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Westboro Baptist Church protest of Powell funeral; Occupy Seattle threatens church

The notoriously anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church is threatening to picket Saturday’s funeral for Charlie and Braden Powell, murdered Sunday by their father, and Occupy Seattle promises a counterprotest.

Westboro Baptist Church Betty PhelpsEnlarge
Betty Phelps, daughter-in-law of pastor Fred Phelps and a member of the Westboro Baptist Church, demonstrates outside the Supreme Court while justices hear oral arguements in Snyder v. Phelps, which tests the limits of the First Amendment, October 6, 2010 in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/AFP/Getty Images)

The notoriously anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church is threatening to picket Saturday’s funeral for Charlie and Braden Powell, murdered Sunday by their father, and Occupy Seattle promises a counterprotest.

The News Tribune in Tacoma reported that the small Topeka, Kansas-based church blamed the Powell boys' deaths on Washington state's legalizing of same-sex marriages.

Gov. Chris Gregoire is likely to sign the measure next week, according to the paper.

In response, Margie Phelps, daughter of the Westboro Baptist Church's founder, tweeted that members of the church will be at the Saturday morning service for Charlie, 7, and Braden, 5, killed Sunday after their father, Josh Powell, blew up his Graham-area house after the boys were dropped off for a supervised visit.

(GlobalPost reports: Authorities investigate 911 response to Josh Powell's home before explosion)

Josh Powell is also believed to be the main suspect in the 2009 disappearance of his wife, Susan.

She wrote that the protest was to "remind" Gregoire that "they died because of her rebellion," a reference to the governor's support of same-sex marriages.

"This is why God's cursed you w Josh Powells blowing up kids," she tweeted, and then pointed to a headline about the pending legal action.

According to the LA Times, Westboro Baptist Church has gained widespread notoriety for publicly opposing homosexuality by picketing military funerals.

Occupy Seattle, meantime, also used its Twitter to advertise its "peaceful shielding action on Saturday," a reference to the Powell service, to be held at the Life Center Church in Tacoma at 11 a.m.

In a message to Westboro church members, it wrote that the protest movement would "shield mourners from your hate and bigotry and rest blissfully in the certainty that you don't speak for the Divine." 

Apart from the Occupy Seattle announcement that it was planning a counterdemonstration, a new Facebook campaign, "Keep Westboro Church away from Powell Memorial," was launched to encourage the public to "go out in full force to help create a buffer so this memorial can take place peacefully." 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/120209/westboro-baptist-church-anti-gay-josh-powell-occupy-seattle