Niceville Police Dept. prepared for controversial Westboro Baptist Church's presence at Teutenberg family memorial

By: Danielle Koleniak Email
By: Danielle Koleniak Email

There are reports that members of the controversial Westboro Baptist Church out of Topeka, Kansas, are planning to protest at Friday’s Teutenberg memorial service.

This church is known for protesting at the funerals of American
Service members, celebrities and famous people.

They protested at this week's memorial service for former first lady
Betty Ford.

Some are wondering why the Teutenbergs have drawn the church's attention.

A statement from Westboro Baptist says it's because the Teutenberg's
Are from "gay-friendly Florida."

Niceville police met with city officials today and say they're
Prepared for any problems.

"We want to preserve the sanctity of the memorial service. Everybody has the right to free speech and as long as that does not interfere with the service we have no problem with it. We ask the citizens to respect the family and the sensitivity to the issue," said Captain David Popwell.

The Westboro Baptist Church was founded in 1955 by Fred Phelps.
The majority of the congregation is Phelps' relatives.

Niceville United Methodist Church provided Newschannel 7 with this statement:

"We are very proud as Americans to live in a country where we are aff orded the rights of free speech and expression. However, we are also deeply saddened by the choice of the members of Westboro Baptist Church, should they decide to attend, to protest and attempt to use this tragedy to advance their agenda.

We do not condone and in no way agree with their beliefs about why this tragedy occurred, or, if they are present, their choice to cause further hurt to this community through their words and actions.

We do not believe that God caused this tragedy; however, we do believe in the God of Love and Grace, and that God loves the Teutenbergs deeply just like God loves us all.

The Teutenberg family was, and is, a deeply cherished and loved part of our church, and our community, and they are missed already."

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