Paul Walker’s tragic death over the weekend shocked his fans, friends and family, and now his funeral may not be peaceful. In fact, it may be facing disaster because the Westboro Baptist Church is planning a protest and will picket at the funeral site. The Westboro Baptist Church is known for picketing the funerals of the deceased, often citing complex reasons having to do with God being angry at the departed.
In this instance, the church Tweeted out their plans thusly: “The furious God cut off Paul Walker! Thank God for his condign wrath! WBC to picket funeral. @realpaulwalker #teampw.” They also placed a link to a picture of Walker. They later tweeted “Perfect, @tmz! Paul Walker taught a nation to be fast and furious. He died that same way. #GodIsNotMocked #WhosNext?” They also included a link to a “news” article they wrote which quotes “God” speaking directly to Walker: “God Almighty to Paul Walker: “Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee.” The “news” item went on to say, “Paul served himself and the gods of this world (money, fame, excess of riot, etc.) while refusing to serve His Creator and use his platform to encourage his neighbors to do the same. He’s in Hell and Westboro will #picketfuneral.”
The church then created a disturbing video of two young children sending two cars down a track with the phrases “God hates fags” and “don’t worship the dead.” Later, they took to Twitter once again to express their extreme joy at Paul Walker’s untimely death: “YES! We rejoice when we see God’s judgments: #Glasgow Helicopter #PaulWalker & NYCTrainDerailment! We wash our feet in their blood. Psa 58:10.”
The Westboro Baptist Church leader is Fred Phelps. He has been organizing his congregation in picketing funerals for at least 15 years, and first came to be known in the mainstream media after picketing the funeral of Matthew Shepard in 1998. Shepard was a gay youth who was savagely murdered in a hate crime. His family was deeply shocked and devastated by his death, and the presence of the church at Shepard’s funeral greatly compounded that pain. Now, Paul Walker’s family will be forced to suffer the same pain and suffering at Walker’s funeral as that of the families of all of the church’s deceased victims.
The church spends a lot of time picketing not only funerals, but also any occasion they feel warrants a protest. They offer a comprehensive schedule of all of their upcoming protests at their website called God Hates Fags. Upcoming protests include many celebrities such as Kanye West, Usher and Drake. The church members are particularly fond of picketing the funerals of U.S. soldiers who have been killed in action. While the church has been met with many protests and lawsuits, their actions have been continually upheld under free speech laws in the U.S.
Paul Walker’s funeral is facing disaster as the Westboro Baptist Church plans a protest and picketing. Perhaps some action can be taken to protect his friends and family from seeing the church’s picket signs, such as in the past when counter-protestors have protected soldiers’ families from the church by forming a protective barrier around the funeral site. Walker’s funeral date has yet to be released, but we will keep you posted on this developing story.
By: Rebecca Savastio