Border guards told to stop U.S. church fanatics
WINNIPEG — Canadian border guards have been told to bar members of a fanatical American church from entering the country after they announced plans to protest at the funeral of the man decapitated on a Greyhound bus, says a Winnipeg MP.
Westboro Baptist Church, a Kansas-based fundamentalist sect, said the protest is to let Canadians know that the slaying of Tim McLean on July 30 was God’s response to Canadian policies enabling abortion, homosexuality and adultery.
NDP MP Pat Martin said his office was flooded with phone calls Thursday from Winnipeggers offended by the group’s plan.
“These people (the WBC) are almost as crazy as the murderer,” he said, referring to the protesters’ intentions.
“If they are here to disrupt the social order, that constitutes grounds to deny them entry. There is no redeeming virtue in the message they are bringing.”
Martin said Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day’s office sent an alert to border patrol to “look out” for people with signs and pamphlets that fit the hateful messages that the church promotes and to keep them out of the country.
Shirley Phelps-Roper, daughter of church’s founder, Fred Phelps, said a small group of protesters was stopped at the Canada-U.S. border Thursday afternoon.
“They won’t let us in, but we have a group that will cross in another spot,” she said. “They’ll have to strip search everyone who crosses that border or they won’t know who we are. They’ll have to see the WBC (Westboro Baptist Church) tattoo on our butts.”
The Westboro group has been branded as a hate group and is known for protesting the funerals of American soldiers.
The group failed to show Thursday night for a scheduled protest of the opening night of Toronto playwright Alistair Newton’s “The Pastor Phelps Project: a fundamentalist cabaret” which satirizes their leader’s fervent anti-gay stance.