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Westboro Baptist Church Plans to Protest Plymouth Soldier's Funeral

The Church whose members are known to protest military funerals has issued a press release saying the congregation will protest Army Spc. Steven Gutowski's funeral, but some Plymouth residents and friends of the Gutowskis are planning a counter protest.

With signs painted with phrases like "GOD HATES AMERICA & IS KILLING
OUR TROOPS IN HIS WRATH" The Westboro Baptist Church, is planning a protest outside St. Peter's Church Monday. The group, from Topeka, Kansas, claims to have conducted more than 46,000 such protests across the country since 1991.

As soon as Plymouth residents heard the news, the immediately began plans for a protest of their own--against Westboro's hateful speech. Those plans are nascent right now, according to coordinators, who hope to get the Gutowski family's permission to show their solidarity as a community for its fallen son.

What do you think? Does this out-of-state religious group have the right to protest military funerals based on the First Amendment? Is it hate speech?

Does this other group of Plymouth residents have the right idea to counterprotest the Westboro Baptist Church.

Does the Gutowski family get a say in any of this, while they're dealing with the grief of losing a son and brother?

Take our poll below and tell us how you feel about this difficult situation. What would you do?

Michael R. Landers October 13, 2011 at 11:17 PM
What the Westboro Baptist Church plans to do, at a time of grief for family and friends is morally reprehensible and shows that they are devoid of character. If they truly ARE Gods children, there will be retribution by a higher power. Let's hope that devine intervention happens prior to their coming to Plymouth. The Police should ask that their protest be moved to the center of the Miles Standish State Forest.
Janice Kelley October 13, 2011 at 11:49 PM
I don't believe the Founders envisioned these callous actions as protected speech. The only ones worse than this heinous group is the Supreme Court, who upheld these actions under the First Amendment. If this isn't "hate speech", i don't know what is. And the hubris-- these *&^*('s dare speak for God! My son was a good friend of Steve's since their Nathaniel Mortion days-- he sounded like a wonderful young man. He will always be with his family and friends, and he will forever be held in God's loving hands. May God bless all our soldiers and may they be home soon.
Sara October 13, 2011 at 11:55 PM
Shame on them ... any "religion" using the phrase "God hates" is no religion and misses the boat, much as the groups that condone crashing airplanes into populated buildings. I am truly sorry for such misguided followers. My thoughts and prayers and thanks go to the family of this brave soldier. The vast majority are with you and honor your son.
wedge October 14, 2011 at 12:08 AM
Just come and pay your respects to this poor guy and his family... these people are sick and need no attention paid to them on Monday.
Angie October 14, 2011 at 12:46 AM
Wrong place to hold a protest and it sickens me to think that I and those who've passed serving/ed protect their right to do so. It's in extremely poor taste. Those who do such at a funeral lack judgement, empathy, and sympathy. I just don't understand it. Protest outside a base or post, but then again it won't has much of a rise out of people or the media attention they ate seeking to validate their protest. Losers! (for lack of a better word)
robbierotton October 14, 2011 at 02:19 AM
How come someone hasn't run them over yet. If I was told I had cancer and just days to live I would do it. I would mow them all down in my pickup..
Chip Cummingß October 14, 2011 at 02:26 AM
God bless our fallen heros!
Goldstar October 14, 2011 at 02:52 AM
I am a goldstar mother and I am saddened that these people would protest during the worst time in a mothers life. This is not Gods love. I certainly hope that the press does not give them one ounce of publicity, not one photo, article, or word. The only one we all should hearing about is Steven!
brenda October 14, 2011 at 07:06 AM
I am a pagan and don't claim to know a whole lot about the workings of God, but if your belief is similiar to what I learned as a child...thier is no place for hate. As for me and intentional harm would come back to me three fold. I would embrace this family because of thier loss, i sleep peaceful. Because of thier son i know freedom. What (out of any of them) God/Gods would not be proud to bring him home
Lisa Asendorf October 14, 2011 at 02:09 PM
Disgustingly rude. Shame on them.
bob veteran October 14, 2011 at 02:26 PM
