Westboro Protests Biden Funeral, Runs Into Trouble

Hundreds shield AG's funeral from 3 Westboro protesters
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 7, 2015 8:03 AM CDT
Westboro Runs Into Wall of Love for Beau Biden
Counter protesters block the signs of the Westboro Baptist Church as the motorcade carrying President Obama travels through Wilmington, Del.. to the funeral of Beau Biden, Saturday, June 6, 2015.   (William Bretzger/The Wilmington News-Journal via AP)

As President Obama eulogized Beau Biden yesterday, another tribute took place outside on the street in Wilmington, Del.: Westboro Baptist Church sent three members to protest the funeral of the vice president's son, and as the News Journal puts it, "The group was soon outnumbered about 100-to-1 by mourners who drowned out the Westboro members. Counter protesters sang 'Amazing Grace,' held their own signs, and displayed American flags." Citing her desire to be where the "eyes and ears of the nation are today," Westboro honcho Shirley Phelps-Roper applauded the counter protest. "I say 'Yay. Thank God.' They are our target audience. The best way to get the words to them is for them to come out and lay their eyes on them."

A sample of quotes from the counter-protesters:

  • "Nobody is going to do this to Joe, Jill, Hallie, and especially Beau," said one protester carrying a "GOD ♥ 'S US ALL GAY, BLACK & BEAU" sign. "They have their right to free speech, but what they have to realize is that people died to give them that right and that's what I'm here to protect."
  • "There's not a whole lot we can do but hold the flag," said a National Guardsman who served with Beau Biden. "He's a good guy. He definitely doesn't deserve this kind of trash."
  • A top Delaware Democrat marched with two prominent Republicans. "In some sense I feel bad for the Westboro folks," said the executive director of the state GOP. "It must be very painful to wake up every morning and be filled with that much hatred. It is a lonely way to lead one's life."
The counter protest wasn't entirely peaceful: The News Journal notes that one man tossed his coffee on a Westboro member; he was arrested for disorderly conduct. (It's not the first time counter-protesters have shielded a funeral from Westboro.)

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