(RNS) A Southern Baptist pastor who called for prayers for the death of President Obama is now planning prayers against anti-gay protesters from Westboro Baptist Church.
The Topeka, Kan., church led by Pastor Fred Phelps protests prominent funerals, and was planning to protest services for victims of Saturday’s massacre in Tucson, Ariz., until it opted for radio time instead.
“He’s embarrassing the Christian community,” Pastor Wiley Drake of Buena Park, Calif., said Thursday (Jan. 13) of Phelps. “He’s also embarrassing those of us who are proud to be called Baptist and what he is doing is very un-Christian and very un-Baptist.”
Drake, once an assistant leader of the Southern Baptist Convention, has announced a Friday conference call to discuss whether “imprecatory prayers”—which seek God’s punishment—are appropriate for Phelps and his church, which is not affiliated with any mainstream Baptist group.
But the California pastor has already decided that if general agreement can’t be reached, he will send a personal letter asking the church to “cease and desist” from its protests or he will start the prayers daily on Feb. 1.
Drake, who has targeted church-state separationists in the past, said he currently has no one on his imprecatory prayer list.
Shirley Phelps-Roper, a spokeswoman for the Kansas church, said its members remain undeterred. “God does not hear the prayers of those wicked,” she said. “They’re wasting their time.”
She said the church had canceled protests plans and opted for interviews with New York-based broadcaster Mike Gallagher on two other occasions—after the killing of Amish schoolgirls in 2006 and the massacre at Virginia Tech the next year.