Elizabeth Taylor's Friends Tell Hate Church to 'Bring It On'
By Rob Shuter Posted Mar 24th 2011 08:55AM
When Westboro Baptist Church spokeswoman Margie Phelps slithered onto Twitter on Wednesday to announce plans to protest Elizabeth Taylor's funeral, many were horrified, but not Dame Liz's vigilant friends. They say, "Bring it on!"
"Elizabeth spent her whole life fighting for what's right, and it looks like it will be no different now that she's gone," a close friend of the actress tells me.
Confidants correctly point out that the acting legend took on battling HIV and AIDS when there was still a huge amount of fear and stigma attached to the disease and those affected. That the yahoos at Westboro plan to publicly mock her compassion and dedication has only emboldened her friends.
"The only thing that would sadden Elizabeth about this protest was she still wasn't around to fight the ignorance and hate that still exists," the friend says. "But she need not worry. We have all her friends and family to continue her work for her."
The Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church, led by Rev. Fred Phelps, has been making headlines for years by turning up at more than 800 funerals with signs reading "Thank God For Dead Soldiers" and others that say "God Hates You."
Yesterday, Margie Phelps repeatedly stated the group will "picket the funeral," but now she's saying they'll be "picketing the pep rally." This is central to the legal arguments that unfolded when the lawsuit of a dead soldier's family reached the U.S. Supreme Court. That led to a sweeping 8-1 ruling on March 2 in favor of Westboro's free speech defense.
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The case ruled that Westboro protesters address issues of public concern -- that the "you" on their "God Hates You" signs was not a reference to one person but rather that God hates all sinners.
"Elizabeth would be the first to acknowledge that freedoms don't just exist when it's convenient," another friend of the late actress tells me. "But we have a voice, too. Don't get angry, get even. The best way to oppose these people is to make a donation to The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation."
Which is exactly what I just did RIGHT HERE.
Liz Taylor Snapshots
British born actor Elizabeth Taylor and her fourth husband American singer and actor Eddie Fisher arrive at a formal event, c. 1962. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
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