Marty Duren’s Plea against Westboro Baptist Church

I received a request not to call the “Westboro Baptist Church” a church but to call them “Westboro cult”.

I find it strange that the cult-leader could be already dead for 6 months and wonder then who was in charge of that group and why they did not go and meet their guru earlier.

Counter protesters to the Westboro Baptist Chu...

Counter protesters to the Westboro Baptist Church demonstration at the United Nations headquarters in New York City, on the day of Pope Benedict’s address to the UN General Assembly. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

People were not receptive to Phelps and his “church” and he was eventually deemed the “most hated man in America.”

I am pleased that I can place the writing of Marty Duren, a disillusioned person here on this website. You can find his original plea to all media outlets on his site mitsilancer.


To All Media Outlets, Reporters, Writers and Editors:

the westboro cult protestors

Protestor from the Westboro Cult outside the Capitol in 2006.

It is abundantly clear to most Americans that the “Westboro Baptist Church” is neither “Baptist” nor a “church” according to any commonly accepted meaning of either word. As a Christ follower, and a long time church attender, I enter this plea to stop using the phrase “Westboro Baptist Church” in favor of the more accurate “the Westboro cult.”

The journalistic profession has turned out a small number of plagiarists whose words were stolen from the creativity and hard work of others then passed off as their own. Yet, though some among your number bring a pall on the word “journalist,” I do not refer to each of you as “cheats,” “word thieves” or “plagiarists.” It would be inaccurate to label you thusly because of a few whose actions obviously do not represent the whole. But in the mass media we see, with alarming near-universality, a refusal to call the wackos from Westboro anything except a “Baptist church” or a “church.”

Please begin referring to all family and followers of Fred Phelps as “the Westboro Cult,” for that is exactly what they are. A search last Friday, August 3, 2012, on–the news search, not the web search–of the phrase “Westboro Baptist Church” returned thousands of stories from news outlets. An immediate follow up search of “Westboro cult” returned four (4) results, all of which appeared to be people making comments on news stories. The most consistent users of the phrase “Westboro cult” appear to be a few conservative bloggers.

Westboro “Baptist Church” is not affiliated with any known Baptist conventions, associations, or denominations. It stands proudly independent, with little desire for “friendly cooperation.”

The overwhelming majority of churches in the United States do not fit these popular definitions of a cult regardless of how hard one stretched the description. But Westboro does. This is the definition from Wikipedia:

The word cult in current popular usage usually refers to a new religious movement or other group whose beliefs or practices are considered abnormal or bizarre. The word originally denoted a system of ritual practices.

Or what about this definition of cult from BING:

1. religion: a system of religious or spiritual beliefs, especially an informal and transient belief system regarded by others as misguided, unorthodox, extremist, or false, and directed by a charismatic, authoritarian leader 2. religious group: a group of people who share religious or spiritual beliefs, especially beliefs regarded by others as misguided, unorthodox, extremist, or false. [Emphasis in all cases mine.]

Even a general religious definition used at, defines “cult” as

a group claiming to be Christian [yet] teaches significantly different things from what the Bible teaches.

A brief glance at Westboro’s website ( reveals they place even their picketing schedule above what they “believe.” The listed “Sister Sites” are filled with hatred. The Westboro cult is interested in attention and free publicity.

You will find no Christian leaders in America or the world, no ordinary church attender, and precious few non-Christians or atheists who consider the actions of Phelps’ group to be representative of orthodox, normal, true, or customary Christianity. Few would consider them to be a legitimate expression of a “church,” properly understood.

Simply stated, Fred Phelps and his Topeka followers are a cult, and should always be designated as “the Westboro cult.” They should never be called a “church,” nor should they be called “Baptist,” and it is grossly inaccurate, as well as offensive to millions of Americans, to continue to do so.

