A spokeswoman for the radio network that carries conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh's radio program has stated that they will reject any ads submitted by Westboro Baptist Church.
"Premiere Networks is not considering an offer of sponsorship from Westboro Baptist Church," said Rachel Nelson, public relations director for Premiere Networks, which carries Limbaugh's three hour program, in a statement given to the press.
Hatewatch, a blog overseen by the Southern Poverty Law Center, has been tracking the story since last week when Westboro first offered an ad for Limbaugh's radio program.
Mark Potok, editor of the Hatewatch blog and a senior fellow at the SPLC, told The Christian Post hat according to a Westboro spokesman, the initial offer came because WBC felt they had common ideological ground with Limbaugh.
"Westboro's Steve Drain told us that the church sees natural affinities between its views and those of Rush Limbaugh. The church sees Limbaugh as anti-gay, and that is part of that affinity," said Potok.
"The other part, as Drain says in our report, is that Westboro, like Limbaugh, is happy to describe Sandra Fluke as a 'slut.' And, Drain adds, 'God hates sluts.'"
With Premiere rejecting any Westboro ads, Potok felt that Limbaugh's show would now be safe from being canceled or losing still more sponsors.
"Now that Premiere Networks had definitively rejected Westboro, I do not think it will affect his listeners much," said Potok.
"If Premiere had actually aired a Westboro ad, I believe it would have been the end of the show; whatever advertisers Limbaugh had left would have fled immediately."
Limbaugh has rarely devoted time to Westboro on his program. In a March 2011 broadcast, Limbaugh referred to Westboro as having "anti-American rhetoric" and "anti-soldier rhetoric."
"I mean, they're out there with the same anti-American rhetoric, anti-soldier rhetoric," said Limbaugh. "How come it can't be said that what they're doing is somewhat responsible for attacks on American soldiers around the world."
In August 2010, Limbaugh compared the people who wanted to build the "Ground Zero Mosque" to Westboro members who protested at military funerals.
"There's no difference in these guys and carrying signs like the Westboro gang at dead soldiers' funerals, mocking it," said Limbaugh.
In late February, Limbaugh devoted much of his radio program to attacking the moral character of Sandra Fluke, a graduate student who testified before Congress in favor of President Barack Obama's controversial contraception mandate.
Referring to her as a "slut" and "prostitute," Limbaugh later apologized to Fluke for his rhetoric as several businesses pulled their ads from his radio program. Fluke did not consider the apology to be sincere and advertisers have continued to pull their support from Limbaugh's program.
Westboro Baptist Church is led by Fred Phelps and comprised mainly of Phelps' family members. The notorious church is unaffiliated with any Baptist denomination.