Segments in this Video

Westboro Baptist Church (03:45)


Louis Theroux spends three weeks with the WBC, a Christian church best known for picketing soldiers' funerals with homophobic signs. Most of the church consists of members of the Phelps family. Shirley Phelps manages most daily church operations.

Church Picketing (04:23)

The WBC pickets funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, believing God killed them because the U.S. tolerates homosexuality; Theroux accompanies members to a funeral. Most states have laws regarding picketing, so church members must keep their distance from grieving families.

WBC Homestead (04:29)

About 70 members of the church live in one area of Topeka. Theroux asks Shirley whether the church is a cult. Her daughters, Megan and Bekah, share their beliefs with students at school and do not have friends outside of the church.

WBC and Excluded Members (03:42)

Theroux meets Jael, Shirley's niece, and asks about family members who are no longer part of the church. The church believes excluded members and anyone who does not believe in the Bible are going to hell. Jael and the other young women do not plan to marry because the end is near.

WBC Signs (04:15)

Steve Drain is one of the few members not born into the church. He manages online media and makes picket signs. The church pickets local organizations chosen by Fred Phelps.

WBC Prophet (03:41)

Fred gives a sermon, which Drain films for the church's website. Fred refuses to answer any of Theroux's questions about his family.

Children in WBC (04:49)

Shirley's children attend public schools because she believes they need to be members of the community. Children participate in the picket line, despite some being too young to understand what the signs mean.

WBC and Work (03:04)

Members work regular jobs and give 10% of their income to the church. Theroux goes with Megan to her law classes. He presses her on her beliefs about dating and making friends.

Hostility Toward WBC (02:22)

Theroux observes that hostility has made the Phelps a close-knit family. He begins to see the young members as victims of the church's hateful rhetoric.

WBC Beliefs (07:37)

Though church members are friendly with Theroux, they believe he is going to hell. Jael explains how members take comfort in the fact that others are going to hell. Theroux attends a service in the family chapel.

WBC Traveling Expenses (06:27)

The WBC has no interest in converting people and believes all the hate directed at them proves they are right. Theroux accompanies members to a soldier's funeral in Illinois. The church spends about $200,000 annually on travel.

WBC's Superiority Complex (03:13)

Theroux tries to talk with Drain about Fred's beliefs and how they shape the church. The WBC believes it is the only church that preaches the true word of god.

WBC Restrictions (05:30)

Theroux thinks the church's rules and beliefs restrict the lives of younger members. Jael began picketing at six and has grown up being treated the same by the outside world as everyone else in the church.

Credits: Louis Theroux: The Most Hated Family In America (00:57)

Credits: Louis Theroux: The Most Hated Family In America

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Louis Theroux: The Most Hated Family In America

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Chanting slogans like, "thank god for dead soldiers" and "fags die - god laughs" it is easy to comprehend why the Phelps have become the most hated family in America. This outlandish group will stop at nothing to get their moral message across even picketing soldier's funerals. The Phelps family, all 71 of them, live on a single block in a wealthy suburb of Topeka, Kansas and Louis Theroux moved right in! Along the way Theroux uncovers the peculiar and intense dynamics of this family that ironically embody the American dream yet simultaneously seek to destroy it for others. Living with these people was tough; as individuals they are hard to dislike - but as a group they hard to stomach.

Length: 59 minutes

Item#: FPT185614

ISBN: 978-1-64867-066-4

Copyright date: ©2007

Closed Captioned

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