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Originally published Wednesday, December 10, 2008 at 10:10 PM

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New Capitol display sought with Santa "hell" warning

A Kansas-based church that has blamed deaths in Iraq on U.S. tolerance of homosexuality has asked Gov. Christine Gregoire's office to approve...

The Olympian

A Kansas-based church that has blamed deaths in Iraq on U.S. tolerance of homosexuality has asked Gov. Christine Gregoire's office to approve a "Santa Claus will take you to hell" message to display among other religious statements in the Capitol's third-floor hallway.

The Westboro Baptist Church's message would be near a Nativity set, three signs mocking atheism, and an atheists' sign that celebrates the winter solstice, while also taking a shot at religion as "myth and superstition" that enslaves minds, all in the state Capitol's third-floor hallway.

The first part of Westboro's proposed message, according to Spokesman-Review reporter Rich Roesler:

"You'd better watch out, get ready to cry, You'd better go hide, I'm telling you why 'cuz Santa Claus will take you to hell. He is your favorite idol, you worship at his feet, but when you stand before your God He won't help you take the heat. So get this fact straight: you're feeling God's hate, Santa's to blame for the economy's fate, Santa Claus will take you to hell."

Westboro Baptist, led by Fred Phelps Sr., has protested at funerals for gays and at military funerals, blaming the nation's tolerance for gays for the loss of U.S. military personnel in Iraq. The actions prompted the Washington Legislature to pass House Bill 1168 in 2007, making it a misdemeanor crime of disorderly conduct to disrupt a funeral or protest within 500 feet of a funeral or funeral procession.

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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