Hate Church To Picket Ledger's Funeral

Wed. January 23, 2008 12:00 AM by Kevin Wayne

Topeka, KS - Members of Fred Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas plan to picket the funeral of actor Heath Ledger with signs claiming the actor died and is in Hell because he played a gay character in "Brokeback Mountain."

The church Web site displays a bulletin that reads : "Heath Ledger thought it was great fun defying God Almighty and His plain word; to wit: God Hates Fags! & Fag-Enablers! Ergo, God hates the sordid, tacky bucket of slime seasoned with vomit known as 'Brokeback Moutain' Heath Ledger is now in Hell, and has begin serving his eternal sentence there."

Westboro Baptist Church, is not affiliated with a larger denomination and is made up mostly of Fred Phelps' extended family members. Phelps and his church gained national attention when they protested at the funeral of Matthew Shephard with signs that read "No Fags in Heaven" and "God Hates Fags."

Recently the radical church group has been known for picketing the funerals of soldiers who perished in Iraq. Last year a Baltimore jury awarded the father of a Marine whose funeral was targeted by Fred Phelps' group nearly $11m in damages.

The funeral protests have lead 22 states, including Illinois, to enact or propose laws to limit the rights of protesters at funerals.

Westboro Baptist Church is also known to condemn Muslims, Roman Catholics and Jews.

According to published media reports, The Southern Poverty Law Center classifies the church as a hate group and the organization is monitored by the Anti-Defamation League.