They have a right to protest & I, as a vet, have the right to see how many of them I can hospitalize before I'm stopped.
bob veteran October 14, 2011 at 02:41 PM
Kick their knee caps, when they fall to the ground, kick them in the wind pipe or teeth, then move to the next & repeat untill stopped by police.
bob veteran October 14, 2011 at 02:41 PM
STEEL TOE BOOTS PEOPLE!
Casey Meserve October 14, 2011 at 02:47 PM
OK, 'bob veteran' Patch does not condone violence or threats of violence. One more time and I'm banning you.
Casey Meserve October 14, 2011 at 02:47 PM
This is from Congressman Bill Keating: KEATING STATEMENT ON PLANNED WESTBORO PROTEST OF PLYMOUTH SOLDIER’S FUNERAL: “Unlike those who plan to protest his funeral, Army Specialist Steven Gutowski devoted his young life to a higher purpose, making the ultimate sacrifice for his country and all who reside in it. “Specialist Gutowski is a true American hero, and the embodiment of duty and service. These protestors are the embodiment of malice and prejudice, and their ignorant behavior purposely diverts attention from a sacred rite of Specialist Gutowski’s church. What they fail to realize, however, is that no amount of protests can take Specialist Gutowski’s honor away from him or his family nor can it prevent the celebration of his life. “I know that I speak for the entire Plymouth community when I say that we stand in strong support of Specialist Gutowski’s family and are eternally grateful for his service to this country.”
Barbara Derosier October 14, 2011 at 04:52 PM
Westboro Baptist Chruch= Emotional Terrorism
Thomas O'Day October 14, 2011 at 08:03 PM
Is this the Saaaaaaaaaaaaame Westboro church that was going to protest Steve Jobbs funeral, cause he and his old company were the Devil???? The Saaaaaame Westboro Church that used their I-Pad to send out the Steve Jobbs Protest announcement????? Hence, FREAKIN IDIOTS, The lot of them!!!!!!!!!! They Now mean absolutely NOTHING, To ANYONE!!!!!!!!!!!!! I wish I could be there and LAUGH in their faces while Holding my I-Pad that has IDIOTS Plastered across it!!!!!!! I'd Love to know what part of God's work this protest falls into???????????
Casey Meserve October 14, 2011 at 08:33 PM
Now, that everyone's stirred up, let's calm down and think about the Gutowski family and how we would want our loved one respected.
Tom Blanchette October 14, 2011 at 10:48 PM
Members of the Patriot Riders Chapter 3 from Gardner Mass, will be meeting up with Patriot Guard Members to support the Family and the town of Plymouth...we will be there Monday...
wedge October 14, 2011 at 11:42 PM
Exactly. I think it's great we are all going to attend but ignore these freaks. Any attention they get takes away from this boys sacrifice for us and our families.
Velvet October 15, 2011 at 03:18 AM
Well said. Honor the person whom gave you the "right" to do that.
Michael October 15, 2011 at 01:02 PM
As a Chaplain, I am ashamed of ANY religious group whether Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Atheists and more who has the audacity to preach such hate. The bible teaches us; 1. God is Love, Westboro is Hate. 2. Love Thy Neighbor, Westboro hates all except themselves. As much as it pains me to even say this, but "Thank & Pray for the dead soldier who have you free speech." I am taking the day off from work on Monday to go down to the services and hopefully help block the view of this hate filled cult from being seen by the grieving family.
Raymond October 15, 2011 at 01:07 PM
Isn't it long overdue for the vicious cult to drink the kool aid already and catch the spaceship to their fake heaven? Rev. Phelps - Jim Jones set a far better example than you, take a sip please, the kool aid is actually quite good! Can't wait to head down with some local Legion & Harley Riders to block them and drown out their chants with my bike. God Bless America - God is Love - God doesnt Hate!
Kevin Wells October 15, 2011 at 09:00 PM
Did you know that The Westboro Baptist Church. The working members of that family donate 90% of their income to the church. So they pay no taxes, not one penny at all. How do they get by with that? Easy the church owns their homes, cars and everything they have, so no taxes paid to the state or Federal government, not one penny. Just look at the hate they spread and ask yourself why should we support that kind of hate with our own money? With them paying no income tax or federal taxes at all who supports them? We do as tax payers and yet they claim to hate America and the people in it. But the real kicker is they actually get earned income tax credits so we actually give them even money to spread their hate!
Joe Rizoli October 17, 2011 at 05:51 AM
