Aussie comedian Adam Hills has reneged on his promise to send the members of the Westboro Baptist Church to Iraq, but it’s for a better deal.
The 40-year-old TV presenter expressed his dismay at the controversial U.S. religious cult for announcing its intention to picket the late Robin Williams’ funeral.
“Regardless of your religious beliefs, you don’t disrupt a funeral,” Hills said at his “The Last Leg” show. “A person died, his family are mourning, it’s not about you, d------.”
He then offered to pay each member of the church flight tickets to Iraq.
“How about putting your money where your mouth is and taking a direct flight to Iraq and picketing the people threatening to behead Christians if they don’t convert?” he challenged the group.
“I would personally pay for every member of the Westboro Baptist Church to fly to Iraq right now. I’ll even fly you first class and pay the carbon offset.”
WBC, an unaffiliated Baptist church, is known for extreme ideologies against homosexuals, Muslims and other religions, and races and nationalities. It gained national attention when it picketed the funeral of Matthew Shepard, a young gay man who was beaten to death in 1998.
It wants to picket Williams’ funeral because, according to them, the beloved comedian was a “f-- lover,” and that’s one sure way of going to hell in their book.
Since offering the WBC plane tickets to the Islamic nation, Hills has been contacted by people who promise to donate money towards the purchase of tickets. He also received support from people on social media, lauding him for his brave challenge.
Unfortunately, WBC lives for such publicity. It has tweeted that it is accepting Hills’ offer, bragging that the members has picketed in Iraq before. It has continuously bugged Hills to shell out the money, which prompted the Aussie comic to reply on his show.
WBC has indeed sent some of its members to Iraq. Before the Iraq War, founder Fred Phelps wrote to Saddam Hussein to praise him for allowing Christians to preach in the state. He got permission from the dictator to send some of his members to the country for a week to preach their teachings.
They might have been received well before, but it’s highly doubtful that they would get the same treatment should they go to Iraq now. ISIS militants in the country have massacred hundreds of civilians due to their religious beliefs among other reasons.
Hills observed how the WBC is enjoying being mentioned in the media, particularly how their slogan “God Hates F---“ is being published in Australia.
“It turns out this is what the Westboro Baptist Church do. They threaten to picket funerals; they rarely go through with it. They know that whatever happens, people will be outraged and they’ll get more publicity. In fact, they know that the more hate they preach, the more they get publicity,” Hills said.
“I don’t want to fight hate with hate and I certainly don’t want to give these guys more publicity.”
He continued, “That’s why I’m going to take all the money I was going to spend on your air tickets and I’m going to donate it directly to St Jude Children’s Research Hospital in the name of Robin Williams.”
Williams was a supporter of the hospital’s research.
“Not only will it [donating] help a child, it will also piss a bigot.”
Although Hills’ decision to donate to a charity than send dozens of WBC members to Iraq where they might meet their death makes more sense, not all of his social media followers appreciated his choice.
People are angry that rather than sending hateful people to their deaths, I have raised money for a Childrens Hospital #fighthatewithlove
— Adam Hills (@adamhillscomedy) August 24, 2014