Minister of hate to "hunt down" Swedish king
Published: 25 Aug 2005 15:32 GMT+02:00
Updated: 25 Aug 2005 15:32 GMT+02:00
"We'll hunt down your king," he said ominously to Expressen. "It doesn't make any difference where he tries to hide."
Phelps' hatred of the royal family and all things Swedish is linked directly to his equally virulent hatred of homosexuals. He praises homophobic crimes, including murder. When controversial Swedish minister, Åke Green, was convicted of inciting hatred of homosexuals following an anti-gay sermon, Phelps saw red and turned his attention to Sweden.
"You're doomed to spend eternity in hell," he continued. "All you Swedes and your Swedish king and his family."
The minister and twenty members of his congregation from the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas, are planning to come to Sweden at the beginning of September. They are bringing plenty of placards in order to spread their message that Sweden is the cradle of all evil and that the king rules a nation of sodomites.
King Carl Gustaf is their primary target.
"Your king represents your doomed country and we'll find him wherever he may be."
Phelps claims that Sweden deserved to suffer in the Boxing Day tsunami catastrophe in southern Asia and has designed a monument to 'celebrate' the deaths of over 500 Swedes in Thailand.
The royal household regards the proposed visit as a serious risk and has increased security around the king and the royal family.
"We'll be informing Säpo of this," said royal spokeswoman, Ann-Christine Jernberg.
So, should Sweden laugh, cry or take Fred Phelps seriously? Expressen columnist, Lars Lindström, is in no doubt that this is no joke.
"If he were a cartoon character, I'd laugh. But now I just feel ill. Minister Fred Phelps has such extreme views that even the Christian far right in the USA feel a bit queasy."
Lindström argues that it isn't just singled out Sweden that's exercised about Phelps, but that he attracts a lot of attention in his home country.
"Phelps has eleven lawyers fighting for his constitutional right to cast the objects of his hatred to the fires of hell. To dismiss him as a village idiot is to take the easy way out."
"With friends like Fred Phelps, Åke Green doesn't need a single enemy," concludes Lindström.