A small religious community from Kansas notorious for picketing funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq have said they are to protest in England.
Westboro Baptist Church is led by Rev Fred Phelps.
Among the events on the ‘picket schedule’ on their website godhatesfags.com is a performance of The Laramie Project in Basingstoke next week.
“In Merry Old England they plan to further enrage the Living God by putting on the farce known commonly as The Laramie Project.
“We will picket them, and see if they actually believe those lies they tell about how tolerant and accepting Brits are.
“RIIIIGHT! Just because you rage against God and make laws that say you cannot use “hate speech” (a/k/a – you may not speak of the Bible standards) in the UK does NOT mean you will not get the message that God Almighty intends for you to get.
“God Hates England; Your Queen Is A Whore; You Hate God; God Hates You; You’re Going to Hell; Matt Is In Hell; Hell Is Real Ask Matt; God Hates Fags (Buggers); Obey God, etc.
“Some of the best Bible preaching in the history of the world came out of that dark dismal land, but now it is full of all abominations!
“God will shortly destroy the UK and the world, but not until they have gotten the plain, clear message so that they will be WITHOUT EXCUSE!”
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This latest rant is unlikely to lead to an actual protest – in any case causing fear or distress is a public order offence in England.
In the US, Westboro protesters have first amendment rights to freedom of speech.
The church members, who are mostly relations of Mr Phelps, regularly picket funerals claiming the deaths are God’s punishment for the country’s support of homosexuals.
They have caused so much distress picketing at funerals of soldiers killed in action that they have been restricted from doing so in 22 states.
The group first came to prominence more than a decade ago when they protested a the funeral of murdered gay man Matthew Shepard.
In October 1998 Matthew was kidnapped, severely beaten and left to die, tied to a fence on the outskirts of Laramie, Wyoming.
Five weeks later members of the Tectonic Theatre Project went to Laramie, and over the course of the next year, conducted more than 200 interviews with people of the town.
From these interviews they wrote the play The Laramie Project, a chronicle of the life of the town in the year after the murder.
Westboro Baptist Church, based in Topeka, Kansas, runs numerous websites such as GodHatesFags.com, GodHatesAmerica.com and others expressing condemnation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, Roman Catholics, Muslims and Jews.