Westboro Baptist Church claims to be an Independent Baptist church but it is not affiliated with any known Baptist conventions, in fact the two largest Baptist denominations, the Baptist World Alliance and the Southern Baptist Convention have denounced the WBC for years. The church describes itself as following Primitive Baptist and Calvinist principles although, again the mainstream Primitive Baptists also reject the WBC and the Phelps family (its primary members are of one family) and their activities and clearly distance itself.
The WBC, known for its extreme ideologies and its protest activities (anti-gay, anti-military) has managed with its meager membership (in 2011, the church stated that it had about 40 members) to bring national attention via their protests against the things which they disdain, in the name of God, of course. Here in America they can do this. They can include in their activities such things as picketing funerals of our fallen soldiers and desecrating the American flag. And, the American peoples tolerate their activities, but only up to a point.
We tolerate it in the name of Freedom of Speech to which we hold such high esteem that we do not mind that our next door neighbor’s flag pole hosts another countries flag, as long as the American flag is the higher of the two. We don’t mind that the Occupy Wall Street protesters speak out with valor abet misinformation. We don’t mind that my second grade teacher misspoke about George Washington and the Cherry tree. We tolerate. We tolerate, up to a point, and then a magical thing happens. The line is crossed and a giant wave is launched which flows over the country. So I thank the WBC for their protests, because, that wave has begun. Along miles of highways in this country Americans are proudly holding flags in honor of our fallen soldiers as the funeral procession passes. Most do not personally know the fallen but know he has given the ultimate sacrifice for their freedom, to live in a country where protest, where outspokenness, where freedom of speech is tolerated. God Bless America.