Sincerely, Marty Duren


Previously: The Most Hated Family in America

Announcing picketing upcoming funeral

Leider van meest gehate familie sterft


Please do read more:

WBC Mainwebsite: God hates fags

Fred Phelps’ Death Prompts Westboro Baptist Church To Protest His Funeral

Extremism in America: Westboro Baptist Church

Stop taking the Westboro Baptist Church so seriously…they don’t.
The Westboro Baptist Church has long been synonymous with every form of evil, malice, and disdain that we can possibly come up with.  It is so bad, in fact, that even the Klu Klux Klan thinks that they go too far.  This probably has to do with the fact that they often stage protests in which they declare that God hates just about everybody (except them), especially the gay community.


  • Brainwashed by the Westboro Baptist Church (
    VICE followed the story of the Westboro Baptist Church as families split and children were brainwashed into picketing funerals and bashing homosexuals.
  • Ever-Offensive Westboro Baptist Church Praises Sikh Shooting (
    Almost immediately after the shooting at the Sikh Temple in Wisconsin, leaders of the Westboro Baptist Church took to Twitter, calling the shooting a beautiful punishment from an angry God.
  • The Westboro Baptist Church Is Headed to Aurora (
    Members of Fred Phelps’s horrible Westboro Baptist Church – known for picketing everything from Matthew Shepard’s funeral to Fashion Week – will be in Aurora to disrupt a 6:30 memorial for the 12 people killed in Friday’s shooting.
  • Occupy activists clash with Westboro Baptist church protestors outside the Republican convention (
    While delegates and newsmakers more or less took the day off while waiting for Issac (and waiting out tornado warnings in the area), the March on the RNC went forward as initially planned.
  • The Westboro Baptist Church Has Made Predictably Horrifying Comments About The Sikh Temple Shooting (
    The Westboro Baptist Church, best known for picketing military funerals, has released a flurry of tweets about today’s tragic shooting at a Wisconsin-area Sikh temple.
    The tweets, first brought to our attention by Huffington Post, include the hashtag #godsenttheshooter.
  • Westboro Baptist Church Threatens To ‘Super Picket’ Aurora Prayer Vigil For Batman Shooting Victims (
    Members of the Westboro Baptist Church appear to be on their way to protest a prayer vigil for victims of the Aurora massacre , according to tweets from members posted by .
    Using the hashtag #ThankGodForTheShooter, reports members tweeted out their plans to “super picket” the candle lit prayer service, saying “God is at…
  • Westboro Baptist Church Protest: Sabotaged By Zombies! (
    In awesome news, a Westboro Baptist Church protest was overshadowed Friday as a horde of “zombies” arrived to counter the radical group’s efforts.
    Demonstrators dressed as the undead swarmed a DuPont, Wash. military base that the infamous Kansas-based church was in the process of picketing.
  • Westboro Baptist Church to Picket Sage Stallone Funeral (
    The funeral of actor and director Sage Stallone will be picketed by members of the Westboro Baptist Church because his father, Sylvester Stallone, was an ‘adulterous dad.’ It was announced over the weekend that Sage, 36, was found dead in his home on July 13. Not long after the announcement, Margie Phelps, the daughter of Fred Phelps, the leader…
  • Westboro Baptist Church praises Sikh temple shooting (
    Almost immediately after the shooting at the Sikh Temple in Wisconsin, leaders of the Westboro Baptist Church took to Twitter, calling the shooting a beautiful punishment from an angry God.
  • California Gov. Brown signs bill banning protests near funerals (
    California Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation Monday which makes it a crime to protest a funeral unless the protesters are at least 300 feet (91 meters) away, the governor’s office said. The bill is mainly in response to controversial demonstrations by the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church.

About Marcus Ampe

Retired dancer, choreographer, choreologist Founder of the Dance impresario office and archive: Danscontact-Dansarchief plus the Association for Bible scholars, the Lifestyle magazines "Stepping Toes" and "From Guestwriters" and creator of the site "Messiah for all". - Gepensioneerd danser, choreograaf, choreoloog. Stichter van Danscontact-Dansarchief plus van de Vereniging voor Bijbelvorsers, de Lifestyle magazines "Stepping Toes" en "From Guestwriters" en maker van de site "Messiah for all".
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4 Responses to Marty Duren’s Plea against Westboro Baptist Church

  1. Pingback: Breaking up with a cult « Christadelphians : Belgian Ecclesia Brussel – Leuven

  2. Personally, I believe all religions are cults. Some have simply been around longer than others and thus have a larger membership.


