By Jessica Geen -
Lady Gaga hit out at members of Westboro Baptist Church, calling them “hate criminals”.
The singer played a concert in St Louis, Missouri on Saturday night, which was picketed by the controversial church.
Members stood outside the venue holding signs that said “God hates Lady Gaga” in protest at her “promotion” of homosexuality.
The bisexual singer has joined gay rights marches and is a strong advocate for equal rights.
She took to her Twitter account before the gig to warn fans of the protest and ask them not to retaliate.
Gaga wrote: “At the risk of drawing attention to a hateful organisation, I would like to make my little monster fans aware of a protest being held outside the Monsterball in St Louis tonight.
“Although we have had protesters before, as well as fundamentalists at the show, this group of protesters are hate criminals and preach using lude [sic] and violent language and imagery that I wish I protect you all from.
“My request to [fans] and public authorities is to pay these hate criminals no mind. Do not interact with them, or try to fight… Do not respond to any of their provocation.”
She continued: “Don’t waste your words, or feelings, no matter what you hear or see you are more fortunate and blessed than they are, and in your heart just pray for them.”
Westboro Baptist Church is known for picketing the funerals of US soldiers with slogans such as ‘God hates fags’. It believes that the deaths of US soldiers in the middle east are God’s punishment for a country which allows homosexuality.
Earlier this year, church spokeswoman Shirley Phelps-Roper said: “We will be going to her concert with placards reading ‘God Hates Lady Gaga’ – to inform people that they will be going to hell too if they listen to her messages.
“According to the Bible homosexuality is an abomination and she has to shut her filthy mouth and stop promoting it.”