A Meridian native is at the heart of a national controversy.
Fred Phelps, pastor of Westboro Baptist Church, and members of his church protest at military funerals.
They apparently plan to do so at 10:15 a.m. Saturday in proximity to Freeman Funeral Home in Waynesboro, where Sgt. Eric Newman will be eulogized.
Newman died Oct. 14 when an improvised explosive device detonated in Afghanistan.
Phelps claims soldiers are evil, because they defend a country that tolerates homosexuality.
Ed Baker, state captain of the Patriot Guard Riders, said he believes this type of protest is done in the wrong manner.
"I think they have the right to protest, but I don't think they have a right to do it the way they are doing it," said Baker. "There's a line of respect and they've crossed it. It's my responsibility as an American to make sure they don't inflict pain on anybody else."
The Patriot Guard Riders attended Sgt. Newman's arrival back to the states. They attend events when they are requested to do so.