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article imageArizona unites to prevent Westboro Church funeral protests

By Kim I. Hartman     Jan 11, 2011 in World
Tucson - Arizona lawmakers are drafting emergency legislation to prohibit Westboro Baptist Church from protesting at or near church funeral services for the victims of Saturday's massacre that killed six people in Tucson.
Westboro Baptist Church announced their plans over the weekend to picket Thursday's funeral for 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green, according to their website schedule.
The radical church group, composed mostly of family members and led by Fred Phelps, posted a statement on their website after the tragic shootings that read: "THANK GOD FOR THE SHOOTER-6 DEAD! WBC WILL PICKET THEIR FUNERALS."
Fred Phelps also posted a YouTube video shortly after the shooting titled "Fred Phelps Thanks God for the Shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords," which said in the description that "the church vows they will thank God for the shootings, pray for more such senseless violence and will picket the funerals of the victims."
Arizona residents have united in efforts to prevent any planned disruptions of the funeral by the members of Westboro Church. Many organizations, including bikers, have banded together in a "massive counter-protest" as state lawmakers work on fast-tracking a bill to hamstring the group, according to FOX News.
Shirley Phelps-Roper, a leader with the group, told the Phoenix New Times, "that they also plan to protest at the funeral of Federal Judge John Roll and have scheduled a "God on the Corner" demonstration, at the very same spot of the massacre, which she described as a play on the "Congress on the Corner" event held by Giffords on Saturday, in protest to the "rotten rebels" who are destroying America."
Phelps-Roper criticized Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., and told the New Times, who described her as rambling and often-incoherent during their phone interview, "I'm over here laughing. You think you can run God off the corner with your stupid laws?"
CNN reports the Arizona Legislature is expected to pass legislation which will prevent the protesters from getting closer then 300 feet to the funeral services and are modeling their legislation on an Ohio law that has been upheld in court.
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