The controversial Westboro Baptist Church will bring its message of an “angry God” to Fort Campbell next month as church members picket the ceremony where Pfc. Thomas Tucker and Pfc. Kristian Menchaca will be among those remembered.
The protest begins at 7 p.m. July 12 at the Main Fort Gate in Oak Grove, Ky.
On the second Wednesday of each month, Fort Campbell holds the Eagle Remembrance Ceremony, a tribute to fallen Screaming Eagles.
Members of the 101st Airborne Division, Tucker, 25, of Madras, Ore., and Menchaca, 23, of Houston were abducted south of Baghdad, Iraq. Their bodies were recovered June 20 near a power plant in Youssifiyah, where they had been manning a vehicle checkpoint that was attacked. The soldiers reportedly were beheaded after being tortured, according to officials.
In a statement released last night, the Westboro church based in Topeka, Kan., wrote: “They died at the hands of an angry God in His retaliatory wrath in punishing America’s godless military for their violent persecution of Westboro Baptist Church for preaching the truth to America about her abominations.”
In March, Gov. Ernie Fletcher signed into law a bill that prevents protesters from disrupting funerals, burials or memorial services.
The law declares protesters within 300 feet of any funeral service guilty of first-degree disorderly conduct, punishable by up to a year in jail. It also prohibits protesters from using bullhorns at funerals.
The law was an attempt to ward off Westboro church members who had been attending funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq to protest what they call America’s lenient stance toward homosexuality.
“God Himself has now become America’s terrorist, killing and maiming American troops in strange lands for fag sins,” the church said in its most recent release.
Six members of the church staged a demonstration outside Fort Campbell on Feb. 8.
In May, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Frankfort that challenged the constitutionality of parts of Kentucky’s new law.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.