But will Dunham's Dummies make them smart?
COLUMBIA, Mo 2/11/14 (Op Ed) -- What do comedy-ventriloquist Jeff Dunham; Lady Antebellum; St. Timothy Lutheran Church; Lakewood First United Methodist Church; St. Pancratius Catholic Church; the 86th Annual Academy Awards; and University of Missouri defensive end Michael Sam have in common?
They're all on the Westboro Baptist Church Feb.-March picket roster, at the unfortunately-named website www.godhatesfags.com
Don't tell his puppets (especially old Walter, left), but "Jeff Dunham would not be where he is today if he didn't bow down before the golden calf of the sodomites," Westboro explains. They plan to protest Dunham's show at the Kansas City Sprint Center Thursday.
Lady Antebellum is encouraging her listeners toward Godly disobedience in favor of "military, flags, and lust." (Interesting combination.)
And all those churches, mostly based in California? "Filthy Lutheran preachers who chase after sin as fast as they can," the group writes. What happened to a little professional courtesy?
Michael Sam, as many readers probably know, came out. More than anything else, Westboro Baptist does not like that!
If it all weren't so offensive, the situation would be tailor-made for a Stephen Colbert script, or great fodder for Dunham and his cast of cynical, goofy, disarming puppets. I can just hear Bubba J trying to convince the church that drinking beer all day is his religion. Or Achmed the Dead Terrorist, explaining how to be a REAL religious fanatic.
At this point, though, it's offensive enough that Facebook groups including One Wall, One Mizzou: Stand with Sam, and Black and Gold Wall for Michael Sam have formed to protest the protest, scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 15, 12:30 pm - 3:30.
"A respectful human wall," the groups envision. "Single line, arm in arm. A sign of One Mizzou."
Infamous for its inappropriate funeral disruptions, the Topeka, KS-based "church" also plans to picket the funeral of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, who died earlier this month after a heroin overdose. The Westboro clan may be less concerned with Hoffman's drug use than it is with his 2006 portrayal of gay author Truman Capote. They Tweeted their disdain the day Hoffman died.
"REPENT OR PERISH!!" Westboro warns Sam, meanwhile, in a two-paragraph screed that's so over-the-top it's unintended self-parody. The Call to Salvation, such as it is, sounds more like Lucifer's publicists wrote it, not St. Peter's gatekeepers. Forget honey. Westboro's approach is like trying to lure bees with sulfuric acid.
But then again, it's likely not about salvation anyway.
After castigating Sam, Westboro goes for the plug: "Columbia, Missouri is now in an uproar, not because the media spotlight is on them for having a proud fag in their midst, but because Westboro announced their intention to come warn you."
Seems like Westboro is more about chasing celebrities than saving souls. Salvation is just a front, like a fake ID that gets you past the doorman. "You can form all the counter protests, and walls you want to attempt to block our message and it won't change anything," Westboro warns Sam's many fans.
"Shut the hell up!" That was Walter. "Amateurs! They don't know the beezniss at all." And Achmed. Peanut, Bubba J, Jose Jalapeno -- they're all chiming in now.
And word has it Dunham is adding a new character to his act: a golden calf with the sweetest little voice named "Heavenly."
What has Westboro Baptist gotten itself into?