Westboro Baptist Church to Protest Elizabeth Edwards Funeral

Protesters from Rev. Fred Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church demonstrate during funeral services for Dr. George Tiller Saturday, June 6, 2009, at College Hill United Methodist Church in Wichita, Kan. Tiller, 67, a late-term abortion provider, was shot in the head Sunday as he handed out programs while ushering at Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita. Scott Roeder, a 51-year-old abortion opponent, was arrested a few hours later just outside Kansas City. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)[Click image for details ] AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

Protesters from Rev. Fred Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church demonstrate during funeral services for Dr. George Tiller Saturday, June 6, 2009, at College Hill United Methodist Church in Wichita, Kan.
Protesters from Rev. Fred Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church demonstrate during funeral services for Dr. George Tiller Saturday, June 6, 2009, at College Hill United Methodist Church in Wichita, Kan.
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

Westboro Baptist Church, a Kansas-based church with a history of holding controversial and politically inflammatory protests, announced on Thursday that its members plan to protest Elizabeth Edwards' funeral in Raleigh, N.C. this weekend.

The anti-gay fundamentalist group, which is led by Rev. Fred Phelps, is most known for its protests at the funerals of military servicemen - though it has also picketed such events as theater productions and high school graduations.

In a statement released on the church's website -- the URL of which, www.godhatesfags.com, gives a pretty good sense of the group -- Westboro accused Edwards of "spewing blasphemy" and mounting a "smash-mouthed assault on His deity."

"Elizabeth Edwards & her faithless husband, John, lightly esteemed what they had. They coveted things that were not theirs - and presumptuously thought they could control God," the statement reads in part.

Edwards, an advocate of gay rights and same-sex marriage, died on Tuesday after a six-year battle with cancer.

According to the Washington Post, the Edenton Street United Methodist Church - which is hosting the services - said it was aware of the church's plan to protest but had not yet decided how to respond.


Lucy Madison
Lucy Madison is a political reporter for CBSNews.com. You can read more of her posts here. Follow Hotsheet on Facebook and Twitter.

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