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State of the Debate
George Pyle
George Pyle has been a newspaper writer in Kansas, Utah, Upstate New York, and now Utah again, for more than 30 years - most of it as an editorial writer and columnist. Now on his second tour of duty on The Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board, he has also done a stretch as a talk radio host, published a book on the ongoing flaws of U.S.agricultural policy and, in 1998, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing. His most active bookmarks are Andrew Sullivan, Christopher Hitchens and Tina Brown. And he still thinks the Internet can be used for intelligent conversation and uplifting ideas.

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FILE - In this July 1, 2007 file phtoo, the Rev. Fred Phelps Sr. prepares to protest outside the Kansas Statehouse in Topeka, Kan. Phelps, the founder of the Kansas church known for anti-gay protests and pickets at military funerals, died Thursday, March 20, 2014. He was 84. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner, File)
Extension of Remarks: The End of Fred Phelps ...

Pastor (self-conferred) Fred Phelps, leader of a small but virulent band of anti-gay and, later, anti-American propagandists and demonstrators died early in the morning of the first day of Spring.

Phelps allowed to rant, and lost the battle — George Pyle | The Salt Lake Tribune

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" ... I had mentioned to the reporter who was going to be covering the Phelps barnstorming that I wished he would give us that sign. Fearless journalist that she was, she actually asked him. Savvy media hound that Phelps was, he actually gave it to her.

"But not before he, like a proud author autographing a book, added a hand-written dedication: ‘To a fellow supporter of the First Amendment. - Fred’

"Dirty SOB. He had me there. ..."

We have Phelps to thank — Salina Journal Editorial

" ... Much as some law enforcement in the Deep South during the civil rights protests helped turn people against racism with their fire hoses, billy clubs and dogs, Phelps and his church helped show the true, hateful nature of homophobia.

"Fred Phelps helped make it uncool to hate gays."

A few words from the man upstairs for Fred Phelps — Steve Paul | The Kansas City Star

" ... God: Perhaps you didn’t hear me. I thought I was being clear. Your kind is unwelcome here. How dare you pretend to speak for me or as me or in my name. In any of my billion names. ..."

Fred Phelps was the best argument against his cause — Mary Sanchez |The Kansas City Star

"Fred Phelps once told me, ‘I’m the best friend that homosexuals have.’

In a way, he had a point. Although it is only now, almost 21 years later to the day and with the news of Phelps’ death all over the Internet, that I’d concede it. ..."

For Antigay Church, Losing Its Cause Before Its Founder — Michael Paulson | The New York Times

" ... The church’s impact in the 23 years it has been picketing is the subject of considerable debate. It failed to slow the support for gay rights, and some argue that it hastened that movement by making opposition to it look hateful and ugly. Mark R. Silk, a professor of religion in public life at Trinity College in Hartford, argued in a blog post that Fred Phelps ‘made religious hostility to homosexuality repulsive.’..."

Topeka is more than one man and his message — Topeka Capitol-Journal Editorial

" ... an era has ended with Phelps’ death, and Topekans have reason to hope others come to know the community for some of its better qualities...."

Westboro Baptist met by counter-protesters with ‘Sorry for your loss’ sign at Lorde concert — The Raw Story



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