Photos: Westboro Church Protests Outside Ronnie James Dio's Memorial Service
The infamous protestors from Westboro Baptist Church visited Los Angeles yesterday to protest outside a memorial service for heavy metal rocker Ronnie James Dio. The public service was held in the afternoon at Forest Lawn Memorial-Park for the revered heavy metal singer and songwriter, who died of stomach cancer earlier this month.
"This rebel had a God-given platform - for decades - which he should have utilized to publish the truth of God,” the church said in a press release, according to Entertainment Weekly. “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.”
“Ronnie hates prejudice and violence!" responded Dio's wife, Wendy, in her own statement. "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!”
Wendy serves as the chair of Children of the Night, which Dios supported over the years, according to the Associated Press. The organization focused on the rehabilitation of teen prostitutes.
Over 1,200 Dio fans, including some notable friends, showed up for the event. Seen there was Glenn Hughes of Deep Purple, Geoff Tate of Queensryche, Paul Shortino of Quiet Riot, John Payne of Asia and Joey Belladonna of Anthrax. Dio performed with Black Sabbath, Elf, Heaven & Hell, Rainbow and his own project, Dio.