Does God Hate Elizabeth Edwards?

The Westboro Baptist Church, pretty much universally hated on all sides of the political spectrum, is outdoing itself this morning with its plan to picket the Saturday funeral of Elizabeth Edwards, estranged wife of once Presidential hopeful John Edwards, who died Tuesday after a long battle with breast cancer.

And just when I thought I couldn't hate Westboro Church any more ... look! Now I do!

The Kansas-based church, whose website is (classy!), has released a press release for Elizabeth Edwards' funeral it calls "God Hates Elizabeth Edwards" and plans to picket her funeral.

Delightful. I'm pretty sure I know who God hates more than Elizabeth Edwards ...


Since the church, which is run by Fred Phelps, hates homosexuals (couldn't tell from the name?) and regularly pickets the funerals of servicemen all over the country, it isn't shocking that it would do such a thing, but what is shocking is the reason: The church accuses Edwards of orphaning her children on purpose because she "coveted things" and God punished her.

But who does God really hate?

Consider this:

Elizabeth Edwards spread love -- buying a Christmas present last year for the love child of the man who betrayed her with Rielle Hunter; writing letters to the children she was leaving too soon so that they might know how to choose a mate and make life choices without her; keeping her son Wade's memory alive after he was killed in a car accident by starting the Wade Edwards Foundation to better other children's futures after her own son's was taken away.

Edwards loved and defended her family, but she did more than that. She was strong and capable, smart and funny. She wasn't just the woman behind the man, she was a force in her own right, a good lawyer whose values were part of what made John Edwards into the compassionate politician he was. Obviously, he soiled that with his Rielle Hunter affair, but it doesn't change the fundamental fact that the couple cared for others who were less fortunate than them and worked hard to make a difference, their personal issues aside.

Meanwhile, the Westboro Church spends all of its time telling the world -- and grieving loved ones -- that God hates them. It's so sanctimonious and sure of its own salvation that the members walk around spreading God's hate as if they're the sole recipients of his love. They tell grieving children that their mother is in hell and left them on purpose.

Now, I'm not a religious person -- or a lawyer -- but in the case of Edwards vs. Westboro, it's pretty clear who God would hate.

Of course, I prefer not to see God that way. I prefer love to think of him/her as loving and forgiving, capable of changing people, even people as wayward and pathetic as Fred Phelps. In the meantime, I hope the 45-minute protest Phelps and followers have set for before the funeral starts (in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina) is sparsely attended and treated with the same condemnation they show so liberally to others.

Do you think they should be allowed to picket funerals?


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