2005-2006: Protesters at Military Funerals
Throughout 2005-2006, members of the Westboro Baptist Church engaged in inflammatory protests at the funerals
of military personnel across Indiana, including in the communities of Portage, Martinsville, Kokomo, and Ft. Wayne.
The group, a tiny fundamentalist congregation from Topeka, KS, is considered a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Led by Rev. Fred Phelps, the group believes that the deaths of service personnel is a sign that God is punishing the United States
for its tolerance of homosexuality. They express their beliefs by singing offensive songs and carrying signs with slogans such as
“Thank God for IEDs” (i.e., Improvised Explosive Devices). The Patriot Guard, a group of motorcyclists, also has been attending
the funerals and attempting to shield the grieving families from the protesters.
• Lenz, R. (2006, February 20). Bikers drown out funeral protesters. Army Times. Retrieved on May 2, 2006, from http://www.armytimes.com/print.php?f=1-292925-1546852.php
• Nelson, A.J. (2005, August 29). Supporters overshadow protest by radical group. Reporter-Times.com. Retrieved on May 2, 2006, from http://www.reporter-times.com/?module=displaystory&story_id=25929&format=print