Those appalled by the tactics of the Westboro Baptist Church have a new folk hero: An Omaha man yesterday drove by as the group protested the funeral of a Marine killed in Afghanistan, reached out his window and pepper-sprayed them. George Vogel, 62, faces 16 charges of misdemeanor assault, one felony charge of assaulting a cop (oops), oh, and child neglect because his kid was in the truck, reports CNN.
The group escaped harm, said a spokeswoman, by shielding themselves with their picket signs (which often read "Thank God for Dead Soldiers," "AIDS Cures Fags," etc.) Westboro Baptist, a Kansas church led by Fred Phelps, maintains that wars and natural disasters are God's revenge for homosexuality, and their protests have drawn much criticism and even an $11 million lawsuit. Their antics have spawned a counter-movement, the Patriot Guard Riders, who shield military family members.