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. Tom

    Would some please wipe Phelps and his followers off the face of the earth? Now! Please.

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

      This comment makes you no better than any of them.

      June 22, 2011 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Sheldon N.

    I don't think that Phelps or WBC understands the kind of people they'll be dealing with this time. I think that this time they'll have bitten off more than they can chew, and all I can say is, it's about time and I hope the WBC gets what they deserve.

    June 22, 2011 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sheila

      I couldnt agree more Sheldon, and I hope your right. Im tired of these idiots. I hope the rest of the gang hands them their a**es!!!!

      June 22, 2011 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Sheila

    These people that follow Fred Phelps are moronic idiots. This family has experienced a very painful loss, no matter what the cause. LEAVE THEM ALONE TO GRIEVE!!!! What is wrong with people?? Everybody makes mistakes, and sometimes the outcome isnt good. I only hope that his death helps young kids see what can happen if you drink and drive. Rest in Peace Ryan. Thanks for the laughs.

    June 22, 2011 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Biggie

    What happened to the days of assasination? I mean I don't condone what happened to Martin Luther King or JFK, but I believe I would have no problem turning a blind eye if something like that was to happen to all of the WBC memebers.

    June 22, 2011 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Vash

      Turn a blind eye?!?! Hell I'd dance a jig!

      June 22, 2011 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Vash

    I'm no genius but I'm sure our fore fathers never intended for protest of funerals to be part of "free speech" besides ten protesting anyone else's lifestyle infringes on their rights as well so why are these people still aloud to thrive? I mean Ryan Dunn was probably the most decent of those guys, what could possibly merit this? I don't remember him being openly gay or anti religious. Wasn't the rapture supposed to take care of this phelps d'bag anyways?

    June 22, 2011 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
  6. fierybuddha


    June 22, 2011 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
  7. John

    These people have no lives?

    June 22, 2011 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Rob

    Why hasn't the government designated them as a hate group yet?

    June 22, 2011 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |
  9. TSR

    Mr. Reverand? Um, Sir, if anyone belongs in hell, it's you!! You show nothing of what God represents. Promoting hate, murder, chaos. I'm sure their is a nice cozy spot just for you sir.

    June 22, 2011 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
  10. @iamrightyouarewrong

    Are you a member of the Phelps family?

    June 22, 2011 at 8:56 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Andy

    Westboro Christian Church simply stated makes Christians look like idiots. Followers of Christ should know that Jesus was accepting of the "lowly"...

    June 22, 2011 at 8:56 pm | Report abuse |
  12. that which devides us

    i have been reminded that religions seem to fight each other. alot. why cant religions of the same origin band together and stop fighting each other but those who mock us? jews muslims and christians all have a book in common. torah. old testament. i say we together fight those who mock religion itself.

    June 22, 2011 at 8:56 pm | Report abuse |
  13. CommonSense

    Why does CNN even report this?? If these idiots stopped getting all this publicity they would stop. They crave this press coverage. Please stop giving it to this bunch of whackjobs.

    June 22, 2011 at 8:56 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Danthemfman!

    Hahahaha Dunn would probably laugh his ass off if he knew his funeral was being protested! Protest away nut jobs!

    June 22, 2011 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
  15. stewie

    How funny, I just watched Deliverance the other day and now here's the inbred family from that movie making news.

    June 22, 2011 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
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