The Westboro Baptist Church, based in Topeka, Kan., is planning a protest of the military funeral of fallen soldier Spc. Dale Kridlo of Hughestown.
According to the church's website, the protest will take place Wednesday at Kridlo's funeral at St. John the Evangelist Church, 35 William St., Pittston.
The service will begin at 9:45 a.m. at the West Pittston National Guard Armory on Susquehanna Avenue. A Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10:30 in St. John the Evangelist Church, William Street, Pittston.
A picketing notice on the Westboro Baptist Church's website was headlined, “God hates America & is killing our troops in His wrath.”
The message under the headline read:
“Military funerals have become pagan orgies of idolatrous blasphemy, where they pray to the dunghill gods of Sodom & play taps to a fallen fool.”
The web posting says the above message will be “preached in respectful, lawful proximity to the memorial of Spc. Dale J. Kridlo” on Wednesday at the church service.
The web posting then states: “Spc. Kridlo gave his life for the Constitutional right of the Westboro Baptist Church to warn America. To deny our First Amendment rights is to declare to the world that Spc. Kridlo died in vain, and that America is a nation of sodomite hypocrites.”
The Westboro posting ends by stating, “The Lord no longer builds the American house; nor does the Lord watch over and protect America. These soldiers are dying for the homosexual and other sins of America. God is now America's enemy, and God Himself is fighting against America.”
Messages left on the Westboro Baptist Church answering machine were not returned. An e-mail sent to the church was not answered.
The Anti-Defamation League describes the Westboro Baptist Church as “a small virulently homophobic, anti-Semitic hate group that regularly stages protests around the country, often several times a week. The group pickets institutions and individuals they think support homosexuality or otherwise subvert what they believe is God's law.
“Incorporated in 1967 as a not-for-profit organization, WBC considers itself an 'Old School (or Primitive)' Baptist Church. WBC's leader is Fred Phelps and several of his children and dozens of his grandchildren appear to constitute the majority of the group's members. WBC has no official affiliation with mainstream Baptist organizations.”