Wednesday, December 27, 2006


Bush signs law to stop protests at military funerals:

President Bush has signed into a law an amendment to U.S. law protecting military funerals from protests like those staged by a controversial Kansas church that characterizes soldiers' deaths as divine punishment for homosexuality.

The new amendment prohibits protestors from demonstrating within 150 feet of a funeral and within an hour of the memorial service. It provides a year in jail and/or an undetermined fine for violators.

The rule applies to funerals at non-federal cemeteries, joining legislation passed in May 2006 that bans demonstrations at national cemeteries such as Arlington National Cemetery outside Washington, D.C.

The prohibition will primarily affect the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC), a small congregation from Topeka, Kan., that pickets at military funerals because it says homosexuals are taking over the U.S. armed forces and the nation.

The church, led by Rev. Fred Phelps, says it believes God allows soldiers to die as punishment against America for allowing homosexuality to exist. It protests at military funerals across the country with signs featuring slogans like "God Hates Fags" and "Thank God for Dead Soldiers."