They've targeted everyone from country singer Vince Gill to military funerals, Taylor Swift to Katy Perry's "Roar." Now the Westboro Baptist Church has turned their hatred against former House Speaker Tom Foley.
The church, which has gained infamy for picketing funerals of servicemen killed in action with signs that read, "Thank God for dead soldiers" and "God blew up the troops" because they believe God is punishing the United States for the "sin of homosexuality," posted a flier to its website this week saying it would be picketing Foley's memorial service Friday at Gonzaga University.
The justification for their protest was their claim that the government was a "corrupt cesspool of idolatry" during Foley's tenure as Speaker of the House, and they went on to claim he was a "pro-abortion (murder) Catholic (pedophile enabler)."
The flier concludes by claiming that "Tom Foley is in Hell."
Foley, 84, died on Oct. 18 from complications from strokes he had suffered. First elected to Congress in 1964, Foley served the Fifth Congressional District for 30 years and was Speaker of the House, from 1989 until 1995. Following his re-election defeat to George Nethercutt in 1994 during the "Republican Revolution," Foley served as Ambassador to Japan from 1997 through 2001.
The public memorial for Foley is scheduled to be held this Friday at St. Aloysius Church at 11 a.m.
This won't be the first time the notorious group has swung through the Inland Northwest to peddle hate. In 2010, church members did a two-day blitz of protests at Eastern Washington University, Gonzaga University, a Spokane synagogue and several high schools in Spokane and Coeur d'Alene.
The group was met with a flurry of counter-protests, both organized and impromptu, wherever they showed up and hauled out their hatred, one sign at a time.
When contacted about the potential for members of the church protesting the service, Spokane Police Department spokesperson Monique Cotton said an operations plan for large scale events, such as Speaker Foley's memorial service, would be used on Friday and they already planned to have officers on-site at the church prior to Westboro's protest announcement.
The police department is aware of Westboro's plans and Cotton said it would take "proper precautions to ensure the event is safe."
Following the protest at Foley's memorial, the group next plans to target the Selena Gomez concert on Nov. 17 in Kansas City, MO.