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BREAKING UPDATE: Fri Feb 10, 2012 at  9:34 AM PT:

OCCUPY SEATTLE DEMOBILIZES:

"... After refusing the Bobby D show's offer of an interview spot conditional upon their non-appearance at the Powell funeral, Fred Phelps contacted Bobby and gave an interview this morning and has promised to not come to the funeral."

"They have now announced on Twitter

that their Washington trip has been cancelled."

"Organizers of the Occupy Seattle response to Westboro Baptist Church's threat of demonstration at the Powell funeral are relieved to announce that our shielding action is no longer necessary.

In lieu of attending this action, we ask that you donate to The Charlie and Braden Powell Memorial Account at any Wells Fargo bank branch. The proceeds will go to defray costs of the memorial service.

The organizers of this action want to thank all who intended to attend for their compassion, enthusiasm, and good will. However, now is a time of mourning and a time for celebration of the lives of two very special little boys. In that spirit, We hope and pray that the Cox and Powell families can heal in the aftermath of this terrible tragedy. Our hearts and our thoughts are with them."  

[This story author believes the substantial threat of OCCUPY SEATTLE (and various other groups) in the area having organized in this shielding action actually did shield this innocent grieving family from the Westboro Baptist Church's abhorrent message of hate. Thank you OCCUPY SEATTLE. The original story previously posted follows below.... under the orange squiggle:]

The Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church, (homepage is: http://www.godhatesfags.com/) known for picketing funerals for U.S. soldiers as a form of anti-gay protest, said Wednesday and is re-affirming via Margie Phelps, daughter of Westboro Baptist Church founder's twitters, that it plans to picket in protest of gay marriage at this Saturday’s memorial service for Charlie and Braden Powell, two children who died when their father allegedly set fire to his house. The church claims the boys' deaths are payback from God over the Washington State Legislature's and Gov. Chris Gregoire’s support of gay marriage.

The children for whom the memorial service is being held resided in the State of Washington. Apparently, that association, is the church's reasoning for protesting at the grieving family's memorial service for their children.  

Above: Braden Powell, left, and his brother, Charlie, play with their maternal grandfather, Chuck Cox, in an undated photo. By Chuck and Judy Cox via (AP)

According to King5 News and MSNBC Charlie, 7, and Braden, 5, died Sunday when their father, Josh Powell, intentionally set fire to his home in Graham, Wash., police said. The boys arrived there on a supervised visit, but Powell locked the supervisor out of the house. Authorities say Powell, already under investigation in the disappearance of his wife in Utah two years ago, attacked his sons with an ax before all three died in the fire and explosion.

In response to Westboro Baptist Church plans to protest the memorial service, Alina Powell, the boys' aunt, sent this message to KIRO 7 local news via email (original emphasis and formatting retained):
     

"I have just received confirmation that the Westboro Baptist Church is planning to protest my nephews' funeral.  This is a horrible, disdainful act that serves no purpose other than to continue the years-long objectification of those little boys.  Charlie and Braden were not trophies to be won and paraded around; they were not bait to ferret out 'guilt' in a man; they were not 'evidence' in a 'crime'; and they most certainly arenot political pawns to be used by a church to spread yet more messages of HATE!  They are only little boys and they deserve better!  I am LIVID that my nephews continue to be used as a tactical maneuver, and I am LIVID that their service will be besmirched by an event a loving God would never approve!  Please let my nephews rest in peace!!  Hate has taken far too great a toll on us ALL already!--Please, STOP THE HATE!"
OCCUPY SEATTLE is mobilizing and has told The Tacoma News Tribune it doesn’t plan to disrupt the funeral, but wants to “protect it from Westboro’s abhorrent message.”

Since the call out late yesterday, hundreds of Occupiers from around the region (...and many others) ...have committed online to showing up to prevent the Westboro Baptist Church from disrupting the funeral, which will be at Life Center Church in Tacoma at 11 a.m. this Saturday.

"Occupiers will join in the grief of the community that has been rent apart by this recent tragedy, and oppose Westboro Baptist Church in their attempt to further their bigoted agenda. A call to action has been issued: and we must counterprotest. [...]  The service starts at 11AM, so counterprotesters, should they choose to attend, should arrive early, around 9:30 to 10:00AM in order to screen mourners from WBC. Things to bring:
1. Blankets, tarps, and signs with messages of support. We will use these items to screen WBC to prevent them from traumatizing mourners already in the throes of grief.
2. Compassion, respect, and dignity. Instead of shouting slogans as Occupiers are wont to do, we are not here to create a loud disruption, but instead prevent WBC’s message to disturb the funeral..."
For online Occupy Seattle twitter updates: Occupy Seattle

Just created: Ride share coordination: Shield Against the WBC Rideshare Coordination

UPDATE:
Associated Ministries has secured the nearby Elks Lodge (1965 South Union Avenue, Tacoma, WA) meeting room at 9 a.m. on the 11th for all the different groups organizing to support this family, so that we can all be on the same page. There is also parking there we can use, which will be invaluable due to the number of attendees.

Fri Feb 10, 2012 at  9:34 AM PT: After refusing the Bobby D show's offer of an interview spot conditional upon their non-appearance at the Powell funeral, Fred Phelps contacted Bobby and gave an interview this morning and has promised to not come to the funeral. They have now announced on Twitter that their Washington trip has been cancelled.

Organizers of the Occupy Seattle response to Westboro Baptist Church's threat of demonstration at the Powell funeral are relieved to announce that our shielding action is no longer necessary.

In lieu of attending this action, we ask that you donate to The Charlie and Braden Powell Memorial Account at any Wells Fargo bank branch. The proceeds will go to defray costs of the memorial service.


Originally posted to fromcascadia on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 03:22 PM PST.

Also republished by Occupy Seattle, PacNW Kossacks, Occupy Wall Street, Daily Kos Oregon, and PDX Metro.

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