Stupid on Steroids Podcast

Here it is.

This is the interview we promised with Shirley Phelps Roper from Josh and I decided going in that we weren’t going to yell at her or try to argue too much. There didn’t seem to be a point in that… and it seemed to make more sense just to let her talk. So we did… for a while!

Don’t get me wrong, because in spots it gets pretty heated, mostly with her insulting our intelligence (or lack thereof).

Like most intense conversations, after it was over, Josh and I thought of a ton of things we should have or could have said to refute some of her ideas and scripture interpretations. But we didn’t, so oh well. It wasn’t about winning, because we weren’t trying to win and there was no way she was going to let us win.

Immediately after finishing, I was exhausted. I fell down on the floor and laid there for a few minutes. Then Josh and I went and had a few drinks. You might find you do the same thing after listening to the podcast. One thing I have learned is this: Crazy-talking people will wear you out.

Let us know what you think.


33 thoughts on “Stupid on Steroids Podcast”

  1. My hat is off to both of you. I think you were mistaken to say that you accomplished nothing. I certainly came away with a better understanding. By refraining from a confrontational tone, you drew her out and got her to open up far more than I would have expected. That was a skillful interview. Well done. The scary thing, as has been noted, is how normal she seemed at times. It occurred to me that Jim Jones probably seemed normal, too. So did David Koresh. Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin were both said to be quite charming and witty at times.From where I sit, Westboro Baptist’s message isn’t much different from Pat Robertson’s, except Fred Phelps has never called for anyone’s murder.

  2. Is her church a cult? I thought I heard her saying that her church was the only group of true christians out there. She did seem somewhat normal and lighthearted, but her argumentation and handling of the scriptures reminded me of the Jehovah’s Witnesses I talked to. When you gave her some different verses or challenged her interpretation, she simply raised her voice and spewed more verses with no interest in dealing with your questions or interpretation. Despite their apparent knowledge of the scriptures, they can’t dialogue with any opposing view with deeper study of the scriptures.

  3. Zeke: Yes. That’s what I am speaking of when I say that we thought of things aftrewards that we wished we would have brought up. When I was telling her that she was prooftexting her quoting of scripture – these were some of the things you list were what I wished I could have mentioned. But I am sure she had “the answer” for all of them.Dorsey: Thank you. It felt exactly as you mentioned. I do not think she is crazy in a literal sense of the word. Worse than that I know she sincerely believes what she espouses….much like I believe that radical extremists such as the 9/11 terrorists are not “crazy” either.

  4. <>The page on his son, Fred Jr., talks about how Fred Senior forced him to divorce his wife,Debbie Valgos, possibly by kidnapping him. While they were dating , Fred Sr. used to preach sermons with titles like “Debbie Valgos: The Whore of Topeka.” If that’s not fatherly love, I don’t know what is.<>Maybe THAT’S why the Phelps clan (if you will) are so angry at everyone and everything! That said, though: Like father, like son.

  5. Well I just finished listening to the podcast. I just can’t believe this woman. I think I saw her on Trading Spouses under her alias of Margueritte Perrin! When everything was of the Dark Side-uh!Hurricane Katrina is a judgement from God on the wicked inhabitants of America? Then later on in the podcast she boasts about how her group helped victims of Katrina? How does that work? According to her, God sent Katrina and Rita as a judgement against wicked and unrepentant people. But then she turns right around and gives aid to those wicked sinners? She’s questioning the judgement of her God! If she followed her own logic and really did think any of those people as being smited by God, she should not have lifted a finger in aid. They have been judged unfit to live by God. She and her peeps should have left them dying in the streets as they had gotten what they deserved! And she expects anyone to take her seriously? Puhleeze!

  6. By the way, and this is a rather personal note: I came to a realization about an hour into her diatribe that there was a part of me that said, with absolute conviction, that if what she was saying was true then I would want nothing to do with Christianity or the God that created it. I guess that I would be like one of C.S. Lewis’ hellbound creatures, locking the gate from the inside to keep heaven out.Fortunately, she’s full of crap.

