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. Anthony

    Although this young man died of a very foolish death he has family who remembers him not always for his antics. The Westboro Baptish Church has not been in the news as of late and now it feels it should get itself back into the picture by protesting at this young man's funeral. Better have plenty of police there because this could get really ugly quick.

    June 22, 2011 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Dunn is a murderer.

      June 22, 2011 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Zillippy34

      Westboro, The Paparazzi to the Paparazzi.

      June 22, 2011 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Edwin


      You are incorrect. His choice to drive drunk did cause deaths - his own and his passenger's. But murder is a deliberate action. His action was not to deliberately take a life. In fact, I would bet he tried to prevent the accident, as best he could in his inebriated state.

      Drunk driving is a serious problem. But escalating the dialogue and calling him a murderer does not actually help the situation - it puts people on the defensive, rather than getting them to listen. If you REALLY want to decrease the number of drunk driving deaths, try a different tactic. If not, you are a troll or worse.

      June 22, 2011 at 11:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • CHARLEY60

      Edwin drunk driving is considered Homicide, under law, when it is a cause of anothers death. It is like loading 2 bullets in a gun, pointing it at other,innocent people, and pulling the trriger.

      June 23, 2011 at 8:43 pm | Report abuse |
  2. tonya

    Maybe we should pickit westboro church, for pickiting peoples funerals.

    June 22, 2011 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • flattoe

      A radio DJ from Colorado has started a group that's been picketing outside the church on occasion. Hope it catches on. Phelps and company are truly the dregs of society.

      June 22, 2011 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Atheist Woman

      I think that is a great idea myself!!!

      June 22, 2011 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Zillippy34

      To add to the blocking of Westboro groups, there is local Motorcycle groups that get together and travel to those who died in combat and use thier bikes to guide and block them. Aka Mathew Shepards Angles, which I do know that is not thier name but...

      June 22, 2011 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      I saw a great sign that said "DRINK THE KOOL AID ALREADY". I think that says it all.

      June 22, 2011 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Zillippy34 the group is The Patriot Guard Riders and their awesome for what they do. I just saw them on Monday in Gatonia, NC for a Marine Nic O'Brien that was killed in Afghanistan. These Westboro idiots said they were going to protest but thought better of it because there were groups waiting to kick the s__t out of them and I heard this from several police officers.

      June 22, 2011 at 10:18 pm | Report abuse |
  3. raven

    Ugh.just Ugh.

    June 22, 2011 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
  4. turp

    I say we all show up in thongs and Party Boy them all!!!

    June 22, 2011 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Emily

      Brilliant. That's what Ryan wouldve wanted.

      June 22, 2011 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • jersvette

      Actually, they need to do some form of the stunt in the 3-D movie where Steve-O is launched into the air inside the out-house except this time leave the door open and over the heads of the WBC.

      June 22, 2011 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Chris

    The POS crazies at the WBC do not realize whos funeral they are picketing. LOL....I am SURE Dunn's friends with give the POS WBC what they deserve

    June 22, 2011 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • aszure

      I am going to love seeing what happens.

      June 22, 2011 at 7:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob T.

      This is going to be interesting thats for sure.

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

      I was thinking the EXACT same thing!

      June 23, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  6. stevie68a

    Sigmund Freud called religion "a mental illness". Westboro proves it over and over. These people should know that what
    goes around, comes around.

    June 22, 2011 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jimmyjam048

      @stevie68a So you are going to take a swipe at religion by criticizing a fake church and quoting a drug addict?
      Wanna buy a bridge?

      June 22, 2011 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
  7. dan in capitola

    Anything for publicity....The entire membership of this so-called "church" needs a big dose of worm medicine. I hope a friend of Ryan's punches one of 'em out.

    June 22, 2011 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
  8. ClearSolution

    Maybe its time we stop giving them media attention on the front page of CNN.com.

    June 22, 2011 at 7:01 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Nick

    This would be a bad idea look at the people that are gonna be at his funeral... Family, Friends. I dont think Bam would take to kindly to protesters.

    June 22, 2011 at 7:01 pm | Report abuse |
  10. cer512

    There are some very simple things about being a Christian and the simplest is Forgiveness. I really wish some leaders would not use the platform given to them by Christ to hurt or trample on a man's Grave. I am Christian and the protest is wrong and we should be more committed to helping with relationships and discipleship protesting doesn't help our cause and takes us several steps back. Now their will be other comments that want to tear us down and group us all in to one category of protesters. Those commenting are being mislead and given more fire when they read these articles. Just stop the protest and simple approach people with Christ loving relationship it is a very simple message.

    June 22, 2011 at 7:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Orange

      and people should remember that only he who is without sin should cast the first stone.

      June 26, 2011 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  11. Brian

    The people of Ozark County Missouri ran these idiots out of the county in about 20 minutes when they came to protest at the memorial service for a fallen soldier. All you need is a couple hundred people that say NO to hate.

    June 22, 2011 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Mr.Man

    Westboro hopes the protests get ugly. They've won numerous lawsuits when people touch any of them. My church was picketed many years back and it's hard to keep quiet but you simply have to do so. These idiots thrive on the public circus they create and make money off others. Everyone has to remember these are not rational people when it comes to religion but are very serious about knowing the law. The patriarch is a lawyer herself and they even have rights before the US Supreme Court.

    June 22, 2011 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jimmyjam048

    WBC does not represent anything NEAR Christianity. They behave more like a Satanic cult. Any fool can call themselves a Christian. But they can only fool another fool.

    June 22, 2011 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Sherry

    I'm so sick of Westboro Church. What kind of God would approbe picketing someone's funeral? Yes, this man did a very foolish thing..but that's no excuse. Picketing a funeral is, in my opnion, the lowest of the lows.

    June 22, 2011 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Standing Up

    I wish they'd stop calling it "Westborough Church"; it's just a wacko family who apparently like giving real churches a bad name. Christians, let's pray that this misguided family comes to know and understand the love of God!

    June 22, 2011 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sherry

      Amen to that, Standing Up.

      June 22, 2011 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jimmyjam048

      Yes, StAnding up. Amen to that.

      June 22, 2011 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
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