That's just plain ignorant and disrespectful. It's one thing to not agree with the gay way of life. It's another to protest at someone's funeral. If that soldier was a friend, or a relative of mine, and I was at that funeral, I would have beat those assholes down. And then this dickhead group had kids protesting with them, that don't even know any better. What are your thoughts on this?
Fri Aug 5, 7:58 PM ET
Members of the Rev. Fred Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan., are picketing military funerals, KMBC's Micheal Mahoney reported Friday.
The group has made national headlines for traveling throughout the country to picket gay churches, gay weddings, and the funeral of Matthew Shepard, a gay college student who was murdered in Wyoming in 1998.
Friday, about 15 members of the group -- some of them children -- picketed the funeral of a St. Joseph soldier who was killed in Iraq. Mahoney reported that the group stood across the road from the Grace Evangelical Church during the funeral of 21-year-old Spc. Edward Myers.
"The first sin was being a part of this military. If this young man had a clue and any fear of God, he would have run, and not walked, from this military," said protester Shirley Phelps-Roper. "Who would serve a nation that is godless and has flipped off, defiantly defied, defiantly flipped off, the Lord their God?"
One protester had an American flag tied to his belt that draped to the ground. He was holding a sign that read, "Thank God For IEDs," which are explosive devices used by insurgents to blow up military convoys.
Protesters said America has ignored the word of God, and those who defend the nation must pay a price.
"That's the first piece of solid evidence that you have that the young man is currently in hell," Phelps-Roper said.
"The soldier is in hell now, you believe?" Mahoney asked.
"Absolutely," Phelps-Roper said.
'Protesters Were Rude'
About a dozen veterans stood across the road from the protesters, and Mahoney reported that there were some harsh words and insults traded between the two groups. However, sheriff deputies were stationed about 100 yards away and there was no violence.
"The protesters were so rude -- were disrespectful," said veteran Jim Fields.
"Do I like it? No, I don't. But what can you say, it's a free country," said veteran Dave Campbell.
Veterans told KMBC that a member of the soldier's family shouted at the protesters to leave, and they left about 20 minutes after the funeral started. Mahoney reported that there was applause from veterans and other crowd members when the protesters left.
After the funeral was over, one of the mourners commented on the irony of the protesters showing up at a soldier's funeral.
"They shouldn't protest the funeral for a man who was out there dying to protect the rights that they're demanding they receive," said Marvin Russell.
Russell said he thinks the soldier's family saw the protesters.
"I think it saddened them. They didn't say anything outright, but you could tell by the way they looked down that this was a sad thing to do. They're already in mourning, they don't need people like this to make it worse," Russell said.
Myers was buried with full military honors in Leavenworth National Cemetery. He leaves behind a wife and two children.
One of the protesters said the group is planning to picket other military funerals.