Westboro Church granted permit to picket

Staff writerDecember 10, 2010 

— The Raleigh Police Department issued a permit today to a Kansas church that will allow its members to picket tomorrow's funeral for Elizabeth Edwards in downtown Raleigh.

Raleigh police spokesman, Jim Sughrue, in a statement, announced that Jonathan Phelps with the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., had been granted a permit that allows the church members to gather on West Edenton Street at its intersection with North Salisbury Street.

The location is about two blocks east of Edenton Street United Methodist Church, the site of the funeral.

At least two people under the age of 18 will participate in the picket protest, Sughrue reported.

Westboro Baptist is known for its disruptions of soldier's burials and provocative protests of homosexuality. The tiny church, whose congregation congregation largely consists of the extended family of its pastor came into the national spotlight when its members picketed the funeral of Matthew Shepard, a young man from Wyoming who was beaten to death by two men because of his homosexuality.

Phelps, on the permit application stated today that the purpose of the church's picketing at Edwards' funeral will be "promoting awareness of dangers of homosexuality."

The church members permit application states that the group's picket will begin at 11:30 a.m. and end at 1 p.m.

Five to 10 people are expected for the picket, according to the application.

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