As Star Trek fans mourn the death of beloved actor and ‘geek grandfather’ Leonard Nimoy, another group is expressing a different stance. The Westboro Baptist Church hinted Friday at plans to picket Nimoy’s funeral, using a variety of slurs too offensive to be repeated here.
Leonard Nimoy passed away Friday, February 27, 2015, after a long struggle with COPD. Co-stars and fans tweeted their regards, Nimoy’s granddaughter shared information about the funeral on his Twitter timeline, and, in general, a great and beloved man was mourned.
More than an actor, in early 2014, Leonard Nimoy became an ‘honorary grandfather’ to many of his followers and fans.
Unfortunately, Nimoy’s high level of fame and his large and loyal following made him an ideal target for the Westboro Baptist Church, a group that pickets funerals of soldiers and anyone with a high profile. The Westboro Baptist Church associated their picket threat with other Star Trek stars, and the things about those stars that the group opposes: George Takei and Zachary Quinto, who are openly gay (the WBC’s favorite conversation piece), and William Shatner, who the Westboro Baptist Church claims “hates God.”
However, because of his high profile, it’s quite possible that Nimoy would have been a Westboro target anyway — the church shows an affinity for events that will gain a lot of attention.
Tweeting about the star’s death and funeral, several Westboro Baptist Church accounts announced their intentions.
FUNERAL PICKET ALERT
Mr Spock was partaker of @ZacharyQuinto, @GeorgeTakei’s [offensive anti-gay slur redacted] sins & @WilliamShatner’s hate of God.
It’s worth noting that the Westboro group doesn’t always show up when they threaten, and, perhaps more encouraging, that when they do show up, there are frequently counter-protesters, who hold up their own signs, or even block access so that the group can’t get close enough to the event to cause extra pain to the family. According to the Huffington Post, a motorcycle group even watched for WBC members and worked to keep them away from services for Newtown, Connecticut victims.
Bearing in mind the passion of Leonard Nimoy fans, it seems likely that, if there is a public service and the protesters do show up, they’ll be efficiently kept away from the mourners. At this point, however, no public services for Leonard Nimoy have been announced, and his family may elect to keep their own service private, in order to keep the Westboro Baptist Church, and anyone else who might invade their mourning space, out.
[Photo by Michael Boutefeu/Getty Images]