God Hates Fags fanatics may picket Ledger funeral

The Westboro Baptist Church has declared its intention to protest at the funeral of actor Heath Ledger, who died yesterday.

The statement from the church is reproduced below.

28-year-old Ledger was best-known for his Oscar-nominated performance in gay-themed cowboy movie Brokeback Mountain.

Although the cause of death is unknown, a drugs overdose is suspected.

The Westboro Baptist Church, led by Fred Phelps, has generated publicity by protesting at the funerals of US service personnel killed in action.

They first came to prominence for picketing the funeral of murdered gay teen Matthew Shepard in 1998.

In a statement released today Mr Phelps announced his intention to picket Mr Ledger’s funeral and said:

“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 Mountain – and He hates all persons having anything whatsoever to do with it.

“Heath Ledger is now in Hell, and has begun serving his eternal sentence there – beside which, nothing else about Heath Ledger is relevant or consequential.”

It is as yet unknown if Mr Ledger will be laid to rest in his native Australia or in America.

While US laws regarding freedom of speech and assembly protects the Phelps’ and the tiny Westboro Baptist Church in their home country, it is unlikely that the Australian authorities would find their tactics acceptable.

Today Australia’s Prime Minister paid tribute to Mr Ledger:

“It is tragic that we have lost one of our nation’s finest actors in the prime of his life,” he said.

“Heath Ledger’s diverse and challenging roles will be remembered as some of the great performances by an Australian actor.”

Australian actors Mel Gibson, Cate Blanchett and Nicole Kidman also expressed their shock at the loss of such a considerable talent.

I had such great hope for him,” said Gibson, who cast Heath Ledger in The Patriot, said. #

“He was just taking off and to lose his life at such a young age is a tragic loss. My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.”

The Westboro Baptist church operates a website called GodHatesFags and have protested at over 100 funerals of soldiers killed in the line of duty in Iraq.

Their campaign, called “Thank God for Improvised Explosive Devices” involves protesters holding up signs and chanting slogans such as “God Hates Fags,” “America is Doomed” and “Thank God for Dead Soldiers” at the widows of the servicemen.