Al Gore's Connection to Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas
Gore and Wife Tipper Headlined Fundraiser at Fred Phelps' Topeka Home; Phelps Family Reportedly Invited to Clinton-Gore Inaugurations in 1993 and 1997
(WASHINGTON, DC) – Reports linking Vice President Al Gore with notorious anti-gay activist Fred Phelps, Jr., and the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas were confirmed with the release of photographs showing Gore at a fundraiser at the home of Fred Phelps, Jr., who told the Conservative News Service on October 16 that he served as a Gore delegate on the floor of the Democratic National Convention in Atlanta in 1988.
Gore, who was quoted by the Nashville Tennessean in 1984 saying homosexuality is not "an acceptable alternative that society should affirm" and said in his 1984 US Senate race that he would not accept money from gay rights organizations and that he opposed a "gay bill of rights," reportedly sought the support of the Phelps family in his 1988 presidential campaign, and invited the Phelpses to the Clinton-Gore inaugurations of January 1993 and January 1997.
The Westboro Baptist Church runs a website called "www.godhatesfags.com" which includes virulent anti-gay statements and attacks on Jews, Catholics, and US troops.
The site calls the religious right "lukewarm cowards" and has an animated photograph of gay murder victim Matthew Shepard surrounded by flames, with a statement entitled "Matthew Shepard's Message from Hell."
The Phelps family has gained international notoriety for picketing the funerals of gay people and US troops with signs that say "God Hates Fags."
Fred Phelps, Sr., pastor of the church, told CNS that the 1989 fundraiser held at his son's home was for Al Gore, and published several photographs on the church website to substantiate it, including one showing Gore and his wife Tipper arm-in-arm with Fred and Betty Phelps. Phelps, Sr. also told CNS that he provided office space and staff accommodations for Gore campaign staffers in the 1988 campaign.
Phelps, Sr. told CNS that Gore "looked us in the eye and gave us assurance, that, based on his Bible beliefs, he was against the homosexual agenda and the killing of babies."
"No one argues that Gore had an anti-gay record in the past. However, if it is true that he was allied with Fred Phelps as recently as 1997, then Al Gore's got a lot of explaining to do," said Rich Tafel, executive director of Log Cabin Republicans. "At this time the sources are themselves questionable, so the Vice President can end this mystery by denying any relationship with Phelps now. Most troubling is the charge that Al Gore invited Fred Phelps to his inaugurations as Vice President in 1993 and 1997. That was less than three years ago. We need some answers."
Fred Phelps, Jr. also ran for Governor of Kansas in the Democratic primary in 1990, winning over 11,000 votes and placing third.