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. Irena

    They're not anything more than a cult hate group. They've held up signs saying "Thank God for 9/11", celebrated the death of US soldiers, desecrated the American flag, prayed for more earthquakes to kill more Chinese..then they bring their putrid cult to protest at funerals... that's just the tip of the iceberg. There should be a cage surrounding that "church" – just a bunch of animals. I don't think they even remember why they hate in the first place.

    June 22, 2011 at 8:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • jp

      Don't insult animals. This "church" is actually a collection of inbred monsters.

      June 22, 2011 at 9:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • michelle

      these ppl need to b stopped they have no right to b pulling this crap! r.i.p random hero!

      June 22, 2011 at 9:12 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Paintball

    If I were part of the funeral I would shoot WBC folks with a paintball gun. What jerks. Yet people grieve. I hope people protest their funerals. With signs that say, god hates people who make sings that say HATE.

    June 22, 2011 at 8:59 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Terence

    Looking into my Crystal Ball,.... free for all melee. Going to be massive.

    June 22, 2011 at 9:01 pm | Report abuse |
  4. kane

    If Westboro Baptist Church has the right to pickett then I think you should respect and honor their right. The military fights for their right to protest too.

    June 22, 2011 at 9:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • proudmilitary

      i'm in the military, just got back from my deployment and I'm ashamed that those are the people in the country I'm fighting for. I refuse to acknowledge that I fight for a bunch of ignorant disgraceful people who are ashamed to call THEMSELVES Americans. I don't fight for anything that involves them.

      June 22, 2011 at 9:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • proudmilitary

      and frankly if you think they even deserve respect or any type of honor then I'm ashamed to fight for someone like you too...they should at LEAST have enough decency and respect to HONOR the Soldiers, Airmen, Marines, and Sailors that gave up their lives so that they can have freedoms we aren't privileged to have. To hell with Westboro!!!

      June 22, 2011 at 9:10 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Gavin Ford

    When are these hateful, myth-believing *ssh*les going to get the message that no one really wants to see or hear them. At funerals or anywhere else for that matter.

    June 22, 2011 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • cadaverine

      I wouldn't mind seeing them at a funeral. Or in a mass grave.

      June 22, 2011 at 9:17 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Paul

    To Mr. Phelps (not reveren for sure), "Judge not that ye not be judged." "Whatsoever thou sewest, that shall ty also reap." "Before you remove the speck from thy brother's eye, remove the beam from thine own first." And the scriptural list goes on Mr. Phelps. Jesus said, "I come not to condemn the world, but to save it." Who appointed you to judge? Answer..., yourself. Beware Mr. Phelps, beware the judgement, the judgement that ALL of us will face and answer for our behavior and how we have treated others. Remember what Jesus said to the woman caught in the act of adultery? May I suggest you refamiliarize yourself with that incident. I will pray for your Mr. Phelps that you turn away from your hateful behavior. You have truly lost site of the Holy scriptures.

    June 22, 2011 at 9:03 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Vash

    I bet if these folks we protesting a republican or democrat gathering something would be done.

    June 22, 2011 at 9:03 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jason

    Would you let neo-nazi's march at the funeral of a holocaust survivor? Would you let The KKK march at the funeral of a civil rights activist? Would you let radical islamists protest a military funeral? Almost 2 weeks ago these people threatened to protest a military funeral in a small town near me. I wrote them a very reasonable letter, and they said they would take my request under advisement. They didn't show up. Don't know if they responded to my empassioned pleas, or they just got cold feet. Anyways hundreds of members of the community and a group known as the patriot guard showed up ready to neutralize their presence with loud patriotic music and a flag line.

    June 22, 2011 at 9:03 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Prometheus

    I think the Jack-crew should set up circus cannons and shoot themselves into the westboro crowd, or better yet, set up ramps that can be aimed and put midgets wearing diapers (smoking big cigars) into baby carriages and launch them into their ranks. Preferably midgets who know judo.

    June 22, 2011 at 9:04 pm | Report abuse |
  10. John

    although i despise this one family operation that calls themselves a church.. at least they are protesting a guy who was committing a serious crime when he died and not a young soldier,

    June 22, 2011 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Vash

      Just because someone dies during the act of a crime their family and friends have no right to a peaceful send off? I hope someone protest your funeral sir.

      June 22, 2011 at 9:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • cosmicsnoop

      Murder is a crime regardless if it is State sanctioned. Can't pick and choose how you are going to uphold your "holy" laws. It matters not if the guy you're killing is an "enemy" or even if he is trying to kill you. Thought you were supposed to turn the other cheek and let them kill you.

      June 22, 2011 at 9:12 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Matt

    Too bad his funeral already happened. At a private funeral home. With only family and close friends.
    Eat it WBC.

    June 22, 2011 at 9:06 pm | Report abuse |
  12. casper

    too bad Fred Phelps was not in front of Dunn's car while driving 140 mph...

    June 22, 2011 at 9:06 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Michael

    When the KKK hates you, you've got issues......

    June 22, 2011 at 9:07 pm | Report abuse |
  14. cosmicsnoop

    Stop giving them publicity. Stop talking about them. They are irrelevant.

    June 22, 2011 at 9:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Peter

      Spot on. The media should collectively agree to completely boycott any coverage of them. After a while, they will just get tired of wasting their and everyone else's time and crawl back home. I guess they have nothing else to do with their time but hate. What a sad sad state of affairs for them. Just ignore them!!!

      June 22, 2011 at 9:10 pm | Report abuse |
  15. venus

    Does the WBC really think what they are doing is compassionate towards the people that are grieving for some one they have lost. For them being a religious group of people... they should be ashamed....People make mistakes and sadly people die from those choices.... Please out of repsect for them.... LEAVE THEM ALONE.... BE RESPECTFUL AND STAY AWAY.

    June 22, 2011 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
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