Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) and a spokesperson for Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) have condemned the Westboro Baptist Church for announcing they would protest the funerals of Harrisburg residents who died last week during a tornado.
The Westboro Baptist Church believes that God is punishing the United States because of America’s acceptance of homosexuality and has gained infamy for picketing the funerals of public figures and military members.
The church said it would picket in Illinois because the state is considering legislation that would restrict their ability to protest at funerals.
“I witnessed the devastation firsthand, and I know the people of Harrisburg are strong and resilient,” Shimkus said.” But protesting in the wake of disaster and at funerals is not appropriate. The citizens of Harrisburg should be allowed to mourn and rebuild their lives and community without this offensive distraction.”
“It is appalling that a group would use hateful and incendiary language against the grieving men and women who lost loved ones as a result of Wednesday morning’s storm in Harrisburg,” said a spokesperson from Kirk’s office. “The group should leave Illinois immediately and allow the residents of Harrisburg to grieve in peace.”
Whether they will actually make an appearance in Harrisburg is unknown. Recently, the church has failed to show up to funeral services numerous times after announcing they planned to do so. The church claimed to have picketed the funeral of singer Whitney Houston, but it was quickly revealed that they had only poorly altered a photo to make it look like they had.