Westboro cancels Sunday pickets of Marion churches

Picketing of Marion churches announced by the Westboro Baptist Church were cancelled Sunday because of weather, according to a spokesman for the Marion Police Department. The protest of Marion ?High School, planned for 7:50 a.m. to 8:20 a.m., will proceed as scheduled, according to the spokesman.

The temperature at the time of the first protest — 8 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. at Holy Family Catholic Church — was around 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Strong northwest winds dropped the wind chill to below zero.

Westboro had announced additional protests at Marion Presbyterian Church, Marion Valley United Methodist Church, Emanuel Baptist Church and Eastmoor United Methodist Church.

The protests were in response to the Nov. 30 arrest of Ryan Newell, Marion, for allegedly stalking WBC members and four additional misdemeanor charges. Newell, who was severely wounded while serving with the Army in Afghanistan, has since been released on his own recognizance for counseling and treatment.

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