Following Newt Gingrich's victory in the South Carolina primary, Timothy Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church spoke with me in an exclusive interview regarding gay marriage and, among other things, which candidate their church endorses in the 2012 presidential election.
Greetings, Timothy. Where are you picketing today?
I'm in Topeka today. We picket in Topeka every day, and on Sundays we go to all of these so-called churches in this town and remind them that they aren't preaching the truth. There were about 20 of us picketing today. We didn't have anything out of town scheduled today. I just finished a nice game of soccer.
Is the church in a soccer league?
Oh, no. Nothing like that. It's just a bunch of old guys on the field trying to reestablish their youth.
Are you a football fan? Your organization just made a series of statements regarding the death of Joe Paterno and plans to picket his funeral.
Reggie, here's the deal: all things in moderation. You can drink a little wine or beer, watch movies, enjoy music or sporting activities. Whatever you do, make sure that those activities aren't what your life is about when you should be serving the Lord with fidelity. Do you understand what they did there with Paterno? They made that guy an idol. They made that idiot Sandusky an idol. That's why they got by with that stuff for so long, because they're willing for him to do anything as long as he keeps winning games for them. It's the same problem that they have with that there Catholic Church. The problem is when men get to thinking they're more than just men and others begin to worship them.
You're upset about him being a false idol, not because of his involvement in circumstances surrounding child molestation and homosexual acts?
Idolatry is idolatry. It doesn't matter what the subject is. Joe Paterno made football the end-all of his existence and let everyone around him talk about him as though he was a god. He clearly concluded that he was a god. He had no business as a living human being letting them put up a stinking false idol of him. They put up a statue of him! What the hell? He must've thought anything he did was OK. But Joe Paterno now knows that there is a Creator and that Joe Paterno is subject to it.
What are your thoughts about Newt Gingrich winning the South Carolina primary?
He's a liar, thief, and adulterer... that's Newt Gingrich, the so-called "champion" of the conservative party.
So Newt doesn't have your vote for president. What about the other Christians who are running for the nomination?
These people claim to be Christian, New Gingrich and Mitt Romney and some of them others. They aren't pure followers of Jesus Christ. I wouldn't trust [any] of them with a handful of change to go get me some bubble gum. There's nothing of any value in [any] of those human beings. I would rather have Obama...
Really? Obama has stood in support of the LGBTQ community.
Compared to these people who claim to be Christian, I'd go with Obama.
But your organization has referred to Obama as the Antichrist.
And it is a prophecy of the Bible that he will lead this nation. The scripture tells you that we won't have anyone of genuine value have the least bit of interest in being a leader in this country, because it's so rotten.
Getting back to your organization's attitudes toward homosexuals, is it homosexuality that you take issue with, or sodomy? Are you upset with the idea of gays and lesbians getting married, or are you OK with the concept of civil unions?
If you take the words of Christ, and you look at it critically, and don't sarcastically mock it, and then you look at the world, you'll find that this nation and this world [have] degenerated faster in these last two generations than all those preceding have. We're at a dead sprint toward worldwide acceptance of homosexuals and same-sex marriage.
You think it's an inevitability that both of these will be accepted?
No question about it. It can't be any other way... there's no way things are going the other direction.
You see all of this as a part of a prophesy of Revelations. Then why is it that your organization takes the approach that you do? Carrying signs that say "God Hates Fags" at a gay pride parade, you clearly aren't trying to convert anybody.
Because we are told to preach. It's not because we think it will help. We preach the word. Not your version of the word of God. You do it in a way so that people hear the words. We put it on signs because in this generation, people hear a song and they say they know the song, but what they know is the beat, not the words to the song. Our duty is to get the word out there. When someone hears the message and they come running, it's a delightful thing to behold. It doesn't happen often. We're not advocating for big numbers. That's the beginning and the ending of it.
I think I'm still surprised by your sentiment that the social acceptance of homosexuality is inevitable.
In the days of Noah they were accepting and giving of marriage. It was the acceptance of homosexual marriage that triggered the Flood. They didn't use that term, but that is the concept. Men marrying men. Women marrying women. Humans marrying animals. How far do you think we are from that in this generation? My point to you is that the nation and the world are rotting beyond repair. This is what is said to occur before the Revelation of Jesus Christ and the return of our King occur.
When we discuss sexuality and sex, do you believe that the sin is sodomy, homosexual sex?
In Romans 1 it says if you are burning in your lust for another man, it is called "vile affection." If you as a man are neglecting the natural use of a woman, and lusting for another woman, it is considered a "vile affection." I don't care if you're kissing or having anal sex or any other thing you do. It's what's in your heart that matters.
Well, Timothy, you're married, so you're saying that it's all right for you to commit sodomy with your wife, but not for men to do so with other men?
T.M.I., Reggie. [Laughs.] But rhetorically speaking, the answer is yes.