Thursday, February 19, 2009                                                                                       View Comments

Phelps family banned from entering the UK

Fred Phelps
Fred Phelps has been banned from entering the UK along with his daughter

From BBC News:

A father and daughter from a US church which preaches hatred of homosexuals have been banned from entering the UK by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith.

Fred Phelps and his daughter Shirley Phelps-Roper from the Westboro Baptist Church had urged protests against a play being put on in Hampshire.

Queen Mary's College in Basingstoke is staging The Laramie Project, a play about a man killed for being gay.

The UK Border Agency said it opposed "extremism in all its forms".

A spokesman added: "Both these individuals have engaged in unacceptable behaviour by inciting hatred against a number of communities.

'Punished by God'

"The government has made it clear it opposes extremism in all its forms.

"We will continue to stop those who want to spread extremism, hatred and violent messages in our communities from coming to our country.

"The exclusions policy is targeted at all those who seek to stir up tension and provoke others to violence regardless of their origins and beliefs."

Members of the extreme anti-gay Westboro Baptist church picket the funeral of Lance Cpl Matthew Snyder in March 2006
The church's pickets of military funerals have outraged Americans

The Westboro church's website advertised the picket which was set to take place on Friday, proclaiming: "In merry old England they plan to further enrage the living God by putting on the farce known commonly as The Laramie Project.

"We will picket them, and see if they actually believe those lies they tell about how tolerant and accepting Brits are."

Hampshire Police said they were aware of the planned protest and officers were monitoring the situation.

The church was unavailable for comment on whether it expected UK-based members to carry out a protest at the college.

Members of the group - based in Topeka, Kansas - have denounced homosexuality for years and have in the past targeted the funerals of Aids victims.

In 2007, the church was told to pay $10.9m (£5.2m) after its members cheered a soldier's death as "punishment" for US tolerance of homosexuality.



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