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. Mari

    This is what happens when way too many people have way too much time on their hands!

    June 22, 2011 at 10:33 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Hoog

    This group is really desperate. Next they'll be advertising on TMZ.

    June 22, 2011 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Totoro0101

    I'm not a fan of either Dunn or WBC, they are both appalling.

    June 22, 2011 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • dee

      you are an idiot

      June 22, 2011 at 10:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • CalgarySandy

      I agree and being called an idiot on line is hardly much of an insult. LOL

      June 22, 2011 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      @CalgarySandy,
      You are an idiot

      June 22, 2011 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Totoro0101

      Whatever, they are both still appalling. WBC is abhorred nationwide and Dunn's aptly named show lowered us all.

      June 23, 2011 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ed rustad

    rev fred phelps himself is gay.This guy is way too ugly to get a women interested in him

    June 22, 2011 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • CalgarySandy

      I have to agree on the ugly and no woman part but being ugly does not mean no women want you. I don't get it but Kissinger dated some babes. Women like intelligence (if they have any themselves), wit, humor, honor, compassion, and a whole lot of other things more than mere looks. Women are just not as crazed about the flesh alone.

      June 22, 2011 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nick in Vegas

      REALLY? The Rev is ugly but come on THAT makes him gay? Ugly men get women all this time... its called MONEY. LMAO.

      June 22, 2011 at 10:59 pm | Report abuse |
  5. "fed up"

    @defcom no one got murdered last time I checked the passenger has a choice to get in the car! Ya it was a bad choice on both their parts and they both paid for it! These protester so called church members are a joke and should be dealt with! Thank you to all of the soldiers who do what they do for all of us Americans! These fanatics are rats who ride the coat tails of real humans.

    June 22, 2011 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
  6. JA3676

    Don't worry his fans and friends are ready to square off with these fools...paintball guns and urine-filled water balloons at the ready! RIP Ryan and Zack!

    June 22, 2011 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Eastern Guy

    I wonder who will protest the funeral of that church's pastor when he eventually bites the dust...

    June 22, 2011 at 10:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nick in Vegas

      I'll be there in a red dress and high heels and yes I'm a dude!

      June 22, 2011 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
  8. KellyinCA

    Let's try this again....

    There is a very insightful unpublished book currently available on the Internet for free which outlines perfectly how the WBC came into being. I suspect I can't mention it by name here, but it features revelations by one of Fred Phelps' estranged children. It's in the public domain as it was entered as evidence during one of Westboro's many, many legal actions.

    Anyway, look for the WBC protesters to cancel their plans at the last minute. They won't risk any violence from which they won't be able to profit through lawsuits. Many of Dunn's fans are too upset to put up peacefully with the Phelps' presence, and have too little to lose from resorting to violence. I don't condone violence as a solution, and do not intend to incite or encourage it here; however, the Phelps will err on the side of safety and cost-effectiveness here.

    June 22, 2011 at 10:44 pm | Report abuse |
  9. paul

    be careful when you judge. for some day you will be judged.

    June 22, 2011 at 10:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • CalgarySandy

      Stop judging us.

      June 22, 2011 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Klaark

    MADD should protest it, too. Stinking drunk. Bury him as sea with Bin Laden.

    June 22, 2011 at 10:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gregg

      Sooo, I'm just guessing you're holier than thou and have never made a mistake you wish you could change. You must also be stating that there is no one in your life, such as friends or relatives that haven't been affected by addiction or alcoholism. hmm.. you must be perfect.

      June 22, 2011 at 11:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gregg

      The former leader of MADD was arrested for DUI. I guess we should crucify her and bury her along with Bin Laden too.

      June 22, 2011 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
  11. an

    In all seriousness, I hope every member of that church burns up in a fire and endures terrible suffering while they die slowly.

    June 22, 2011 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Dustin

    God doesn't exist. NEXT!

    June 22, 2011 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
  13. victoria

    there they go again

    June 22, 2011 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Nikki

    I understand that drinking and driving is not only wrong but its utterly stupid. I also know that Ryan Dunn is now paying the price for taking not only his life but also the life of Zachary Hartwell. What gets me is that how can anyone judge a dead man? Really do you think he cares what you have to say? Whether he went to Heaven or Hell he has his own issues to deal with. What's even worse is that the people claiming to be the church are planning on protesting his life. Once again the only people that this is going to hurt is his friends and family, who are morning the loss of their loved ones. This isn't right, leave the dead be. If you have an issue then protest the show, or what ever your cause is against, but don't hurt the people that are morning!

    June 22, 2011 at 10:49 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jason

    Wow....I ALMOST agree with this one....

    June 22, 2011 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
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