Our old friends at the Westboro Baptist Church—you know, the "God Hates Fags" guys—briefly expanded their gross little empire! To the FBI, of all things, where church big-shot Tim Phelps was invited to address agents several times "as part of the bureau's counterterrorism training program." Hmm.
To be clear, Phelps was not teaching agents about how God hates soldiers, and fags, and Sweden, and all the other things. Instead, he seems to have been invited—according to the FBI—"so police officers and agents could see extremists up close and understand what makes them tick." (Phelps says he was invited to give lessons on "how to stay measured when they are speaking with a witness or a suspect with whom they have a strong, visceral disagreement.")
Once the "top brass" at the FBI got wind of the classes, Phelps' invitation was cancelled. From what Phelps says, it doesn't sound like it was a particularly helpful program:
Phelps said the sessions were contentious. "Some of the students in the class take the gloves off and basically push the envelope about, 'what will happen when the day comes that your so-called leader tells you to use violence,' " Phelps said. "Our leader won't tell us to do anything except what is written in scripture. We don't have a leader like what they want to believe we have. ... We have a preacher."
Oh well! We're sure Phelps has got a busy schedule coming up anyway, what with all the soldiers' funerals to protest.
[NPR; image via AP]