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Phelps: Billy Graham A Gay Shill

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Phelps: Billy Graham A Gay Shill

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

June 9, 2006 - 9:00 pm ET

(Greensboro, North Carolina) When Southern Baptists meet next week in Greensboro, North Carolina for their annual convention they'll be met by a protest like they have never seen before - one accusing them of being too liberal - especially when it comes to gays.

The Southern Baptist Convention condemns homosexuality, denies gays the right to become pastors, and gives churches the right to refuse membership to gays. It also has been supportive of constitutional bans on same-sex marriage.

Nevertheless, the Rev. Fred Phelps and members of his Westboro Baptist Church from Topeka, Kansas are planning to picket the convention.

Phelps and his followers - mostly family members who have been described as a cult - are particularly angry that the denomination will honor the Rev. Billy Graham.

A statue to Graham will be unveiled at the convention, but Phelps calls the evangelist, who has ministered to presidents, a shill for gays.

"I told him we were going to picket his funeral when he dies, and he's not a well man," Phelps told the Greensboro News Record newspaper.

Graham has largely been silent on the issue of homosexuality. Last year, before he led his last crusade in New York City Graham was asked by the Associated Press about same-sex marriage.

"I don't give advice. I'm going to stay off these hot-button issues,'' was all he would say.

Phelps and his followers first gained national notoriety when they demonstrated at the funeral of Matthew Shepherd, a young gay man murdered in 1998. Since then they have protested at churches and schools the church says support gays.

Most recently Phelps had his church have demonstrated against homosexuality at the funerals of American soldiers killed in Iraq leading to a number of states banning demonstrations at funerals. Phelps claims the soldiers are being killed in retribution for America permitting homosexuality.

©365Gay.com 2006

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