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The notorious Westboro Baptist Church vowed to hold one of their colorful protests at late film critic Roger Ebert’s funeral, but the church never showed up.
Ebert drew the wrath of the notorious group because of a tweet he sent out on Mar. 25, a little over a week before he lost his battle with thyroid and salivary gland cancer.
Ebert wrote: “Just another day at Westboro Baptist.”
But what incited the church was the tweet’s attachment, a link to an article by Salon magazine.
The story was written by an openly gay journalist who willingly traveled to Topeka, Kansas to shadow a member of the WBC for a day. He sought to answer the questions, “Why do they believe homosexuality to be worse than other sin?....Why do they look like they’re having so much fun?”
The WBC responded in full force not to the article’s author, but indirectly to Ebert who had promoted it. They published a news release on their official website, godhatesf*gs.com, that announced they would be picketing the beloved film critic’s funeral this Monday.
In their release, they called Ebert a “f*g enabler” and an “entertainment industry publicity leech.”
They then went on to reference Luke 12:20 from the King James Bible, saying “Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: [now] whose shall [that silly vanity called a Pulitzer Prize] be, which thou has provided?”
The actual passage reads, “But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?"
They finished off with the certainty that Ebert was now burning in hell. “Now the famed critic is in a new jurisdiction, where he can see the blessings poured out on God's humble servants in heaven, from his seat of eternal torment & sorrow in Hell!”
But after all the bold type and even publishing the exact place and time they planned to protest Ebert’s funeral, the WBC never showed up.
The Chicago Tribune reported that the funeral went off without a hitch. Ebert’s wife, Chaz, said, “He would have loved this. He would have loved the majesty of it. He would have loved [that] we’re all here for him.”
She also said of her late husband, “He had a heart big enough to accept and love all,” while Ebert’s daughter later said, “He realized connecting with people is the main reason we’re here.”
This is a message that the Westboro Baptist Church does not preach. Led by Pastor Fred Phelps, the church’s forty members shamelessly picket at the funerals of gay soldiers killed in combat.
They also protested Michael Jackson’s funeral and announced their intention to picket Steve Jobs’ funeral via an iPhone.