By June Hunt
A press release on the website of Westboro Baptist Church reads: “Thank God for 14 more dead troops. We are praying for 14,000 more.”¹ Strident members of this small Midwestern church (not affiliated with any Baptist denomination, despite its name) believe God is angry with America for tolerating homosexuality … therefore, God is killing off the military and causing natural disasters. Church members refer to these tragedies as GodSmacks, delivered by a vengeful sovereign who hates sinners.
Meanwhile, Westboro’s hypercritical words and ways are deeply disturbing to most people. For example, church members picket the funerals of dead servicemen and women while holding signs that read “Pray for More Dead Soldiers.” According to their website, members have participated in more than 47,000 pickets in over 850 cities in the past two decades.²