Joe Rizoli CCFIILE.com I have been following the WBC for some time now. How about just leaving them alone? You feed them when you counter their protest. As to all you Bible quoter's saying God is love. I got news for you, read Revelation 19:11-21 "Rev 19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. Read the rest of the scriptures. The person on the White horse is JESUS. "Rev 19:15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God" There goes your God is always love viewpoint. Apparently the WBC knows a lot more than a lot of your here in Plymouth as to the Scriptures As to this comment: >>“Specialist Gutowski is a true American hero,>> WHY is/was he a hero? He is/was part of a country involved in ILLEGAL WARS, MURDERING INNOCENT Men woman and children. You wonder why the WBC is protesting ALL servicemen who have died in these ILLEGAL wars.... Joe Rizoli
Kristy October 17, 2011 at 12:00 PM
Joe, Not one of the people who left messages here nor any of the average people in America have a say in wether or not we got to war. None of us can change what is or what will be. We can disagree with it but when men are sent off to war because the president say so we need to support THEM. I agree with you- I do not think we should be the world's police! But my son is in the army and he goes where they tell him to. I didn't want him to join but he did because he wanted to be a part of something bigger than himself- he wanted to do something important. I think what the people here are saying about the WBC is that why do they feel the need to spread the hate by protesting AT a funeral? Why would you do that to the parents? Burying a child is the saddest thing a parent could do! Why would a group of people ADD stress and grief to their lives ON PURPOSE?? On a more personal note, the contradictions you pointed out in the bible are the reason I am not Catholic anymore. To me, God cannot be all-forgiving and turn around and take an eye for an eye. But that's a PERSONAL choice I made... That's why I didn't bring religion into it to begin with. This only has to do with God because the WBC CLAIMS they are doing Gods work. No matter what God you believe in there is no way anyone can convince me they are "doing Gods work".
Claire Watts October 17, 2011 at 12:33 PM
I still feel so strongly that if the media and everyone else in this country just simple ignored these people - total silent treatment - no stories at all about when and where they're showing up - then who could they sue to stay in business?
Maz October 17, 2011 at 05:50 PM
There was a counter protest! Not one church goer showed up! COWARDS! I guess 160 bikers scared them away. DO THE RIGHT THING AND RESPECT THE FAMILY! If it was not for US SOLDIERS defending your rights, you would be speaking German, Japanese, or some other language besides English right now! Not ever soldier has the choice if they want to fight in this war, some signed up for the reserves years ago...they did not sign up to go to war. Some did, some did not. GO PROTEST ON THE FRONT LAWN OF THE WHITE HOUSE if you want to be "anti-war"!! Have some respect! What the church douches are doing is just WRONG in every way!
Joe Rizoli October 18, 2011 at 08:01 AM
Joe Rizoli CCFIILE.com Kristy, not being a Catholic anymore certainly is a personal choice, I made getting out of that church eons ago. BUT consider, Gods dealings with mankind in no way reflects the indiscriminate murder and killing of INNOCENT and righteous people, Please re read that set of Scriptures in Revelation. The rider of that white horse, "in righteousness he doth judge and make war" Please consider that and ponder that. If God in his justice and mercy does what he has promised, and he does judge in righteousness, unless we are truly wicked, our future, if we live long enough, has a better ending. If not we will continue to see more Servicemen in body bags fighting the wars of Israel that we have no business fighting. Wars that make us ask the question, which countries are the real danger to us and our servicemen? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GHqfuXl31YY&feature=player_embedded Joe Rizoli
cam October 20, 2011 at 12:49 AM
Westboro Baptist Church spreads its hate through picketing in our streets, provoking attacks, with abusive language and flag desecration, attempting to create a confrontation. This is not a church, this is a hate group. This is not about protesting, freedom, or God. They are in it for the money and the press; this is a family law firm. They are not a "church." It is a scam. They go after anything that can get them in the news. This is a family of lawyers using this “god hates you” thing to make money. It is time for this scam to end.

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