Westboro Baptist Church, the Kansas-based church known for protesting homosexuality at military funerals, has plans to picket at St. Andrew’s Catholic Church this Sunday during a service for Sergeant First Class Kenneth B. Elwell.
Elwell, a resident of Northampton Township and graduate of Council Rock High School North, died in Afghanistan on July 17.
Township officials caught wind of the protest this week. “These protests can sometimes get very ugly, so proper care must be taken by the township,” Supervisors Vice Chair Matt Benchener said.
Westboro Baptist Church issued a press release on July 30 regarding the protest. They plan to begin picketing at 5:15 p.m.
“God hates America and is killing our troops in his wrath,” the press release said. “Military funerals have become pagan orgies of idolatrous blasphemy, where they pray to the dunghill gods of sodom and play taps to a fallen fool."
Elwell was serving in the Kandahar province when enemy forces attacked their unit with an improvised explosive device, according to the Department of Defense.
He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division of Fort Wainwright, Alaska. They were participating in Operation Enduring Freedom at the time of attack.
The Westboro Baptist Church press release goes on to say that Elwell gave his life “for the Constitutional right of WBC to warn America. To deny us our First Amendment rights is to declare to the world that these soldiers died in vain, and that America is a nation of sodomite hypocrites.”
According to the release, Westboro Baptist Church will also protest a memorial service for Elwell scheduled on Aug. 10 at Arlington National Cemetery.
Check back to this story for updates on how the Newtown Township police plan to handle the matter.