A Kansas-based extremist group known for protesting funerals has announced that they intend to protest at the funeral of a recently deceased cast member of the hit TV-series "Glee."
Westboro Baptist Church, an anti-gay group unaffiliated with any Baptist denomination, stated via their Twitter handle their intention to protest Cory Monteith's funeral. A native of Canada, Monteith had several small roles on various TV programs until breaking out in "Glee" as football-player-turned-singer Finn Hudson.
Last weekend the 31-year-old actor was found dead at a hotel in Vancouver due to as yet undetermined circumstances. Police do not suspect foul play.
Monteith himself was known for having a history of drug problems and had recently entered rehab with the support of his girlfriend and fellow Glee cast member, Lea Michele.
In Tweets directed towards Glee cast members, the Fred Phelps-led group stated "Westboro Baptist Church is GLEE-ful over God's righteous judgment to end @CoryMonteith's life! Funeral picket soon!"
"Westboro praises God for his righteous judgments. Hell won't be gleeful for #CoryMonteith - he taught millions to sin," reads another Tweet from Westboro.
In addition to Monteith, several weeks ago Westboro Baptist also promised to protest the funerals of the 19 firefighters of Yarnell, Arizona, who recently died fighting a wildfire.
Despite the frequent vows to protest certain funerals, on many occasions WBC has failed to show up. For example, Westboro has in the past promised to protest the funerals of film critic Roger Ebert, online activist Aaron Swartz, and singer Whitney Houston. However no one reported any Westboro members being present at those funerals.
One thing that could interfere with Westboro Baptist's plans may be the very location of the Monteith funeral. As a native of Canada, it is possible Monteith's funeral service will be held there. In the past, the Canadian government has banned WBC from even entering their country due to the content of WBC's message.
Back in 2008, Westboro sought entry into the country to protest the funeral of a Winnipeg man killed on a Greyhound bus. According to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the government sought to prevent their entry.
"Canadian border guards are under orders to prevent members of the Westboro Baptist Church, a controversial Kansas-based sect, from entering the country," said the CBC in August 2008.
"Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day's office sent an alert to border patrol to 'look out' for people with signs and pamphlets consistent with the messages that the church promotes and to keep them out of the country."