Studio City News
Church To Protest Stallone Funeral
By Charlie Golestani
Jul 16, 2012 - 5:03:10 PM

STUDIO CITYThe always enigmatic Westboro Baptist Church, known to aim its ire wherever the mood strikes, was prompted to action by one leader who called for the picketing of Sage Stallone’s funeral.
A member of the church holding one of their less vulgar signs. Courtesy of the Westboro Baptist Church

Margie Phelps, daughter of church founder Fred Phelps Sr., tweeted from her personal account July 13 the incendiary remarks of “Whoring dad,” in reference to the elder Stallone, “selfishly drove him to mock God&to his death,” [sic] after the news that Sage, son of actor Sylvester Stallone, had been found dead.

The Kansas ministry, which labels itself as “Primitive Baptist” according to its website, lashed out at Stallone most likely for its own hard-line “no divorce” policy. Of Stallone himself, who has been married three times, Phelps wrote, “Thrice-married rebel taught his son to mock God.”

The group’s official stance is that all suffering is the result of man’s tolerance toward groups the church finds morally reprehensible, such as homosexuals, and is known for picketing armed forces funerals, touting signs with slogans like “Thank God for Dead Soldiers.”

Their agenda and dogma have been labeled as hate speech by some.

“Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) is arguably the most obnoxious and rabid hate group in America,” stated in a profile from the Southern Poverty Law Center, a non-profit organization begun by civil rights attorneys Morris Dees and Joseph Levin Jr.  “The group is basically a family-based cult of personality built around its patriarch, Fred Phelps,” the profile continues, citing the congregation’s largely familial demographic.

However, the findings of a 2010 Supreme Court case which pitted the father of Marine Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder, outside whose funeral the group chanted for 30 minutes, against the church, reserved Westboro’s right to picket.

“’The overall thrust and dominant theme of [their] demonstration spoke to’ broad public issues,” stated Justice Samuel Alito, and was therefore, protected under the First Amendment.

While no official details of the funeral have been released, some are already examining the possibility of a “human wall,” a tactic used at the July 5 ceremony of deceased Lt. Col. Roy Tisdale, in which over 600 Texas A&M students formed a barrier with their bodies to insulate the funeral from Westboro members who planned to attend.  The group never showed.

“Block Westboro Baptist hatred from Sage Stallone’s funeral,” one spectator encouraged via tweeter.

Sage was found dead in his Studio City home on Friday, July 16. The cause of death is still unknown, and while an autopsy has been completed, the results of a toxicology report will not return for four to six weeks. He was 36.

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