Not known for their outreach efforts, the members of the controversial Westboro Baptist Church, based in Topeka, Kan., have announced a plan to team up with anti-abortion group 40 Days for Life. 40 Days for Life, which will begin its bi-annual 40-day vigil on February 13, has expressed excitement at having the opportunity to work alongside one of the United States’ most vocal religious leaders.
“These guys know how to get the attention of the American people,” explained David Bereit, National Director of 40 Days for Life. “If there’s one thing we care about, it’s getting known – oh, and of course saving the lives of the innocent.”
The two groups apparently first met in October of 2012, when their protesting schedules overlapped in Knoxville, TN. Westboro was in town to protest the funeral of Shan Lively, a medic with the Army 844th Engineering Battalion in Knoxville, when Shirley Phelps-Roper, spokesperson for the Westboro Baptist Church, mistook protesters outside the Cherry Street Planned Parenthood in Knoxville.
“They were all holding up signs with bold letters and shouting mindlessly at people nearby,” said Phelps-Roper. “I thought the protest was supposed to be the next day, and for a second I thought I’d missed the memo!”
Lisa Morris, a leader in the Knoxville chapter of 40 Days for Life, recalls the encounter.
“This woman walked up to me, and I thought I recognized her,” said Morris. “For a second I thought she was going to start arguing with me, then she said, ‘Thank God for killing abortion-enabling, fag-loving soldiers,’ and I knew we were going to be friends.”
The two groups anticipate an exceptionally cohesive campaign, and leaders from both groups think the other will complement their efforts.
“We’re both about tormenting people in the lowest points of their lives,” said Shawn Carney, Campaign Director for 40 Days for Life. “We look forward to the notoriety Westboro will bring to our cause.”
Despite the high spirits at the prospect of the campaign, some Westboro members have expressed apprehension at joining forces with 40 Days for Life.
“I think this is a great idea; I just hope I don’t have to hold up any signs with pictures of dead babies,” said Lee Ann Phelps, member of Westboro Baptist Church. “That’s just in bad taste.”
*Note: This post is satire, but it almost seems like it could happen, doesn’t it?