The WBC, for those who don't know, is the small Topeka, Kansas-based "Old School (or Primitive) Baptist Church" probably best known of late for picketing military funerals. I'll explain in more detail in a later post (but need to pack and ride from Parkville, MO, to Salem, AR, today, so this needs to be brief).
The pickets were part of a thread recently on a (loosely) miltary-themed page I follow, and another of the followers, who had already offered me a roof and pillow while in the Kansas City neighborhood, mentioned the church's proximity to where I would be. On checking that services were open to the public, I decided to attend one, wanting to get a feel for the members, and then to try and speak with them.
On Sunday, my host drove me to Topeka, where we encountered a locked door at the church, and no response to the doorbell or intercom. We returned to Missouri, I e-mailed the WBC contact and had a response later that evening that included the following:
In a decision that has already upset at least one person I know, I took the WBC up on their offer and yesterday, the 4th of July, rode to Topeka and spent an hour-plus with Fred Phelps Jr., the eldest son of Westboro Baptist Church founder and pastor Fred Phelps, and another son, Jon. I recorded our conversation, with their permission, but need some time to listen, transcribe, consider and e-mail further questions (to them and others) before being ready to write about that. I'll do a backgrounder on both WBC and the PGR before that.
For today, I need to ride.