McClatchy Newspapers –
TACOMA, Wash. — Westboro Baptist Church may not be coming for the Powell boys’ service after all. A Tweet sent from leader Fred Phelps Jr’s Twitter account says “Washington trip now cancelled.”
The decision apparently came after Phelps was interviewed on the conservative radio broadcast “Bobby D Show.”
“Just finished interview with @bobbydshow. Bobby D. Was a real gentleman. Washington trip now cancelled.”
The notoriously anti-gay church had planned to picket Saturday’s funeral for Charlie and Braden Powell. The two boys, ages 7 and 5, were killed Sunday after their father, Josh Powell, blew up his Graham, Wash.-area house when they were dropped off for a supervised visit.
Margie Phelps, daughter of the Topeka, Kan.-based Westboro Baptist Church’s founder, tweeted Wednesday night that the church would attend the boys’ memorial service. The protest was intended to “remind” Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire “they died because of her rebellion,” a reference to her support of same-sex marriages.
On his blog this morning, show host Bobby D explained that he had been in discussions with Phelps about calling off the trip in exchange for airtime on the syndicated show:
“As I was doing research on Westboro Baptist Church I was made aware of the fact that they have called off pickets in favor of radio interviews. I offered up The Bobby D Show as a venue to talk their talk if the agreed NOT to come to the funeral of the Powell boys. Everything worked out but then, I had a change of heart. What if they showed up anyway? Well, after getting a call from someone we believe to be close to the family, we called off the interview unless we could air it on Monday as to keep the focus on the family. They said ‘no way’ to a Monday interview and we moved on.
“This morning though, Fred Phelps Jr. from Westboro Baptist Church did call in. He seemed fine to chat with us and let the interview air on Monday. Having said that, if they choose to show up to the event anyway, the interview will be destroyed and will never see the light of day.”