There are so many controversial issues surrounding the recent court ruling against millennial cultist leader Rev. Fred Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church that it's hard to know where to begin discussing it. Perhaps the worst part is that it puts me in the position of having to defend a pack of poisonous, inbred lunatics who I wish would just drop off the face of the earth.
For the past 15 years, Phelps and his church members (who are mostly directly related to him) have traveled around the country picketing public events and funerals, promoting their basic message that because of the decadence of American society, particularly in the area of toleration for homosexuality, America is doomed and is going to be targeted by God's judgement for being a modern day Sodom. They started out promoting the idea that AIDS was God's punishment for homosexuality, they moved on to claiming the 9/11 attack was God's vengeance, and most recently they have focused on the idea that the deaths of US soldiers in Iraq is the will of God to punish the immoral nation.
The cultlike church, which no major Baptist affiliation has been willing to associate with, has an overwhelming lust for any kind of media attention no matter how negative. In pursuit of exposure for their message they have discovered that the more outrageous and offensive their conduct, the more attention they will get. They really hit paydirt in their campaign to be as obnoxious as possible when they began picketing military funerals bearing signs with slogans like "God Hates Fags," "Thank God for Dead Soldiers," and "You're Going to Hell." Their fanaticism blinds them to the overwhelmingly negative public reaction to their behavior and they remain convinced that their radical methods are an effective way to get their message out. To some degree they are right, because it does get them so much press coverage that they will at least reach the attention of the small population of fellow bigots their message will appeal to.