Why is the Westboro Baptist Church picketing Elizabeth Edwards' funeral?

More known for picketing funerals of US soldiers who have died in the Middle East, Westboro Baptist Church has vowed to picket the funeral of Elizabeth Edwards Saturday in Raleigh, N.C.

2. Why do they picket military funerals?

Kevin Lamarque/Reuters
Vietnam War veterans form a line to block an anti-gay protest held by members of the Westboro Baptist Church at Arlington National Cemetery on Veterans Day, Nov. 11.

During the past decade, Westboro expanded its "God hates fags" crusade by also picketing military funerals, part of its strategy to get maximum effect from its protests.

The group's use of signs such as "Thank God for dead soldiers" have brought it politically charged attention in a country in the midst of military endeavors in Iraq and Afghanistan that have led to the deaths of more than 4,400 US service men and women.

"Our attitude toward what's happening with the war is [that] the Lord is punishing this evil nation for abandoning all moral imperatives that are worth a dime," Fred Phelps has said.

The Patriot Guard Riders, a motorcycle group, fulfills its mission of "shielding the mourning family and their friends from interruptions created by any protester or group of protesters" by revving their engines loud enough to drown out picketers.

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