The Westboro Baptist Church, an extremist congregation based in Topeka, Kansas, announced Wednesday that it would picket the funerals of two of the three victims of Sunday’s shooting at a Jewish Community Center in Overland Park.
The church, which is considered a “homophobic, anti-Semitic hate group” by the Anti-Defamation League, is infamous for picketing the funerals of American servicemen killed in Afghanistan and Iraq and for its vocal anti-homosexual position.
“WBC will picket the funeral of William Corporon and Reat Underwood in religious protest and warning,” the church announced on its web-page godhatesfags.com. Terming the shooting at the Jewish institution a divine reminder that America has “sinned away her day of grace,” the church said that such funerals have become “pagan orgies where they worship these corpses instead of the Lord their God.”
“The lord God killed these people with his own hand. He appoints the time when each of us is born and when each of us dies. You must ask ‘why now?’ for these victims. WBC will gladly answer: ‘For the sins of this vile nation.’” The church also tweeted a flyer explaining its rationale for the picket to a number of Jewish personalities, including Jewish Agency spokesman Avi Mayer.
Calling those mourning Corporon and Underwood “faux-Christians” who are part of a “filthy community,” the WBC flyer blamed the shooting on gay marriage and “filthy fags” before calling on Twitter users to “repent or perish” and “give God the glory.”
The funeral of Dr. William Lewis Corporon and his grandson Reat Griffin Underwood, neither of whom was Jewish, will be held on Friday at the Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas.
In response to the WBC’s tweets, a Facebook group calling itself the “Do Jewish” movement has called for a silent, non-harmful, non-confrontational gathering outside the funeral in which they would stand in prayer, wearing phylacteries and prayer shawls.
“Whatever way you choose to pray it must be non-violent, non-combative or offensive.
We are not here to protest against anything, we are gathering here to express pride in our Judaism and our love for the community both Jewish and non-Jewish,” organizers wrote on Facebook.
As of Wednesday morning, 161 people have already signed-up to attend the Jewish prayer rally and “counter-protest” outside of the funeral.
Writing on the Do Jewish Facebook page, organizer Alex Brown slammed the WBC, saying that the group was “quick to applaud the former Grand Dragon of the KKK after he went on a shooting rampage and killed three innocent people, all on targeted Jewish facilities.”
“Now I don’t know the victims or the families personally but I will always stand up for Judaism,” he said.