The Westboro Baptist Church has made headlines across the country with its controversial stance that God is killing American troops overseas as a punishment for homosexuality. The group has staged protests at soldiers’ funerals for years, and Saturday morning will stage a protest in La Junta, during the funeral of Staff Sgt. Robert Cowdrey.
Cowdrey was killed Oct. 13 in Afghanistan, according to The Pueblo Chieftain.
A vitriolic press release from the Kansas-based Westboro Church reads, “God Hates America and is killing our troops in his wrath. Military funerals have become pagan orgies of idolatrous blasphemy, where they pray to the dunghill gods of Sodom and play taps to a fallen fool.”
“These soldiers are dying for the homosexual and other sins of America. God is now America’s enemy, and God himself is fighting against America. Thank God for IEDs.”
IED is short for Improvised Explosive Device, a tool akin to land mines that is used by the Taliban to kill American troops.
The Westboro press release said their “message” will be “preached in a respectful, lawful proximity” at Cowdrey’s funeral.
According to The Chieftain story, the town of La Junta is promising a “dignified and solemn” memorial service for Cowdrey, and that it doesn’t expect Westboro to seriously affect the ceremony.
“We are going to do our best to honor Sgt. Cowdrey’s family and our military during this funeral,” City Manager Rick Klein told The Chieftain. “This is the first time we have had a military funeral in La Junta. I just want to honor the Cowdrey family and the military with a proper burial.”
According to Westboro’s Web site, www.godhatesfags.com, the group has been picketing soldier funerals since 1991.
This is not the first time the Westboro Church has come to Colorado. In Sept. 2010, the group picketed the funeral of another soldier who died in Afghanistan. The protest was met with a protest of its own, by Army wives who had organized against Westboro.
Westboro also protested the funeral of Apple CEO Steve Jobs earlier this month. Washington Post writer Elizabeth Tenety noted ironically that the protest was announced via iPhone, by Margie Phelps, the daughter of Fred Phelps, who founded Westboro.