  3. marcusampe says:


    mitsilancer mentioned in my post is not Marty Duren. He apologizes for the confusion. He now has edited the post to state that mitsilancer is not Marty Duren. He posted the article on his blog because at the end of the article it was stated by Marty Duren to share if you are a blogger.

    He agrees that the Westboro Baptist church is a cult and he thought it was a good article.

    The original “A plea to all media outlets re: ‘the Westboro cult’” can be found on the website by Marty Duren which is called” Kingdom in the Midst” and was launched in November 2009.

    According to him, Marty Duren, is a Christ follower, husband, father, writer, social media strategist and general provocateur, who has been more than 20 years in the active pastorate, and is living in Hermitage, TN, just east of Nashville.

    Also according him the American believers have created a sub-culture with its own language, customs and secret handshakes leaving too much of the conversation in the wider culture non-biblical influence.

    He calls Todd Littleton, Alan Cross and Joel Rainey his friends.

    He was raised in a gun owning family. Much of his extended family does or has owned guns. And strangely enough as somebody who says to follow Christ and to be active in pastorate he regrets not having more time and money to devote to shooting.

    Joel Rainey also has more than one gun and he finds that earth is filled with sin. Alan Cross may be correct that “violent hearts” are many, especially in the United States. “He is correct that it is these violent hearts that cause much of the anguish we see on the news each night. As a Christ-follower, I stand with him in wanting to see an end to this.” says Rainy. “I just happen to believe he is mistaken to think that the way to end criminal violence is to take away the ability of law-abiding citizens to defend themselves and those whose safety and well-being they are responsible for.”

    I tell you this first because this also gives an idea of the way of thinking of Marty Duren. when looking at some of his articles I do find a certain aggressiveness which I do not like at all. Sometimes I encounter words which I do find curious for a person who is in Christ already for so many years (as he says).

    I presume that he also thinks that force can be justified, especially if employed to defend the weak. “If injustice is being suffered by the weak and helpless, that is a different matter, and in such a scenario, it behooves us to remember that the same Lord who commanded us to “turn the other cheek” also turned over tables in the temple, cracked a whip and physically drove thieves out of God’s house!” says Rainey? For him “If violence is always inherently wrong, then you and I are worshipping an imperfect Saviour.”

    Growing older issues of justice and injustice occupy more of Duren’s thoughts. For him “Justice, so often limited to a single topic in the conservative Christian mindset, is now in full view all around me. With increasing regularity legal actions, political agendas, or economic policies present themselves to these eyes framed not in the politic of left vs right, nor the antagonistic vitriol of conservative vs liberal, but whether biblically just or unjust.”

    Nate Phelps

    Former Westboro cult member, Nate Phelps

    He talks about Nate Phelps, the 6th of 13 of Fred Phelps‘ kids, who was physically and emotionaly abused for many years. The first three nights after he ran away from his family, slept in the bathroom of a gas station near the high school he attended (Topeka West). He says the religious beliefs gave his father a forum and permission to be cruel to the world. It is this cruelty that seems to authorise Duren to take on the battle against that group of people he considers not a church but a cult.

    Nate Phelps was 18 when he made a daring escape from the Westboro Baptist Church.

    David Silverberg writes:

    He’s been ostracized by his family ever since, not a surprise to those who follow Westboro’s hateful protests at military funerals, football games and even the Oscars. The 50-person Church membership believes in the extreme ideology that not only homosexuals are deviant sinners, but also musicians, athletes, soldiers and many more. Nate couldn’t handle living under Pastor Phelps’ beliefs, so he did what some teens want to do but rarely end up doing: he ran away from home. And never came back.

    For Duren the world need accuracy and therefore can not call that Westboro “bunch of people” a church.