  7. Awesome podcast.After I listened to it I found some interesting history on the Phelps family on wikipedia.< HREF="" REL="nofollow">Fred Phelps<>The page on his son, Fred Jr., talks about how Fred Senior forced him to divorce his wife,Debbie Valgos, possibly by kidnapping him. While they were dating , Fred Sr. used to preach sermons with titles like “Debbie Valgos: The Whore of Topeka.” If that’s not fatherly love, I don’t know what is.< HREF="" REL="nofollow">Fred Phelps Jr.<>

  8. Yeah Steve. I know how you feel.I don’t know that my views have totally switched. I’ve never come to terms with the scripturality of the argument in favor of the relationship between homosexuality and christianity. But I do believe in grace. And I do believe in God’s love and mercy… much more so than any evangelical.Still, the strict evangelical stance is scary. And so is the view of Mrs. Roper.But what’s cool is your’s and Josh’s calm in the face of this kind of insanity. The fact that you let her speak what’s left of her mind is a true sign of your confidence in God’s grace and your faith in the commonsense of your listeners.All-in-all, an excellent interview. (And a lot of fun..)

  9. I must say that I really enjoyed this! This was a fun podcast!What struck me most was when she would cut up and laugh with you guys. I expected a total Nazi or something. She had moments where she almost seemed like a real person.Still, after hearing her message, I believe what she is preaching is a very common, evangelical message. Think about it. Most churches preach the very same thing she does, except they sensitize it to their audience. Most churches warn of judgement (minus her delight). Most churches warn of the consequence of sin (minus her volume). And most churches preach against homosexuality (minus her political incorrectness).The things she’s preaching about are simply extreme versions of what we hear from Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson every day. Only they, at least, attempt to mask it with supposed lucidity and apparent normalcy.You know, te more I think abou it, the more I realize just how close the evangelical community is to insanity! Yikes!!(I’d better go warn them, if I love them…)

  10. I think you did a great job with that interview. Especially I liked the end when you told her she was going to hell if she doesn’t change and when you were comparing her to the terrorists.Her father must have brainwashed the whole family. It would be interesting to hear what the Phelps who’s not members of the Westboro Baptist Church have to say about the whole thing.

  11. Well, clearly, God has sent you a strong delusion, and as everyone knows, spelling is the first thing to be affected 😉

  12. Lance, your question about the warnings given to revilers: They believe they’re speaking the Word of the Lord, therefore they believe their statements are prophetic…they see themselves as a modern day Jeremiah, Isiaih or Amos. You can’t be guilty of that sin if you are a prophet of the Lord.

  13. Steve & Josh, you both did a wonderful job. Josh, I was surprised at your level of restraint. I wasn’t sure who’s head would explode first, you or shirley; but you both held in there. Steve, I agree with the posts above, you did accomplish something, you’ve strengthened our common view that they evangelical church is anything but evangeleical, they should be called the judgmental or pharisaical church instead. One thing I was surprised didn’t come up was Paul’s confession in Romans of his own sinful nature and greatfulness for the forgiveness and redemption of Christ (e.g., the things I want to do, I do not do). I’d like to hear her take on this section of scripture. I’m sure she’d just insist on sceaming “repentant, repentant…” but this part always throws the legalists.

  14. The Phelps clan is angry because daddy probably had a gay experience and later regretted it. He’s turning his hate for himself onto others. Sorry for the psychobabble.

  15. What about learning something from the Prophet Jonah? Jonah wanted to see God distroy a evil city, nothing would have made him happier. Jonah got angry because the Lord extended mercy and forgiveness. If God is using her to warn people of their wicked ways, Maybe she should be leading them into repentance by having her family sit in Sak-Kloth and ashes at the gates of the funerals. Wonderful interview you guys, you got the scoop.

  16. Thanks Lance… I was wondering where you were. As I have stated I was hoping to let her spew and not trying to argue too much (and when I did I am sure I flubbed it up) but nonetheless there was also the entertainment angle to be considered.As for the word “prostitute” her version (KJV) has only one reference in the whole Bible.And as you know…. she would have had an answer for any argument we would have brought anyway regarding scripture…so it didn’t seem to matter what I said (which was the point I was trying to make at the end).

  17. Man, you guys go from no podcast to this? Do you like to pee on electric fences?I can’t wait to get home tonight so I can listen to this one. It should be a classic!

  18. I haven’t listened to the whole thing (I’m at the 30-minute mark) but I wanted to comment already.Wow, first of all I’m surprised the kids aren’t home-schooled.I think Jeff’s absolutely right. The terrifying thing about the Phelps clan is that they <>aren’t<> far off from mainstream, fundamentalist, American evangelicalism. Like Jeff said, they just don’t hide it or sanitize it.The Phelps’ aren’t dangerous, because no-one takes them seriously. They picket funerals, after all, and that won’t win you any admirers (well, maybe a few, but we’ll leave the fringe out of this).You know who <>is<> dangerous? The Dobsons and the Driscolls. The guys who are acceptable to North American Christians who <>don’t<> think it’s OK to call people names and picket funerals. The guys who, in Dobson’s case, publish monthlies with copy that continually mainlines a conservative view on homosexuality (and abortion, though not birth control — yet) with absolutely no room for discussion.

