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. Scott A

    Of course the church is going to protest the funeral, they're in league with Satan and enjoy causing harm to as many people as possible. The day isn't complete for them unless they can score more points with Lucifer.

    June 22, 2011 at 11:30 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Ronald Raygun

    He was an entertainer. he never said he was a saint. RIP Ryan

    June 22, 2011 at 11:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • lyd

      there's no peace in hell

      June 22, 2011 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      @lyd There is no hell.

      June 23, 2011 at 12:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Gayis mental illness

      @Bill – Yes there is. Many will go there. Walk in the path of Jesus Christ and you will not be one of them.

      June 23, 2011 at 12:05 am | Report abuse |
    • stu

      LOL at the religious nut jobs. Dunn's 6 feet under, no higher or lower, just like the rest of us will be (except me – the Tooth Fairy said I could come live on her cloud when I die).

      June 23, 2011 at 12:11 am | Report abuse |
    • EnjaySea

      Hell was invented by Jesus and his co-conspirators to increase his power and influence, and is only a problem for the gullible.

      June 23, 2011 at 12:12 am | Report abuse |
    • NickB5

      There is no god and no hell. All we have is each other, this planet and a finite amount of time on this rock. Don't waste it.

      June 23, 2011 at 12:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Big Ol' Gay Dude

      WBC does nothing but promote hatred and intolerance. If there really is a god, I'm sure he accepts everyone. Being an Atheist myself, I don't believe in heaven or hell... Even if I did believe, I do have free will and no one is going to make me go anywhere I don't want to go. So suck it!

      June 23, 2011 at 12:16 am | Report abuse |
  3. Art

    Is it really true you must be Inbred to get into WBC?

    June 22, 2011 at 11:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Not true, must be at least 2 generations of inbreeding but they prefer 3-5. The higher ups have at least 8 generations of inbreeding in their blood, which is why they are so powerful and god loves them so much. Everyone else can go to hell

      June 23, 2011 at 12:00 am | Report abuse |
  4. Bowman

    A textbook "drunk" mistake. Look at the skid mark video. He saw the exit, and slowed by booze he thought he could make the turn. Then he did not "abort"the effort, and literally ended in the sticks. Driving fast in a Porsche, yes. Drinking anything and driving fast in a Porsche, no.

    June 22, 2011 at 11:39 pm | Report abuse |
  5. SERVANT OF G*D

    WESTBORO church is an evil messed up church created by a man a false prophet just like harold camping and harry walter theres many anti christ and its sad when one sees them inside a church as a soo called pastor prophecysing fear tearing up pages from the bible and spreading hatred towards gay people , I feel bad for them because its not there fault when one is born in a male human body with a female spirit trapped inside .

    June 22, 2011 at 11:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gayis mental illness

      If you're born with the equipment, you're a man.
      All of that female spirit stuff is in your mind.
      Maybe you can't help it if you are attracted to men, just don't act on that attraction.
      I'm sure you can find a nice lady to share your life with.

      June 22, 2011 at 11:58 pm | Report abuse |
  6. KellyinBoston

    I may be missing this, but couldn't people start messing with the Westboro folks on a more personal level? I mean, can't people protest as the churchmembers go to buy groceries, pump gas, or generally try to meet their basic needs?

    June 22, 2011 at 11:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jake

      This is exactly what i have been saying for quite some time. Get personal and make it uncomfortable.

      June 22, 2011 at 11:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nah

      No, because sane people have lives. So the Westboro re-re's will never get what they should.

      June 22, 2011 at 11:58 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Ida

    While it was the speeds of the car that killed Ryan Dunn and his friend, I don't think Ryan did anything that he wouldn't have done if he was sober. Only this time, they couldn't get up and walk away. It is sad that these two people lost their lives.

    It is also sad that people go back and forth with their own opinions on if he deserved it or not. Nobody's perfect and almost everyone has done something a tad bit crazy. Don't be so quick to judge someone's life by what you see or what you've told. These men's lives aren't any less important just because of the way that they died.

    Have some type or respect for the family. Unlike millions of us, Ryan Dunn actually BE REMEMBERED.

    June 22, 2011 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse |
  8. viking

    fear and obey God!...The church's parishioners, made up mostly of Phelps relatives...interesting family. they must have had a heck of a childhood...CRAZY IDIOTS

    June 22, 2011 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Geoff

    the church can protest all they want... afterall, they believe that it's god's place to judge people. i guess they will burn in hell. i don't agree with the choices he made to get behind the wheel while intoxicated. no one should "protest" a funeral though.

    June 22, 2011 at 11:53 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Peter

    Shame on CNN for callng West Boro a "church" in the headline. Stop trying to bait us in with headlines that only end up lending credence to such a non-sense organization. God bless the dunns, ryans freinds, and the other victims family. He was a humble entertainer..such a rarity these days.

    CNN sucks. Such a Godless organization. good for nothing. (and i am a democrat)

    June 22, 2011 at 11:59 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Crystal

    This so called "Church" is a psychotic clan of trash..... Who do they think they are? God? Sounds like they may be feeling the "Wrath of God" when they feel the flames of "HELL" starting to burn.... They are not a church or Christians.. They are a cult.. They must be crazy like the "Heavens Gate" cult leader...Marshall Applewhite...(the 1997 mass suicide) Hey ..GO DRINK SOME KOOLAID l

    June 22, 2011 at 11:59 pm | Report abuse |
  12. windrider2

    Please stop calling WBC a church. It isn't. It's an incestuously pathological family of publicity wh**es, dodging taxes while deliberately inflicting pain on perfect strangers to raise more money which they then use to brainwash the youngest children into spouting a religious ideology that they're far too young to even comprehend. Call them anything: professional agitators, protest group, whatever, but WBC is not anything remotely resembling a church recognizable by any God, past present or future.

    June 23, 2011 at 12:00 am | Report abuse |
  13. MERUNCC13

    I know that we have freedom of speech guaranteed by the First Amendment and has been held up time and time again, but to protest this funeral is REALLY STUPID! In fact, why are we giving these people any space in the media, if we ignore them they may go away.

    June 23, 2011 at 12:03 am | Report abuse |
  14. Austin

    Although I do not condone driving drunk by any means, and I feel terrible for both dunn, the passenger, and their families, respectively. The fact of the matter is it was a conscious decision by the passenger to get into the car with dunn. He could have easily just taken a taxi or persuaded dunn not to drive, or to drive slower. I'm not saying this is anyone's fault specifically because I was not there, and can only go off of what i read in the reports, the factors just played out tragically.

    Dunn has been a questionable driver as seen by his driving records that they indicated in the reports and driving 130mph seems far from intelligent, it was a bad decision, we all do dumb things at one time or another (more frequently under the influence). I just do not believe 100% of the blame should be placed on Dunn. This would be a whole different ball park if the person Dunn killed was in another car. That would clearly be his fault.

    Oh and for the WBC I think they are disgusting, primitive, and a misguided people. I feel angry about them but at the same time I realize this is all they are raised to believe in, and this is just sad. I hope that eventually they will see the wrong in their ways..

    June 23, 2011 at 12:04 am | Report abuse |
  15. lyd

    What about all the other drivers on the road who didn't choose to share the road with a drunk?

    June 23, 2011 at 12:05 am | Report abuse |
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