    “For many years Christ followers have equated cults with belief systems aberrant from orthodox Christianity. Christian Science, Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses (aka The Watchtower), Armstrongism, and the Unification Church are such groups.
    However, Tal Davis, cult and sect expert, provides a framework clearly allowing for the inclusion of the Westboro as a cult.
    The Apologetics Index classifies them in just that way. Davis argues that cults (or “sects”) 1) claim to be biblically based, 2) deny or redefine one or more Christian doctrines, 3) have “official” adherence to Christian doctrine while having other cultic tendencies, 4) claim to have divinely inspired leaders, 5) usually claim to have other scriptures or supplements to the Bible, and 6) claim to be the one true, or most true, church.
    Only the fifth one is not clearly held by the Westboro cult. Their strict adherence to Fred Phelps’ warped interpretations, however, are held in nearly as high esteem as the Bible.”

    About that Bible I do have my questions that they ever really take some time for reading it properly. Everything what I got to see from them was shouting quotes in service and meetings, but never a moment of togetherness, taking time to read a chapter or more than one paragraph of the Holy Scriptures.

    I myself naturally do agree that we do have a cult here. Clearly there is the high degree of authoritarian control over members. According to sayings “When his children were small, Phelps used the physical abuse of his kids to exercise control. Now the constant condemnation of others fulfills the role of authoritarian control.”

    As in many cults we can find insider/outsider mindset, through the use of mind-control techniques and making people afraid for certain things. They are so much made afraid of hell and are told to make others also aware of the bad things which would go to happen in that hell when they do not listen.

    The funny thing is that they believe virtually ever person is going to hell. Beginning at the earliest ages they teach their children about “fag soldiers,” “fag enablers,” “fag nation,” “Jews who love the rectum,” and more. Everything is taken out of proportion and there seems not to be any form of reality.

    In the documentaries we could see Phelps sitting laughing at the others, infantilization and shaming of members to obviate critical thinking. Ill-informed ideas reinforced by a damaged old man.

    For Duren the world closes its eyes and he reacts the same way as many of those kids have learned for many years, using awful words and accusing others of doing all sorts of wrong things.

    Though Duren recriminates the journalistic profession to have turned out a small number of plagiarists whose words were stolen from the creativity and hard work of others then passed off as their own, he himself places texts that we even can not be sure of it are his own or the ones from some one else. He also places the BBC videos on his websites. Ass such he does the same as what he accuses the bloggers doing.

    “Yet, though some among your number bring a pall on the word “journalist,” I do not refer to each of you as “cheats,” “word thieves” or “plagiarists.” It would be inaccurate to label you thusly because of a few whose actions obviously do not represent the whole. But in the mass media we see, with alarming near-universality, a refusal to call the wackos from Westboro anything except a “Baptist church” or a “church.””

    Please do take note of these additional sayings.


    Also do find:

    God and Guns: Do they Go Together?

    A plea to all media outlets re: ‘the Westboro cult’

    The follow up: “Is Westboro “Baptist Church” a cult? Yes, it is.

    ‘The Most Hated Family In America,’ documentary on the Westboro cult [VIDEO]

    Fall from Grace Poster

    Fall from Grace

    The first feature-length documentary to explore the hate-filled world of Rev. Fred Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, KS.

    Featuring interviews with Rev. Phelps, other members of the the Westboro Baptist Church, many of its dissenters, opposers and two members that left the church and their family behind.

    Director: K. Ryan Jones; Writer: K. Ryan Jones


    • Son of a Bigot (
      Nate Phelps is the sixth of Fred’s 13 children, and he has the scars to show for it. He describes his father as verbally and physically abusive.
      Now in his 50s, Nate finds himself publicly squaring off with his father and siblings to reverse their legacy of intolerance. He lives in Calgary, where he has become a public speaker who champions LGBT rights and raises awareness about the connection between extreme religion and child abuse. He is currently writing a book about his life and is the subject of an upcoming documentary.


  4. Pingback: Why I’m Here – Some View on the World

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