Protests Expected At Funeral
A Topeka, Kan., church believes U.S. military deaths in Iraq show God is punishing America. The community of Eugene is praying for the best, as mourners and protesters seem to be on a collision course.
"He watched my back," said Marine Sgt. Lawrence Slater. "He was my angel."
Family and friends of Lance Cpl. Darin Settle gathered Friday to say goodbye to the Marine who died in Iraq.
"He's a caring friend. He's a lovable guy. He's very emotional. He's a tough guy. He's always got your back on anything. He's just a heck of a guy," said Slater, who also described Settle as a religious person.
The people planning the protest belong to Topeka's Westboro Baptist Church. They believe God is punishing the U.S. for accepting homosexuality. One member, who's also a lawyer for the church, said they are acting out of love.
"The love is in the kindness, of being a lone voice crying in the wilderness, to warn you that your sin is taking you to hell, the only faithfull message on the landscape."
Cole County law enforcement is ready for the funeral and protest.
"If protestors are there, and there is a place for them, and they were acting out in a manner that Cole County residents found displeasing, I think that what would happen is, rather than give them any significance at all, they would simply be ignored," said Sheriff Greg White.
Darin Settle of Henley died last Friday in western Iraq. His funeral is Saturday at Cole County R-5 High School in Eugene, where Settle graduated in 2001.