  19. That lady is absolutely nuts. I wonder what she’ll think when she gets terminal cancer? Will it be a curse from God for her disobedience?

  20. That was absolutely amazing. I found it very amusing (and touching, in a way) how at first you were so nice with each other (particularly the hint that she was being nicer than her god would have been). I found that very intriguing, and I also very much enjoyed how you warned her away from Hell… You see, I truly appreciate God’s grace when I know that he even loves people like her. He’s much greater than I am 😀

  21. Yes, guys, great job.I loved Josh’s mostly ignored yet hilarious side bars.As I reflect on the Shirley’s of the world, my mind goes to Romans 8. Here’s and excerpt:<>1Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,[a] 2because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. 3For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature,[b] God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering.[c] And so he condemned sin in sinful man,[d] 4in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.<>And here’s the especially poigniant part that the Phelps-Roper-Freaky Florida-family just don’t get:<>15<>For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship.<>[g] And by him we cry, “Abba,[h] Father.” 16The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.<>

  22. God detests anyone who wears the clothing of the opposite sex (Deut 22:5).Here’s some things that called for the death penalty in the Old Testament:* Having sex while you still lived in your father’s house if you were female (Deut 22:21)* adultery (Deut 22:22)* being raped and not screaming for help if someone is in earshot (Deut 22:23-24)* a child cursing his or her parent (Lev 20:9)* taking the Lord’s name in vain (Lev 24:16)Here are some things that were called abominations:* Eating the flesh of a pig (Isaiah 66:17)* Anything living in the water that doesn’t have fins or scales (Lev 11:10)* Eating anything that creeps on the ground (Lev 11:41)* A woman who is divorced and sleeps with another man, then remarries her estranged husband (Deut 24:4)And check out these abominations:* Dishonest business practices (Deut 25:13-16; Prov 11:1 & 20:10)* Oppressive treatment of others and a haughty attitude (Prov 3:31-32)* a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked imaginations, feet that are swift to mischief, false witness, and sowing discord among bretheren (Prov 6:16-19)Didn’t hear many of these Scriptures from Shirley.

  23. Couldn’t agree with you more Jeff and Jenny. The interview has caused me to think long and hard about the points you have raised here. Much like it’s easy to go after Hinn, Tilton and others like them….the Shirley Ropers of the world are easy targets.Plenty of traditional evangelicals hold many of the same views as the Roper clan, just without so much venom. However (confession time) it wasn’t too many years ago (about 20) in Texas where yours truly held many of the same exact viewpoints (again w/o the venom)…. all gays were going to hell, people that weren’t So. Baptist were questionable to call themselves Christian (especially those Catholics), fiction books and movies were “of the devil”, and so on and so on… a real turn or burn mentality. It’s hard to believe I had so much piety in my life. And to a degree, I can find myself still fighting it today.I think the lesson of all this is to look at it in our own lives and to be repentant of our bigoted and un-Christlike views toward others. I certainly have thought about how it permeated my life in the past and how I still need to strive to be more sensitive, caring, and loving to those around me.This whole thing reminds me of my stories of the days we lived in CO and my run-ins with the Taliban-minded Focus people and their cronies. Some amazing stories to be told… such as when I interviewed for a job with Focus….or “hung out” with some members of the board at Focus who went to our church… or the time…. wow…. I could go on and on…. I am pissed just thinking about it all.

  24. I can’t help but thinking that Shirley in her heart is truly without love or compassion for the lost.If she really understood that God saved her, not by her own will or choice, then perhaps she might have true compassion for those who at this point of time have not been called from death (their sins) to life.Personally I can’t help but weep if I think to long about those who die in their sins, regardless if I know them or not.Shirley knows the scriptures, and so does Satan. I can’t help but think that she is being used as very active and effective tool of Satan, even though she “might” have a saving faith in Jesus. Dear Josh and Steve, once again you have a produced a podcast that I think you’ve meant to be funny, but God has used it again to show me truth, especially when challenged Shirley on her interpretation of the scriptures. Keep up the good works that God has prepared in advance for to do.Dan

