WINNIPEG -- Residents rallied Thursday to protect the family of a young man murdered on a Greyhound bus last week from a posse of radical religious protesters planning to portray Tim McLean's death as God's wrath.You have to wonder if this is denying free speech, even if it does incite hate. There are a few ways to look at it.
Earlier this week, the Westboro Baptist Church - an organization branded as a hate group and infamous for protesting the funerals of slain U.S. soldiers - announced they would picket Mr. McLean's funeral to let Canadians know that his decapitation was God's response to Canadian policies enabling abortion, homosexuality and adultery.
But Shirley Phelps-Roper, daughter of church's founder, Fred Phelps, said a small group of protesters was stopped at the Canada-U.S. border on Thursday afternoon.
"They won't let us in, but we have a group that will cross in another spot," she said. "They'll have to strip search everyone who crosses that border or they won't know who we are. They'll have to see the WBC (Westboro Baptist Church) tattoo on our butts."
The resistance to the planned funeral protest started on Facebook yesterday morning when Jim Cotton, a resident of Winnipeg Beach, launched a page asking city residents to help protect Mr. McLean's funeral.
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