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Thread: Perry County residents were ready for Westboro Baptist Church protest

   
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    Default Perry County residents were ready for Westboro Baptist Church protest

    Perry County protected its own Tuesday, as the seven Clouse siblings were laid to rest in peace.

    A threatened protest by the Westboro Baptist Church of Kansas never materialized. It might have something to do with the county itself, as much as it does with the controversial group’s penchant for crying wolf to seek publicity.

    Perry County’s narrow rural roads and its abundance of private property, much of it freshly staked with yellow “no trespassing” signs and strung with police tape, provided no purchase for protests.

    The nearest public land where Westboro Baptist members could have staged their demonstration was six miles away. The group has become infamous for waving hateful signs at the funerals of fallen military heroes.

    More recently, members have threatened to extend their protests to funerals for victims of other tragedies, including children. They see the deaths as God’s retribution for a country’s or a state’s alleged sins.

    The more tragic, the bigger the megaphone.

    Last week’s heart-wrenching farmhouse fire was the latest to draw the group’s attention. Westboro Baptist Church contended that the Clouse children’s deaths could be blamed on Pennsylvania having angered God when a York County man sued the group over its protest at his Marine son’s funeral.

    Perry County was ready.

    State troopers and fire police in neon-yellow vests stood sentry at protective checkpoints all around the Perry Mennonite Reception Center in Elliottsburg, the scene of the funeral. A state police helicopter circled overhead.

    Scores of Perry County residents trolled rural roads in private vehicles, camped on lawns and peered through binoculars for any signs of the protesters.

    Motorcyclists in full riding leathers stood sentry at an intersection near the Mennonite center. They declined to be interviewed, saying only they were on watch for protesters. A larger group of motorcyclists waited at a Shermans Dale bar if needed to serve as buffers.

    In the end, the Clouse family funeral procession proceeded to the Loysville burial site in peace.

    Led by a white state police cruiser, its emergency lights swirling but its siren silenced, the procession passed houses where residents stood silently on porches. It went by a church where congregants held hands on the lawn. And it silently snaked its way into a gravel church parking lot, where open graves were shrouded by green tents at the bottom of a knoll.

    All that could be heard as the three hearses rolled slowly by were the low hum of car engines and the gentle clicks of photographers’ shutters.

    That the funeral and burial of the children, ages 9 months to 11 years, proceeded with dignity was a point of pride in Perry County.

    Seven Clouse children laid to rest Seven Clouse children laid to rest Seven of Ted and Janelle Clouse's eight children died in a farmhouse fire March 8, 2011. Hundreds of family, friends and strangers mourned them. Watch video
    “We’re all here just in case,” said Larry Stephens of Landisburg, who watched over the funeral site from a friend’s front yard on Green Park Road.

    By the time the services began inside the church a block away, there were no less than five pickup trucks, 10 men, four women and two dogs on the lawn.

    “We’re Perry County,” added Patrice Reisser, clad in her EMT jacket. “We stick together.”

    As the morning wore on, a man from York who identified himself as a member of the Patriot Guard, a group that counters the Westboro Church at funerals, pulled up in a Subaru hatchback and asked permission to raise an American flag.

    “That’s always welcome here,” answered homeowner Stephen Poticher.

    The man proceeded to erect a flagpole of PVC pipe. He assembled it with a battery-powered drill, then anchored its platform with a car battery and cinder block.

    When it was finished, the man, who gave his name as Tom, pulled out a folding chair, sat down on the lawn and admired his handiwork.

    “It just shows I love my country,” he said.

    The flag caused more people to stop by, virtually all of them asking if there were any sign of protesters. Others simply flashed thumbs up to the gathering as they drove on.

    Ezra Bupp and Terry Wilkinson, both in their 60s, were ready to do their part to defend the dignity of the deceased.

    “I’d hold my ground,” said Bupp, 69, of Elliottsburg. “I’d stay within the law, but they’d know I was there. It’s called Perry County proud — bred, born and raised.”

    Content that the funeral services were protected, some of the men moved on to the burial site, about 10 miles away.

    They just wanted to be sure.

    “I’m here to make sure the family can bury their dead in peace,” said Wilkinson, 63, of Landisburg.

    There, under watchful eyes and surrounded by stark leafless trees and acres of brown grass and field stubble, seven white coffins were carried to their graves without incident.

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    Default Re: Perry County residents were ready for Westboro Baptist Church protest

    The members of the church who take part in those protest are hateful, sick people. I am not going to pull my punches here.

    I understand the right to free speech but because you can say something does not mean that you should.
    Michael Jackson (1958 - 2009): You Do Not Define Him So You Cannot Confine Him!

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    Default Re: Perry County residents were ready for Westboro Baptist Church protest

    This town is only an hour and a half away from where I live. if these people had protested they wouldn't live to see their next birthdays.

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    Default Re: Perry County residents were ready for Westboro Baptist Church protest

    Quote Originally Posted by MJForever31 View Post
    This town is only an hour and a half away from where I live. if these people had protested they wouldn't live to see their next birthdays.
    I agree with you. And I also live in Pennsylvania and I happen to be Mennonite and Amish descent. Those evil nasty horrible people just really angers me to no end. It is very clear to me that they don't read the bible. Because if they did they will know God is all about L.O.V.E. that is what my bible says about him. And I happen to be a German Baptist or more preferably a Brethren.

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    Default Re: Perry County residents were ready for Westboro Baptist Church protest

    Quote Originally Posted by MJsBollywoodGirl7 View Post
    I agree with you. And I also live in Pennsylvania and I happen to be Mennonite and Amish descent. Those evil nasty horrible people just really angers me to no end. It is very clear to me that they don't read the bible. Because if they did they will know God is all about L.O.V.E. that is what my bible says about him. And I happen to be a German Baptist or more preferably a Brethren.
    I am German too. Most everybody in my family is Catholic. I converted to Lutheranism a few years back. I am a Christian and not a vengeful person, but if these people would have protested I would have been real mad because it's too close to home.

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    Default Re: Perry County residents were ready for Westboro Baptist Church protest

    You can believe in what you want but not preach it to everyone else:nono:

    need help? you can email me at sammansell1@yahoo.co.uk

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