  25. Hmmmmm…Wished I’d had the chance to feed you some questions to put to her, but never mind.Main biblical questions that the godhatesfags mob never get asked are….1 cor 6:9-10 clearly says that revilers (verbal abusers) won’t inherit the kingdom of heaven.What does the Westboro Baptist Church believe God will do to unrepentent revilers like them?Romans 2 clearly states that the moraliser is as guilty before God as those referred to in Romans 1 (Romans 1 is not a self-contained ‘chapter’ of Paul’s letter, but part of an argument that takes several ‘chapters’ to build to the point that all are sinful and reliant on Christ’s grace and mercy).Does the Westboro Baptist Church agree with Romans 2?There is more than one mention of prostitutes in the bible.Does the Westboro Baptist Church agree with Jesus when He says that the prostitutes and the tax collectors will enter the Kingdom of Heaven before the Pharisees?Pride is described as an ‘abomination’ in scripture..along with being ‘haughty’.Does Westboro Baptist Church believe the pride of its members will not go unpunished, as promised in Proverbs 16:5?Ezekiel 16 makes it clear that the sin of Sodom was not related to homosexuality, but the surfeit of wealth in Sodom (a Hebrew word for ‘burnt’ not related to anal intercourse) and Sodom’s inhospitality… The same chapter makes it clear that God was angrier with Jerusalem than with Sodom …and that God ended up promising to restore Sodom, because though sin angers God, God is a God of restoration and redemption, not condemnation.Does Westboro Baptist Church agree that God promised to restore Sodom?I must say, that Shirley is not unusual in her views among churchgoers.More vocal yes, but if you discuss homosexuality with the average churchgoer, particularly Christian women over 40, you will get exactly the same responses, the same change in personality from ‘lovely churchgoer’ to heartless bitch in 3 seconds flat.Press the average churchgoer or pastor for their views on gay people..and you will get the same instant change in demeanour.This is normal, I’m surprised Christians have been unaware of this.Queeradio

  26. I agree that the scary is that these ridiculous excuses for representatives of Christ (um hum: the Phelps clan) are not so far from converging with mainstream Fundamentalism. Anyone remember Bill Gothard? His seminar in <>Basic Youth Conflicts<> (later re-branded to the <>Seminar in Basic Life Principles<> taught an “evangelical talmud” to a couple of generations of unsuspecting, non-critically thinking uber-evanjellyfishers.Meanwhiles back at the “Gothard Ranch”, Bill’s brother was boinking no less than 7 of the fine young fillies in the “secratarial pool”.From: ( – the web site of a yet another fundy – see how they all fight we each other :))<>“On May 14, 1980, we as Board members were shocked to learn of the gross immorality that had prevailed for some time among the staff under Bill’s supervision as president. The disruption that followed adversely affected the lives of almost the entire staff and families associated with IBYC. Their confidence in Bill was shaken, and his credibility deteriorated rapidly in the wake of this tragedy. Steve Gothard (Bill’s younger brother) and the seven female employees with whom he has been involved sexually were dismissed immediately. If any of us assumed that this was the basic problem, we were soon made aware of the almost total loss of confidence by the staff in Bill as an administrator and teacher in the seminars. The basic charge: Bill does not practice what he teaches. By July, Bill’s leadership was bankrupt. On Saturday morning, July 5th, a member of the Gothard family shared in detail with the Board that Steve Gothard has also been deeply involved in pornography. The staff communicated to us that they could not conscientiously promote the seminars since Bill was not consistent with his message. This assertion is documented repeatedly by staff members as they resigned throughout the rest of the year. …” (Source: Miles J. Stanford, Gothardism: Charismatic & Covenant, 4/97, p. 4.)<>… so, these “fundy family dynasties” can produce some pretty nasty stuff under the covers. Just a thought.

  27. <>The Phelps clan is angry because daddy probably had a gay experience and later regretted it. He’s turning his hate for himself onto others.<>That thesis is as good as any, at least for the self-hating part.But I think this is far too much energy to spend on some fringe wackos who are better off ignored or, in the father’s case, in jail.

  28. Oh…look …entertainment value was there….no problem there.It was like… know how some people can speak English..and say…Chinese, and seeminglessly switch between the two…that Shirley could speak English and…umm…’Nutso’…and wasn’t aware when she was switching between the two languages, the one she speaks at home, and the language she’s learned in the community.An amazing insight into the mind of America’s freakiest family..and easily the interview of the year (in all media).

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