Fred Phelps Denounced By Clergy Neighbors
[TOPEKA, KS] - Forty-two members of the clergy from 13 religious traditions across Topeka met Thursday to opposed hate in the city made in famous by Fred Phelps.
Phelps who runs the God Hates Fags website out of his Westboro Baptist Church sends followers across the country denouncing gays. Phelps protestors demonstrated at the funeral of Matthew Shepard and regularly picket gay friendly churches and businesses.
The group of pastors, ministers, priests, and rabbis signed the public statement encouraging the city to discuss differences and diversity among its citizens.
"We advocate the enactment of public policies that uphold the human rights of all persons," the statement read. "We oppose the discrimination of persons on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression,"
The Rev. Kathryn Timpany, of Central Congregational Church, said she hopes the Topeka City Council is listening.
In September, the city council approved an anti-hate crimes ordinance that included sexual orientation but hours later turned it aside.
"I think we need a non-discrimination ordinance in this town because of the amount of oppression, unfairness and injustice that is visited upon gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgendered people," she said.
The Rev. Michael Jamison, of Unity Church of Christianity, urged Topekans to take a stand.
"It's not easy to take a stand," he said. "It's so much more pleasant to just remain in your comfort zone, but I urge you to ask yourself, why are you on the planet unless it is to take a stand for what is right?"