Image Credit: Larry Marano/Retna Ltd; Scott Olson/Getty ImagesThe highly controversial Westboro Baptist Church has announced plans to picket this Sunday’s memorial service for ex-Black Sabbath singer Ronnie James Dio in Los Angeles.

“This rebel had a God-given platform – for decades – which he should have utilized to publish the truth of God,” the WBC declared in a press release. “Instead, he used that platform – for decades – to teach rebellion against God, in the form glorifying atheism, promoting the devil horn hand sign & other such idolatries. Now he has been cut off by an Angry God & cast into hell.” The release also thanked God for “the dead brute Dio.” The Church, which is based in Topeka, Kansas, and in large part consists of single family, is infamous for picketing funerals to protest America’s tolerance of homosexuality.

On Saturday, Ronnie James Dio’s wife Wendy responded to the proposed picket with the following statement on her late husband’s website: “Ronnie hates prejudice and violence! We need to turn the other cheek on these people that only know how to hate someone they didn’t know. We only know how to love someone we know!”

And who could disagree with that? Well, the Westboro Baptist Church, obviously. At this point, there’s a lot more I could write about an organization who thinks it’s doing the Almighty’s work by turning up to funerals with homophobic signage. But instead I would urge you to check out a documentary about the Church which was made a few years back by British journalist Louis Theroux. The film is a terrific example of giving people enough rope to do you-know-what with. You’ll find the first part after the jump.

What do you think about the Church’s decision to picket Dio’s memorial service? And about Wendy Dio’s response?

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