Hate-Mongering Group Protests Soldiers' Funerals

ByABC News via logo
March 20, 2006, 8:09 AM

March 20, 2006 — -- Nearly 2,300 soldiers have been buried across the country in the last three years. More than 100 of those funerals in the last nine months have been interrupted by what some call nasty and vile protests.

In the shadow of Colorado's Rocky Mountains, war widow Christina Misner was consoling her children and hoping to honor her husband with a small family funeral. She didn't expect protesters screaming things like:

"America is doomed. God is your enemy. You can't wave enough flags to bring that boy back."

Sgt. Gordon Misner started his second tour of Iraq after appearing on the History Channel. A month ago, he was killed in a roadside bomb attack. He was 23 years old and a father to three little girls, Marisa, 1; Haley, 2; and 4-year-old Natashia.

"He has three beautiful children that he'll never see grow up," said his mother, Charlene McCartin. "Part of my heart's gone and always will be. I mean, your children -- just not supposed to pass away before you do."

Misner's family never knew its private grieving would become part of a public spectacle.

Members of a small Kansas church purposely tries to disrupt funerals -- but this is not an anti-war protest.

They say the soldiers are evil, because they died defending a country that tolerates homosexuality. The congregation does not mind interrupting a grieving family's private time.

"Well, that's too bad, isn't it?" said Fred Phelps, pastor of the Westboro Baptist Church. "They think I can't preach at times like this? I think I can preach at times like this."

If a widow asked him to stay away, Phelps said he would respond, "No. Some maudlin widow. Look, you're partly to blame for him being dead, woman."

Phelps' congregation of mostly family members has picketed gay parades and events for years.