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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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by DaveV Location: PC on Jul 17, 2011 at 09:53 AM
    They are definitely giving Christians ( and especially Baptists ) a bad name. If they could harness their hate and use it for good, the world would be a better place.
  • by Freedom Location: USA on Jul 16, 2011 at 11:31 PM
    What the Westboro Church is doing is controversial, but, it's protected under our first amendment. Sure, to some it's disgusting, but, everyone has a right to their opinion and expression, no matter what you might think of it. We must preserve our first amendment right.
  • by Jason Miller Location: Panama City Beach on Jul 16, 2011 at 06:07 PM
    if they cause problems Lock them up. we would not be wehre we are today free if it was not for service men and womemn godbless america and shame on westboro Baptist
  • by Brenda Location: PCB,Fl on Jul 16, 2011 at 04:57 PM
    The scripture says,If you say you love ME.. and do not love your brother,then the TRUTH is not in you.
  • by Bill Location: Panama City on Jul 15, 2011 at 03:57 PM
    The Patriot Guard DID NOT Participate to day. The Warrior Watch Riders participated and provided all the flags that were posted. These riders as well as other groups were prepared to block the protetsers. The Patriot Guard riders did not show up!!Please get it right!
  • by ittybittyme Location: pc on Jul 15, 2011 at 01:22 PM
    Hopefully, the Phelps family won't find Niceville so nice.
  • by Dianne Location: chipley fla on Jul 15, 2011 at 12:29 PM
    Do them like they did in mississippi.Find the motel where they are staying or just look for Kansas tags pull up behind them so the cant leave to protest cut the stem to there tires let them go flat. there are ways to keep them from protesting with out violence wish I could be there.
  • by jake Location: pc on Jul 15, 2011 at 10:22 AM
    The "Westboro Baptist Church" is neither Baptist nor a Church. They are simply a small, but vocal, cult populated by lunatics. The less airplay the media gives them the better.
  • by yolanda Location: pittman on Jul 15, 2011 at 08:54 AM
    again a select few causing flack the less attentionpaid to these idiots the less they seem to matter not giving any press or energy to them seems to drive them away they want press don't give it to them great is the God i serve no press they shrivel up
  • by Dianna Location: Panama City Beach on Jul 15, 2011 at 06:27 AM
    I hope that this day goes by with no interuptions for the family and friends of this family. May you all rest in peace.
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