To put it mildly, the Westboro Baptist Church has been controversial ever since its first public appearance way back in 1955. But it’s in the last 20 years or so, in the age of the internet, that the Kansas-based organization has really been in the public eye. Westboro Baptist is a tiny group but it has made a lot of noise and gotten a lot of attention. Its members have very harsh words for people condemned by its theology: the LGBT community, followers of other religions, and even the Swedish royal family! The group is most famous (or infamous) for its noisy, in-your-face protests. These demonstrations feature lots of yelling and deliberately provocative placards.
Westboro Baptist is widely regarded as a hate group and several foreign governments have even refused it permission to visit. The church is so over-the-top that it’s inspired numerous parodies, both on-line and off.
According to Westboro, the deaths of American military personnel overseas represent divine retribution against a nation of sinners. Even knowing that, it’s shocking to hear that they conduct protests live and in-person at the funerals of fallen soldiers!
Corporal Richard Bennet was a 25-year-old Marine who died in a helicopter crash in Iraq. His funeral was targeted by Westboro Baptist. At the family’s request, a group of bikers known as “The Patriot Guard” were there. Many of its members are veterans and therefore had at least some idea what Corporal Bennet’s loved ones were going through. The Patriot Guard used their own bodies, motorcycles, and American Flags to form a shield, separating the fallen Marine’s grieving family from the loud and disrespectful protest nearby. See for yourself in the video we’ve posted.
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