Lane Bryant Victims' Funerals Are No Place For Bigots
Chicago, Il, February 8, 2008 ... The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), responding to the Westboro Baptists Church's plan to turn the funerals of two of the five Lane Bryant shooting victims into a homophobic spectacle, said the funerals "are an inappropriate place for haters, and especially a gay basher like Fred Phelps".
Phelps and his virulently homophobic church have vowed to picket the funerals of two victims of the Lane Bryant Shootings on February 9th. The church's website lists the upcoming protests at the funerals for Sarah Szafranski, 22, and Connie Woolfolk, 37, who were among five women brutally gunned down Saturday at a Lane Bryant clothing store in Tinely Park. A spokesperson for the church stated that they believed all high-profile tragedies proved God was sending his wrath onto America for its tacit support of gay rights.
"The unexplainable brutal massacre of these innocent young women demands the utmost respect and sensitivity from the public. Their funerals are an inappropriate place for haters, and especially a gay basher like Fred Phelps. It is appalling that the Westboro Baptist Church would attempt to turn their untimely deaths into a vicious homophobic spectacle," said Lonnie Nasatir, ADL Chicago Regional Director.
Since the summer of 2005, the Topeka, Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church has picketed the funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan with placards reading "Thank God for Dead Soldiers." Phelps believes that soldiers represent a nation tolerant of homosexuality, and their deaths are God's punishment for their sins. The group also routinely rails against Jews, Catholics, and other minority faiths.
In October 2007, a federal court ordered the group to pay $11 million to the father of a slain Marine after it was found liable of violating a right to privacy and inflicting intentional emotional distress.
Members of the WBC first gained national notoriety when they appeared at the funeral of gay murder victim Matthew Shepard bearing signs reading "No Fags in Heaven" and "God Hates Fags".
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.