http://edition.cnn.com/2011/US/01/11/arizona.funeral.westboro/?hpt=Mid

 

 Tucson, Arizona (CNN) -- The Arizona legislature is expected to pass legislation Tuesday targeting a Kansas church whose members have announced they plan to picket the funerals of the victims of Saturday's shootings in Tucson.

 

The proposed legislation would make it a misdemeanor to protest within 300 feet of a funeral from one hour before until one hour after a funeral, a spokesman for the state House said.

 

The action, according to House spokesman Daniel Scarpinato, is in direct response to the Westboro Baptist Church's announcement that it will picket the funeral of Christina Green, the 9-year-old who was among six people killed during Saturday's attempted assassination of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Arizona.

 

The controversial church, based in Topeka, has made its name by staging protests at funerals of people who died of AIDS, gay people, soldiers and even Coretta Scott King.

 

Within hours of the church's announcements, Facebook groups sprang up to plan actions surrounding the funerals that would keep the church members -- most members of the extended family of church founder Fred Phelps -- separate from the mourners.

 

Tucson just isn't that kind of town, says Christin Gilmer, 26, referring to the actions of the church.

 

"For something like this to happen in Tucson was a really big shock to us all," she said. "Our nightmare happened when we saw Westboro Baptist Church was going to picket the funerals."

 

Gilmer and others are planning an "angel action" -- with 8- by 10-foot "angel wings" worn by participants to shield mourners from picketers. Angel actions were created by Coloradan Romaine Patterson, who was shocked to find the Topeka church and its neon signs outside the 1999 funeral of Matthew Shepard, a young gay man beaten and left on a fence to die in Laramie, Wyoming.

 

The angel action is part of a larger group, organized by Chelsea Cohen, a 20-year-old University of Arizona senior, aimed at showing Tucson's true colors.

 

"Once I heard that the Westboro Baptist Church was coming, I felt like something should be done to show support for the families," she said. "I don't have any experience in organizing these things. I thought I might get 50 to 100 people."

 

"This isn't a counterprotest," she said. "We wanted it to show support for the families and to show that Tucson is there with love and support."

 

The groups don't want to interfere with the funeral in any way, Cohen said.

 

"We plan on being completely silent, and we're asking people not to bring signs or make comments about the Westboro Baptist Church," she said.

 

Jeff Rogers, chairman of the Pima County Democratic Party, said Tuesday that his organization as well as the local Republican Party also will ask people to line the funeral routes to form a barricade if the church follows through on its planned protest.

 

While Tucson residents leapt into action, so, too, did the legislature. Both the state House and Senate simlutaneously will consider separate bills Tuesday afternoon. Both require a 2/3 majority to pass. Once both chambers have passed their respective bills, each chamber will discuss and vote on the other chamber's bill.

 

Arizona officials say the three-paragraph bill is based on measures passed in other states that have been upheld by courts.

 

Westboro Baptist Church spokeswoman Shirley Phelps-Roper, daughter of Fred Phelps, provided CNN with a statement detailing their decision to picket the funerals. It is filled with the usual anti-gay, anti-abortion and anti-divorce church members used to justify their pickets -- that God hates America because it has turned its back on what they see as God's way.

 

"We picket the funerals to make these vital points to the living!" Phelps-Roper said. "If you heed, it is life and health and peace and safety.

 

"God sent the shooter! Praise God for ALL his works, and BE YE THANKFUL!."

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Westboro Baptist Church AGAIN?! *Headdesk*
The WBC is really just a parasite feeding off of attention and controversy. If everyone just flat out ignored them they would eventually whither away and die.  The reason they choose funerals to protest is because they know that will get a strong reaction from people, and they have chosen to picket the funeral of a little girl because they know it will cause a shitstorm of media attention. What we need to do is STOP FEEDING THE PARASITE! No more media coverage for the vile things they do. Just let them fade away into obscurity.
I agree with you, but it will never happen.  The media LOVES these guys.
I say that giving them ANY attention, even one word, is more than they deserve.
The WBC are some of the most repulsive people this country has to offer, and we've got some doozies.
I think they may even be in the running for some of the most repulsive people the WORLD has to offer.
It's times like these I wish there were a god so that I could pray for him to smite all of the hypocritical people doing evil in his name.

If there were a God he'd (or she'd) probably like the blind fanaticism and the wilful abstinence of using whatever their faculties allow for to produce anything remotely resembling either sense or sensibility so much that he'd (or she'd) change the religion again to make Phelps his latest last messiah.

...that would make Lucifer the good guy.
This is no different than an insane murderer not knowing the difference between right and wrong.  These people are insane.  And not just because they believe in a God, but because what they are doing is just rotten to the core. 
I am pretty sure if Yahweh did exist, Fred Phelps would be very high on his/her list for Heaven.
It's just sickening,really feel like having a rant but what good would it do,I suppose this is the ugly side to the right of free speech = (

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