On Wednesday morning we woke to the tragic news that Perth born actor Heath Ledger had passed away in New York.
Since then we’ve heard that the members of Westboro Baptist Church intend picketing any memorial services held for Heath. They’re planning to shove their hate filled slogans in the faces of those who are grieving the loss of the talented Western Australian.
Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) is a controversial organization headed by Fred Phelps and based in Topeka, Kansas, U.S..
The small church runs numerous websites such as GodHatesFags.com, GodHatesAmerica.com and others expressing condemnation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people (LGBT), Roman Catholics, Muslims and Jews, as well as populations it believes are supporting the forementioned groups, including Swedes, Canadians, Irish, British, and Americans. – Wikipedia
Rev. Dr Ross Clifford, President of the Baptist Union of Australia, has issued a media statement saying that the intention of the members of Westboro Baptist Church in the US to picket memorial services for Heath Ledger is completely inappropriate. He has moved quickly to distance Baptist churches in Australia from the Kansas group which has gained attention over the past few years as little more than a hate group.
One person who has had first hand experience with Westboro Baptist is broadcaster and musician Mike Rayson. Mike hasbeen picketed by the group and he joined me on the line from the US this morning during my programme on 98.5 Sonshine FM.
I asked Mike about his experience with Westboro and what he believes our response should be to such groups. You can hear our conversation by clicking play on the audio player at the bottom of this post.
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