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A small Baptist church infamous for picketing military funerals plans to protest the memorial service for actor Heath Ledger, because the dead actor played a gay character in the 2005 Academy Award-winning film, “Brokeback Mountain.”Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan., pronounced the Hollywood star found dead Tuesday in his New York apartment of undetermined causes is in hell.

“Heath Ledger will be known through all of eternity for one thing–playing a fag cowboy to promote the filthy cause of a backslidden doomed nation,” said a blog on the church’s controversial Web site GodHatesFags.com.

The church claims to conducted more than 34,000 peaceful anti-homosexual demonstrations since 1991. In November a Maryland court issued a $10.9 million judgment against the 75-member congregation in a lawsuit filed by the father of marine killed in Iraq, whose funeral Westboro members picketed in March 2006.

Ross Clifford, president of the Baptist Union of Australia, issued a statement clarifying that Westboro Baptist Church is associated neither with Australian Baptists nor the Baptist World Alliance. Clifford described plans by the group to picket the Australian-born actor’s funeral as “inappropriate” and “extreme and counter-productive.”

Clifford and other leaders said Australian Baptists were praying for Ledger’s family and friends “in their grief and sadness at his tragic death.”

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