Kansas group to spew hate at local soldiers' funerals [Fouled-up Fred Phelps]
The Boston Herald
A radical Midwestern hate group plans to protest at the funerals of two local soldiers killed in action, claiming the slain heroes "were cast into hell to join many more dishonorable Americans."
The Westboro Baptist Church, proclaiming "thank God for IEDs" or roadside bombs, claims the 9/11 attacks and American deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan are God's vengeance on a nation that is tolerant of homosexuality.
"It's going to shock and enrage every person who sees it. That is our goal," said Margie Phelps, daughter of WBC leader Fred Phelps. The group is based in Topeka, Kansas, and has made headlines protesting homosexuality at school events, graduations and mainstream churches.
But when told about the group's plans, John Maloney, the father of slain Marine Capt. John Maloney, said his son died in Iraq to protect free speech, no matter how offensive.
"He fought and died for their right to do what they do," he said. "I may not agree with what they do. This is still the United States of America, isn't it?"
In addition to protesting Maloney's funeral, the group also plans to protest the Marblehead funeral of Staff Sgt. Christopher N. Piper, a Green Beret, killed in Afghanistan.
"This kid was an American hero," Marblehead veterans service agent David Roberts said. "I don't understand people like that. Any disrespect shown towards him and his family is beyond my imagination."
Margie Phelps said her father is a self-declared prophet.
"He hasn't been sent to save. He's been sent to condemn," she said, adding that group members have protested the funerals of 11 slain soldiers across the nation in the past two weeks.
Phelps said the protests may be disruptive to family members but "as long as it's being made into a public ordeal, then all bets are off."
She added, "Thank God for the mortar. Thank God for the shell that came from the gun. Thank God for the fact that it killed the fruit of America to punish it for its sins."
But Maloney, still grieving for his son, said simply, "I think they're misdirected. I'll pray for them."