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. joey

    @ellen: exact and same have the same meaning so it's incorrect grammar to use them together as you did.

    June 23, 2011 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
  2. stacie

    What a bunch of..........................only ONE person judges and those who judge will be judged,,, and this is a church/////////////////

    June 23, 2011 at 8:59 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Loretta

    I dont think people who call there self christians should go protest at a guys funeral just because he was drinking. Everyone makes mistakes and I think if your a Christian then you shouldnt say that God is gonna let you burn in Hell cause the stunts he did,the pranks he did and just cause he was drinking and enjoying his self doesnt mean he deserved to die. Ryan Dunn was a great guy and I wish I could have met him. I dont think people who go to church and call there self Christians should say bad stuff like burn in hell cause let me say this your not a Christian if you believe in doing that . God didnt make people act like that and he would be ashamed of the people at that Westboro Church who are saying all those bad things about poor Ryan and then being disrespectful and gonna protest at his funeral come on now you people need to let his friends and family mourn in peace and let him have a beautiful funeral without you hipacrits running your mouth and wanting to protest. It's time to go back to church and reread your bibles cause apparently you all aint reading it right and understanding it. I am a baptist and I dont believe in judgeing someone because they drink n drive or made mistakes. Were all humans and noone is perfect. We all have made mistakes and God forgives people who make mistakes. So leave Ryan Dunn and his Family n Friends alone. Godbless Ryan and his friends n family.

    June 23, 2011 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • NoGodsNoHeavens

      Apparently you have never heard of the westboro baptist church, this what they do. Along with picketing military funerals and influencing their young impressionable children to spread the same hate. It is Christian terrorism.

      June 24, 2011 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
  4. stewie

    @charley60: Agreed. BTW the Phelps' are just a bunch of inbreds, they're like the hillbillies from the movie Deliverance only some of them have a law degree which just goes to show anyone can pass the bar exam.

    June 23, 2011 at 11:09 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Name*phate

    Burn westboro church how about we protest there dead what a a bunch of degenerate white trash inbred hicks

    June 24, 2011 at 1:17 am | Report abuse |
  6. Kaitlyn

    Ok. Ok.Hold it!!! What about God's word in this arugement???
    John 8:1-11 says
    King James Version:
    "1Jesus went unto the mount of Olives.
    2And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them.
    3And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,
    4They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.
    5Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?
    6This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.
    7So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
    8And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
    9And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
    10When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?
    11She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more."
    God HIMSELF is saying that you should NOT accuse someone of sinning, because YOU'VE sinned as well!!!! Give this man his funeral! Let his family and friends pay their respects!! You should not be pointing the finger when it should be directed at yourself! Thank you (:

    June 24, 2011 at 8:55 am | Report abuse |
    • James

      God doesn´t exist and the bible is filled with lies.

      June 24, 2011 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Achmed Fubar

      @ Kaitlyn Great job! explained it perfectly!

      June 24, 2011 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
  7. roberj

    Leave this man alone. Let his family and friends have a funeral for him in peace. He is someone's son, brother, boyfriend, and friend. I'm so tired of hearing about this "church" who decides to protest at a person's funeral because he sinned. We all sin, as I'm sure the congregation at Westboro does as well. I guess they think they are perfect. Whoever leads this church is one confused man and is leading his members down the wrong road. They tell everyone they are going to hell. They are not to judge- only God does that. Do you members of the church think God is looking down and happy that you are protesting at Ryan Dunn's funeral? A dead soldier? A person who is gay? He loves everyone of these people. God knows we sin, but is loving and forgives. Ryan made a mistake that cost him his life, but we do not know his heart. Those closest to him know him and love him and deserve to mourn his death in peace. Know wonder church membership is down in this country. If this is what people see and relate it to God, I would not set foot in a church. These people can call themselves "christians", but are far from it. A real church would spend their resources giving to missions, giving back to those less fortunate, and building others up in time of need. Westboro spends their money sending members across the country protesting at funerals? Really? To the Westboro congregation- you are winning know one to the Lord. You are pushing people further away from God. I'm sure you have messed up in life as well- are people protesting at your funerals and disrupting your family at a very sensitive time? Probably not. If you are judging people because you think they have led a "sinful life" you need to look in the mirror. We should be protesting at your funerals too then, but most people have respect for others at a time of mourning a loved one.. Love, respect, compassion, kindness, forgiveness- ever heard of those Westboro? You may need to spend more time reading the Bible than protesting funerals. You give Christians a bad name and this is not a true representation of them. Insensitive fanatics would sum up this congregation.

    June 24, 2011 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
  8. kale

    Wow, the hate on this board rivals that of the WBC itself...

    Regardless of how you feel about Dunn, or the actions that resulted in his death, his friends and family still have the right to mourn without all of you spewing hate toward someone you don't even know. Just my opinion, but many of the comments on here would fit right in with the Westboro people's filth.

    June 24, 2011 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
  9. kale

    "Fred Phelps dies. God salivates."

    There's a sign for you, WBC losers...

    June 24, 2011 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
  10. Cherylcyn

    Well, Phelps and Company may finally meet their match protesting THIS funeral. I seriously doubt that Bam and the rest of Ryan's friends and family will take too kindly to this BS.

    June 24, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  11. ejones

    Did anyone else happen to notice most of the parishioners from the church are the founder's relatives?? That is laughable! That is all despite the fact that our God is a loving God. He is just and true, but also loving. The problem as humans is we think we can act like God at times and judge people cause we think we know all because we've read the bible. We know a fraction. We just need to worry about ourselves and our families and live how WE are supposed to and not judge everyone else. That's when things go awry. That is why these people are doing such horrific thing is God's name. They've lost sight.

    June 24, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  12. David

    You know I have went to bars and had a few drinks and drove home before. Admit it millions of you have too. What I don't get is the driving 140 MPH after having been drinking. Now I have NEVER been that intoxicated to do something that retarded.

    June 24, 2011 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Achmed Fubar

    Hey! Driving drunk is stupid and driving 140 mph stone sober on public roads is stupid too. Driving twice the legal limit is Uber Stupid! But, it's done and now it's just sad. Thank God he didn't hit another car.

    June 24, 2011 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
  14. InFormed99

    The Westboro Baptist Church is the most hated group in the USA, and that is exactly what they like to hear. They are attention seeking, power hungry liars who have come to enjoy causing others to suffer because it gives them a thrill. They are lead by a foolish old self righteous idiot (Fred Phelps) who tries to recapture his past fame as a champion for equal rights by perverting the very law system he used to help others with. IF there was such a thing a the devil, he would be his right hand man.

    June 24, 2011 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Marisa13

    What the hell is wrong with those people. Another shining example of organized religion. Proud to be an atheist when I see crap like this.

    June 24, 2011 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
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