I know it's hard to believe.
First, there were the God Hates Fags signs.
Then, protesting outside any church that offers support to HIV-positive parishioners.
Then, protesting outside fallen soldiers' funerals.
Naomi Rose Edersole, 7
Anna Mae Stoltzfus, 12
Marian Fisher, 13
Mary Liz Miller, 8
Lina Miller, 7
Because, in Phelps' world, Amish girls between the ages of 7 and 13 are well-known abetters of the "radical homosexual agenda," and their funerals are the most appropriate place to protest that support.
*Spit* Could. Not. Be. Sicker.
Update: Commenter pilgrimsix points me to this Blackfive post on the intentions of Phelps and his followers in protesting funerals.
Update: *I should add that the Phelps church calls itself "Baptist," but isn't actually affiliated with, you know, normal Baptists who bring green-bean casserole to grieving families, not more grief.
Update: Salem's own radio host Mike Gallagher is doing the actual Lord's work-- not the Lord of "God Hates Fags" signage, which seems to be a very different one from the one I know-- by offering the Phelpses radio time if they'll promise not to protest these poor girls' funerals.
Normally, I'd object to someone legitimizing these freaks with a platform, but they're beyond legitimizing, so I think it's probably not a bad trade to spare the poor people of Pennysylvania some more sadness.
Plus, Fred Phelps' way with words has the effect of making any platform you give him look a whole lot like this one. Give 'im enough rope, as they say.
Update: Here's audio of the Gallagher interview with Shirley Phelps-Roeper, daughter of Fred Phelps. He agrees to give her an hour of his show if they'll skip the funerals. She says okay, but it has to be before the funerals.
Trusting that she is, indeed, a righteous woman, he takes her at her word. As I said, I'm not averse to giving her an hour of radio. Why? They'll hang themselves on national radio. Here's Shirley on the girls' afterlife status:
Phelps: "No, they're not going to Hell. They are in Hell. It's an immediate transition."
Gallagher: "So, am I going to Hell?"
Phelps: "It sounds like you are."
Sounds like somebody is.