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Following Tuesday's Supreme Court hearing of Snyder v. Phelps -- a case in which the father of a deceased soldier is suing the founder and members of Westboro Baptist Church for protesting his son's funeral -- Margie Phelps, daughter of church founder Fred Phelps, addressed the press.
Margie Phelps represented Westboro in front of the nine Supreme Court justices, displaying a mostly flat affect and decent command of the legal issues surrounding the case. But when she stepped in front of the microphones following the proceeding, Phelps switched on the more dogmatic and combative temperament that she and her church members are known for, even treating the mass of reporters to several lines of a variation on Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train."
What follows are excerpts from her address:
"I think the church of the Lord Jesus Christ got to stand in the highest court of the world and say that soldiers are dying for your sins and we're committed to the proposition that Americans can say that and not be penalized."
"The rule of law in America -- and the fourth estate above everyone ought to appreciate this and you ought to all be thanking us for that heavy lifting we just did in there -- the rule of law is, the mere fact that you take offense at words, or call yourself having your feelings hurt over words, is not enough to shut up the speech. Now, you provocateurs of the fourth estate needed that protection more than we did."
"Look, you all know that people put obituaries in the newspaper with the date, time, and location of funerals because they want the public to come and bow down to that dead body. Now you don't get to do that -- as they say, have your cake and eat it too -- without people answering when you go into the public airwaves."
"Note to all -- when you have a private funeral, we will not be there. When you have a public funeral and you broadcast to the nation that that dead soldier is a hero and that God is blessing America, we will be there and tell you, God is cursing America. It is a curse for your young men and women to be coming home in body bags. And if you want that to stop, stop sinning."
"Look at you all right here. We don't have to follow anybody. You follow us. We did not know any -- we don't know these families. We know this nation, whose destruction is imminent, has brought wrath from God. You have dead children coming home from that war. You have dead children. God's promise to you is that if you would obey him, you would not need a standing army."
"No, it's not only the soldiers dying. God is bringing the trauma. He's opened up his armory, and there's no limit to the ways he can bring you trauma.... Everybody who dies, God kills. He holds the breath of life in his hands, and that's what this rebellious nation is mad about, I think. You don't want to say there's a sovereign God with the breath of life in his hands. Mark it down: Every death is in God's hands, and he's just getting warmed up.
(Margie Phelps is joined by her sister Shirley Phelps-Roper in song.)
Cryin' about your feelings / For your sin, no shame / You're going straight to hell on a crazy train.