Westboro Baptist Church plans to protest Dunn's funeral
"Jackass" star Ryan Dunn, 34, famous for his pranks and dangerous stunts, died in a car wreck in Pennsylvania on Monday.
June 22nd, 2011
05:40 PM ET

Westboro Baptist Church plans to protest Dunn's funeral

A controversial church in Topeka, Kansas, plans to send parishioners to Pennsylvania to protest the funeral of “Jackass” star Ryan Dunn, the congregation announced in a press release.

Westboro Baptist Church "will picket any public memorial/funeral held for Dunn, warning all not to make a mock of sin, & to fear and obey God!” the release said.

Westboro was started by the Rev. Fred Phelps in 1955. The church's parishioners, made up mostly of Phelps relatives, stage protests with signs that say such things as "God Hates Fags" and "Thank God for dead soldiers."

The funeral director for DellaVecchia, Reilly, Smith & Boyd Funeral Home in West Chester said Wednesday afternoon that a family-only private memorial for Dunn was in progress - and there was no problem.

Because it was a private memorial, Joseph DellaVecchia said, he didn't expect any disturbances, although he'd heard of Westboro's plans.

“We can’t stop someone from coming to a public funeral, but this is private, and the police have everything under control,” DellaVecchia said.

A public funeral is planned for later in the week.

“Our department recognizes that we have an ethical and legal imperative to uphold civil rights of those who choose to lawfully assemble to protest but also of family members mourning at a funeral," West Chester Police Chief Scott Bohn said Wednesday.

Dunn was drunk and driving up to 140 mph when his 2007 Porsche 911 GT3 crashed and caught fire on a Pennsylvania highway Monday, police said Wednesday.

The red-bearded Dunn, 34, was famous for his pranks and dangerous stunts on the MTV show, which evolved into a successful film franchise.

Westboro protesters, known for picketing the funerals of U.S. soldiers, have recently been met with counter-protesters at funerals across the nation.

At Arlington National Cemetery in Washington last month, counter-protesters, some claiming to be from the Ku Klux Klan, squared off against Westboro Baptist members.

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Filed under: Pennsylvania • Protest • U.S.
soundoff (798 Responses)
  1. Saiorse

    The Westboro Baptist "church" isn't into what God wants, they are simply being lead by a bulley looking for attention and enjoying his "power" over his membership and the media. All we can do is face the bullies down wherever we find them and let them know we know their secret,..... they are scared little cowards who fear us.

    June 22, 2011 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
  2. jimzcarz

    The WBC needs today's version (harmless) of Taring and Feathering. What an abomination in the face of God.
    How effin Dare you call yourself a Christian. You and your flock are nothing but worthless parasites.The Bible warns us of people like you and your false prophets
    You hypocritical, sanctimonious, Backwardsassedcountryfvcks.

    June 22, 2011 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
  3. leeintulsa

    @the middle: all christians are nuts in their own way. Most are proud of it...

    June 22, 2011 at 8:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • mw-maryland

      You said it! And hypocrits as well!

      June 22, 2011 at 8:46 pm | Report abuse |
  4. GDBnNH

    Even the Ku Klux Klan is against these people! Do they have any allies?

    June 22, 2011 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
  5. commonsense

    Dear wbc, it is your right to protest but come one protesting funerals is wrong. I'm sorry but you should show some respect for the families of the people who have died you would expect the same if it was your funeral!

    June 22, 2011 at 8:40 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Brit

    Hopefully they all get physically injured-people are violent during mourning- i would beat their faces in if i saw them

    June 22, 2011 at 8:40 pm | Report abuse |
  7. kasiola2003

    Westboro Baptist is making a mockery of God and what he stands for with these burial visits. I agree with Saiorse.

    June 22, 2011 at 8:40 pm | Report abuse |
  8. S Danziger

    Please stop doing PR for these people. Everytime you publish what one of their crazy protests you are doing exactly what they want. They are not a church in any true sense of the word. They are a cult with a tax exempt status. I do not understand why CNN or any other media outlet continues to advertise these horrible crazy protests.

    June 22, 2011 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Rooster Cogburn

    God hates phelps and his physco followers...

    June 22, 2011 at 8:43 pm | Report abuse |
  10. chezhozay

    I sincerely pray someone kicks Phelps' b u t t @ this funeral . ANY of the Phelps' would be satisfactory.
    Westboro is one church full of J A C K _ A S S E S....

    June 22, 2011 at 8:43 pm | Report abuse |
  11. ENOUGH

    For Heaven's sake, PLEASE stop giving these malignant morons media attention. Their so-called "press releases" should be distributed for use in wiping derrieres.

    June 22, 2011 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
  12. moutocs

    Yet another example of the hypocracy of christianity.

    June 22, 2011 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • leeintulsa

      Lol moutocs. Lot's of judging going on

      June 22, 2011 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kristie

      These people are not true christians if you knew what a christian was about. Christianity is about love and acceptance. Only God can judge us. We as humans should not judge each other or put blame on others.

      June 22, 2011 at 8:53 pm | Report abuse |
  13. J Galbreath

    Do you think that any one of Ryan Dunn's friends will stand for these guys protesting outside of his funeral?

    Warning to anyone that protests. Prepare to get your ass handed to you in the middle of the road. These guys are not afraid of going to jail for kicking some disrespectful little mans rear-end... The cops will eventually save you (ironically), but you will be leaving your little protest with a broken nose or arm... Have fun!

    June 22, 2011 at 8:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kwitcherbellyakin

      Sorry to inform you, the old man Fred rarely shows up for these events. He sends mostly the women (daughters, granddaughters) and children (young boys). The hype for WBC is a shame, but isn't it enlightening to learn (if you didn't know already) this hateful group is free to flourish in our country? I first heard of them protesting the funeral of Bill Clinton's mother right before he got sworn in. I have faced off with them in Boulder CO personally (with a bull horn) reciting Bible verses of love and hey dispersed early. RIP Ryan & Zak. God Bless, Peace Out

      June 23, 2011 at 12:27 am | Report abuse |
  14. Laurel

    As a Christian, I find what this self righteous church stands for appalling and embarrassing to the name of Jesus. Going to picket the funeral of the tragic death of a young man is NOT what Jesus would do. "Let the person among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her." John 8:7

    Westboro Bapstist Church you are giving us Christians a bad name.

    June 22, 2011 at 8:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      Amen Laurel!!

      June 22, 2011 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
  15. pooflingingmonkey

    Shame on CNN for continuing to report on these idiots. This is exactly what these deranged people want..

    June 22, 2011 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
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