Posted at 09:39 AM ET, 05/31/2011
By Sarah Anne Hughes
As President Obama honored fallen soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery on Monday, three members of the Westboro Baptist Church protested the ceremony, holding signs that read “Pray for more dead soldiers” and “God hates your prayers,” as the controversial group has become known to do. They were met by about 70 counterprotesters, including members from a group just as contentious as the church: the Ku Klux Klan.
Dennis LaBonte, who told CNN he was a military veteran and the “imperial wizard” of a KKK chapter, said the approximately 10 members of the group came in “support of the troops.” LaBonte, who said he’s not a “hate-monger,” said he “thinks that it’s an absolute shame that [the WBC] show up and disrupt people’s funerals.” The group was cordoned off in a separate area and reportedly “drew little attention.”
WBC member Abigail Phelps said the KKK “have no moral authority on anything.”
“The Bible doesn't say anywhere that it's an abomination to be born of a certain gender or race,” she said. In March, the Supreme Court ruled that the church has the right to picket funerals.
The other counterprotesters in attendance waved American flags and held signs with pro-U.S.A. slogans.