Soldiers' wives against church protest

FORT BRAGG The church members are threatening to travel to Fort Bragg to picket the death of Specialist Megan Touma.

She was pregnant when she was murdered at a Fayetteville motel last month.

Danell shafer and other army wives will make their stand hoping to turn a protest into a rally.

"We want them to know that we are there supporting our troops and husbands," Shafer said.

Touma's death has drawn the attention of members of the Westboro Baptist Church --the Kansas group pickets funerals of fallen service members.

On their website the group claims war casualties are god's revenge for america tolerating homosexuals.

"Because this nation has turned their backs on God and he is pouring out his wrath and its all curses," Church member Shirley Phelps-Roper said on a phone call with Eyewitness News.

"Its horrible, I think its disrespectable to all those people that are losing their lives and out there fighting for the right to go out and speak like this," said Christina Elliot, wife of a Fort Bragg soldier.

Elliot says a lot of Fort Bragg wives are angry.

"It's spreading like wildfire; everyone is just feeling this patriotic urge to come out get their voice out there," Elliot said.

According to the church group's permit, fewer than a dozen members are expected for next Wednesday's demonstration.

Fayetteville police do not expect any trouble.

"What we are going to do is keep the groups apart and try to keep the peace," Fayetteville Police Lt. Chuck Kimbell said.

The church group is notorious for not showing up. They threatened to demonstrate at another soldier's funeral in Hope Mills two years ago, but did not.

Wives say even if the church is a no-show, they are still having their rally.

"We are going to have our rally and let everyone know that even though they may not be here, who cares. We are still here and we support our husbands," Tracey Harms, wife of a Fort Bragg soldier.

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