Paisley: 'Insane' Westboro Church unifies nation

(USA TODAY) -- Brad Paisley's hilarious selfie in from of picketing Westboro Baptist Church members was more than an Instagram sensation -- it was a statement about the group who picket everything from the funerals of U.S. troops killed in duty to homosexuals.

The group's hatred is so broad, that they are one of the few things most people in the country agree on.

"They are just the most insane people," says Paisley. "It's hard to find a unifying force in this society. But there they are. But we don't return their hatred with ours. Everyone can have disdain for them."

"I'm of the mindset that God loves everyone," says Paisley. "But these people are testing that."

Paisley spoke to USA TODAY about his new role in the film Planes: Fire & Rescue. The country star has a cameo and sings two songs -- one is a tribute to firefighters.

It's the hatred from the Westboro members which Paisley played off against in the now famous Instagram photo. Paisley says he was returning to the Kansas arena following some exercise when he saw the picketers. He decide to investigate for himself.

"I knew I wasn't going to get mad. But I wanted to go out there," says Paisley. "Getting mad at them is the biggest waste."

Paisley wandered over to a shocked police officer on duty and said, "I'm going to take a selfie with those guys, can you come with us so they don't try anything?"

Paisley says he posed with the protester with the "God Hates Drunks" sign because it was one of the few non-incendiary signs he could show on Instagram.

"I asked the woman, 'Can I hold the 'God Hates Drunks' sign?' and she said, 'Nope. you can't hold it. But we'll hold it for you,' " says Paisley. "I went, 'Great, get in the shot.'"

"A picture is worth a thousand words, you can see on my face how nutty I think they are. It was perfect, I got lucky," Paisley adds proudly of the selfie. "The absurdity. They are all about hate. It's crazy."

He doesn't expect the attention to end soon with the Westboro members.

"You can't really scare them off, they are like brown recluse spiders," says Paisley. "They are just there."


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