Members of a small Missouri town banded together Saturday to block a controversial pastor and members of his Westboro Baptist Church from protesting the funeral of a fallen U.S. soldier, reports.

Hundreds of residents in Weston, Mo. — as well as people as far away as California and Australia — rallied in support of Sgt. First Class C.J. Sadell, who died from injuries suffered during a surprise attack in Afghanistan.

The residents sought to block Fred Phelps, leader of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan., and his followers from picketing Sadell’s funeral, according to the station.

Phelps' church has been the subject of intense criticism for holding more than 44,000 pickets at funerals and other events – including the services of fallen service members.

Citing their First Amendment right to protest, Phelps' followers say they use funerals as an “available public platform” to “deliver the message that there is a consequence for sin.” Phelps is openly opposed to homosexuality and all government policies they he says supports homosexuals.

"We got everybody here early so we could take up all the parking spots," Rebecca Rooney of Weston, Mo., told "We did that so Mr. Phelps wouldn't have a contingency that was really close."

"I'm glad they left, but I'm sad they came," she said.

Sadell, who leaves behind a wife and two sons, was stationed in the Arif Kala region of Afghanistan when his unit was ambushed on Oct. 5. Five soldiers were killed in the attack and Sadell was badly injured. 

The 34-year-old died from his injuries on Oct. 24.


  1. Major Payne,
    It is with great gratitude that I thank you for your service to this great nation. I also thank you for posting this information in regard to the Weston, MO community for out-foxing Mr. Phelps at his own game. Several words come to mind,unified, tenacious, resolute. Thank you Weston, Mo.

  2. Thank you and may you rest in eternal peace Sgt. First Class C.J. Sadell and may those that love you find peace in the midst of this storm of life. You and those that love you and those that stood between you and those that would disturb a loving final goodbye are an example of all that is good in this Republic.

  3. Thank you Weston MO for your service to Sgt. First Class C.J. Sadell and his loved ones preventing these self avowed enemies of America (that gaggle of lawyers pretending to be a church)from disturbing the final farewell of yet another one of our Warriors.

  4. Thank you for posting this! Way to go, folks of Weston, MO and all those that helped them! I am glad you sent that bunch of scum packing. I am from PA and remember how lowdown dirty this bunch was to the Snyder family. God rest Sgt. First Class C.J. Sadell and give comfort to his family.

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