Anti-Gay Church Cancels Protest At Powell Boys' Funeral - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

NEW INFORMATION: Anti-Gay Church Cancels Protest At Powell Boys' Funeral

KOMONEWS.COM - A rabidly anti-gay church has canceled its plans to picket Saturday's funeral for the two sons of missing mom Susan Powell, who died in a raging house fire Sunday.

Fred Phelps Jr., founder of the Topeka, Kan.-based Westboro Baptist Church, sent out a tweet Friday morning saying the hate group had canceled the protest after getting an interview on a syndicated radio show.

"Just finished interview with @BobbyDshow. Bobby D. was a real gentleman. Washington trip now cancelled," Phelps' tweet said. Margie Phelps of the Westboro church group later sent out another tweet confirming the cancellation.

Phelps originally said Thursday that the hate group was planning to attend the Powell boys' memorial service as a protest against the pending legalization of gay marriage in Washington state.

That led to a backlash among hundreds of people, including a biker group and Occupy Seattle, who vowed that they would block the Westboro protesters if they showed up.

Fred Phelps Jr. later said the group would not protest if the group was granted an interview with the Bobby D. Show. After the interview, Phelps tweeted that the protest was canceled.

The two boys, Charlie and Braden Powell, were killed Sunday in a gasoline-fueled house fire set by their father Josh Powell after they arrived for a supervised visit. Powell himself also died in the inferno.

Alina Powell, Josh Powell's sister, called the Westboro church's planned protest "a horrible, disdainful act that serves no purpose other than to continue the years-long objectification of those little boys."

The memorial service for the two Powell boys, aged 5 and 7, is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday at Life Center Church in Tacoma.

Family members said the purpose of the service is to honor the memory of the boys, and anyone who comes with some other purpose in mind is not welcome.

The boys' tragic deaths were the latest in a dizzying series of twists in the case of missing mom Susan Powell, who disappeared in December 2009.

Josh Powell, her husband and the boys' father, was the only publicly named person of interest in her disappearance, and had earlier lost custody of his two sons.

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