Celebrate deadly storms? Westboro group must be mad

Published 11:52 pm Tuesday, May 7, 2013

It is almost unfathomable that Westboro Baptist Church plans to picket in Alabama next weekend.

The radical religious organization, deemed a hate group and monitored by both the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center, is best known for conducting anti-gay protests at military funerals, the organization pickets other celebrity funerals and public events that are likely to get it media attention.

And now, according to the church’s web site, its members plan to be in Alabama – among the reddest of the red states – on May 18 to picket the University of Alabama. The tornado that hit Tuscaloosa on April 27, 2011, was a warning from God, they said, “to turn from the sins of “fornication, adultery, sodomy, idolatry, greed and murder.”

“What they do wrong every day is proclaim their sin worse than Sodom. Every day,” the member who posted the group’s plans said. “You are proud of your sin, you parade it all over campus, you live it and breathe it and they teach it.”

It was the deadliest tornado outbreak in the United States since 1925. In Tuscaloosa alone, there were 36 deaths. And Westboro wants to cheer for that sober reality.

According to the group’s website, church members plan to use the protest to praise the tornado’s destruction and “remind them of the wrath of God that visited them two years ago.”

Westboro Baptist Church has attracted media attention in recent years for its extreme anti-gay beliefs, “God hates fags” picket signs and military funeral protests.

A University of Alabama spokeswoman said the University has not been contacted for a permit. Without a permit, the group could face legal consequences for a picket.

The Westboro spokeswoman said the University is one of many institutions of higher education in the nation that has become a “hotbed” for teaching proud sin.

“Surely, God must weep at such actions,” responded one minister.

It is difficult to ignore such zealots, although ignoring them would be the best reaction. If they stopped getting attention, surely they would stop, period.

As we are among the most conservative states in the union, politically, we wouldn’t expect to attract the attention of Westboro’s radicals.

But we also have a few radicals of our own, and many of them will take a picket at their beloved university quite seriously.

If indeed Westboro comes to Alabama, they might meet their match.