was a rebel ... I don't need to know anything else ... I don't need to know the minutia. Everything you need to know is right there."
The Westboro Baptist church has gained notoriety in recent years for setting up protest pickets at the funerals of U.S. soldiers who died in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
Church members claim the deaths are part of God's wrath against Americans for turning their back on his teachings. They have repeatedly called the U.S. a "fag" nation, a phrase Phelps-Roper used repeatedly to describe Canada.
Phelps-Roper said she does not mind that her family is reviled by the majority of Americans. She claimed she rejoices when people say they despise and hate her family.
"I say, 'cha ching.' That goes in our bank. God gives us tokens of his love," she said.
Phelps-Roper said members of the Westboro Baptist Church, which numbers about "70 souls," is comprised mainly of a single extended family.
The group was supposed to protest a play held in a downtown Toronto bar that mocked their church's reviled views. "The Pastor Phelps Project" played at The Cameron House Thursday without incident, according to reports.
McLean was killed on July 30 after being stabbed repeatedly on a Greyhound bus by a complete stranger. He was then beheaded.
Vince Li, 40, has been charged with second-degree murder. A psychiatric evaluation has been ordered for Li.