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. Justthinking

    These folks are religious nuts, plain and simple. And by religious nuts, I mean religious. Their version of religion may be slightly nuttier than most, but all religions in some way believe that a magic man in the sky talks to them and tells them what is right and wrong....and this somehow justifies them imposing their crazy crap on others who believe in a different magic man in the sky. Nuts!

    June 22, 2011 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Well said. I couldn't agree more.

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

      I know right! It's almost like they have this...I don't know...right to do it!

      Who ever would give these people rights must be committed for being insane!

      June 22, 2011 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Mrs. M

    Please, somebody explain to me how these "church" members have any clue what the movie was about if they didn't watch it. I haven't seen the movie, and would never presume to know what it's about, much less whether or not it "mocks sin."

    June 22, 2011 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Iamrightyouarewrong

      They probably read about my 7 year old nephew who thought it would be cool to see his favorite tonka truck shoved up his butt at hospital because everyone laughed when they saw Mr Dunn do it he thought he could out do him for bigger laughs he said.

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

      Hey Iamrightyouarewrong, post a link you liar! If you have to lie to prove your point, you have no point.

      June 22, 2011 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tony

      Maybe you should blame whomever it was in your family who allowed a 7 year old to watch Jacka$$ in the first place. It was R-rated for reason, don't blame Dunn for their negligence.

      June 22, 2011 at 8:05 pm | Report abuse |
  3. appstgreer

    The Westboro cult was just here in NC and attempted to protest at a young Marine, Nic O,Brien's memorial service. They could not get the required permit. The patriot guard was there to protect the family if they did show. It was a beautiful sight to see the community come together to stop this cult. They are planning on protesting his funeral at Arlington, I hope they are unable to make it to either service, but PA do us a favor and make sure they do not make it to VA for an American heroes funeral on the 28th.

    June 22, 2011 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Kill Phelps now

    Hey Fred Phelps and WBC- So nice of you to hold everyone to your insane and offensive standards. Mr. Phelps, you can plan on your family seeing me at your funeral. I am going to make a mockery of your pathetic, delusional life, and your too-late death. So nice of you to keep your insane 'religious' beliefs to yourself. I can't wait to see your families' pain at your funeral, and their shock when I mock you in the most disturbing ways I can think of. Oh, and if you ever come anywhere near one of my family members funerals, you will be gravely injured. Fair warning.

    June 22, 2011 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • LilyofDallas

      I will be there to because that sounds like a plan..lol..hope its sooner than later though.

      June 22, 2011 at 7:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • rick

      perhaps old freddies gravesite should be visited by tens of thousands of people with full bladders

      June 22, 2011 at 8:10 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Johnjon

    if ever there was a case for mental illness running in one family, I would have to say these people take the cake. I think their brains should be donated to science to be studied. they are a sad, sorry bunch that should be sterilized.

    June 22, 2011 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
  6. mikie

    I can honestly say I hate w.b.c. If they have issues with the laws in this country then write your rep, protest in d.c, in there own state capitals but not at peoples funerals.

    June 22, 2011 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • LilyofDallas

      or they could just leave the country.

      June 22, 2011 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • rick

      Or they can pull a Heaven's Gate mass suicide.

      June 22, 2011 at 8:11 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Mike

    What kind of people join Westboro? I can't imagine waking up one day and deciding that this is the church for me.

    June 22, 2011 at 7:51 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Paula Lauster

    I am a Christian and believe me that this is not the type of Christianity I consider myself associated with. God loves all of us so much, I truly believe He would not approve of these demonstrations. Ryan was a human being and he deserves to have a funeral where loved ones can come and pay their respects. These people need to stop these types of acts as it gives Christianity a bad name.

    June 22, 2011 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ScottS

    One of these days they're going to protest the wrong funeral and there will be a bloodbath...

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

      I agree and this may actually be the funeral.

      June 22, 2011 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • rick

      No.....that.....would.....be......wrong. Don't..........stop......don't...stop.....don't stop

      June 22, 2011 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Mitch

    Isn't it obvious that the WBC are performance artists?

    People posting just to vent about wanting to beat them down are laughable.

    Just enjoy the show.

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

      It isn't funny for the families who are trying to bury their loved ones is it? I don't care about the church, its the mistaken belief that its protected under the bill of rights.

      June 22, 2011 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mitch

      What they do really is protected under the Bill of Rights.

      Life's tough sometimes.

      June 22, 2011 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Nat97

    Religious Jacka$$es protesting the death of a regular Jacka$$.

    June 22, 2011 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Bradmadden

    Maybe westboroa "compound" should be protested everytime they have one of their public welcomed events or unprivatized funerals...

    June 22, 2011 at 7:54 pm | Report abuse |
  13. LilyofDallas

    They want more publicity and everyone keeps giving it to them.....how about someone not covering their idiotic "protest" maybe that would be a good way of telling them to STFU.

    June 22, 2011 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
  14. T

    This is sad, two lives were lost.
    These people should not be allowed to protest the funeral.
    They are not real christians and should be ashamed of their actions.
    My heart goes out to the Dunn and Hartwell families for their loss.

    June 22, 2011 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
  15. A

    I wonder how many people actually saw this coming.

    June 22, 2011 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
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