Their claim is that America's acceptance of homosexuality is the cause of death for American soldiers. Now, Westboro Baptist Church is set to preach that message at the funeral of a Bedias Marine.
The Topeka, Kansas church has confirmed they will stage a peaceful demonstration at the Bedias Baptist Church starting at 11:15 a.m. Sunday, just hours before the funeral of Lance Corporal Bobby Twitty, who was killed in Iraq Sunday.
"America bombed our church with an IED made by fag students at Washburn Univ. in Topeka. In His retaliatory wrath, God is killing Americans with Muslim IEDs," reads a press release on the Twitty demonstration by Westboro Baptist Church.
The church says their efforts are peaceful, but he reaction they get sometimes is less than peaceful.
"The response is generally a lot of caterwauling, a lot of carrying on," said Shirley Phelps-Roper, an attorney and member of Westboro Baptist Church. "Once in a while, people act a little lawless, but by in large, what they do is they unequivocally reject the words of the scriptures. It's a most amazing thing that we stand on the streets of a nation who calls itself a Christian nation, but amazingly, they are Bible ignorant."
Approximately 10 members of the church will be present at the Twitty funeral, the church confirms.
Since 1991, Westboro has made 32,000 demonstrations across the country and around the world.
"This message we have used to be universally preached in this nation before you all went a-whoring after strange gods and idols," Phelps-Roper said. "This nation doesn't even think in terms of obeying their God."
Since the start of the war in Iraq, members of the church have shown up at military funerals, preaching that the lives lost are from God's hatred for America.
"We have rewritten your patriotic and your military songs to more properly fit the picture for this nation, and we sing those songs and we do it without any voice amplification," Phelps-Roper said. "It's just awesome, and you're not going to find anymore kind-hearted people than these people you'll see standing on your streets."
Those signs read of statements like, "America is Doomed," "God is America's Terror" and "Pray for More Dead Kids."
"My first reaction was to get together our church family to pray about what the repercussions could be," said Reverend Jerald Brown, who will officiate the services for Bobby Twitty at Bedias Baptist Church, where the lance corporal was a member.
Brown says he has no plans to greet the visitors from Kansas, but says there will be many more people to greet Twitty's body and family. Brown says some 200 people have called to say they'll be in Bedias just since they heard Westboro was coming.
"If anything, it's just drawn the whole area together around a grieving family in their time of loss," Brown said, "and I think it will be turned around as an honorable thing."
The resources of regional law enforcerers will also be on hand. They were going to be there anyway to pay their respects to Twitty. Now, less than a dozen people will have some focus on them, though Grimes County Sheriff Don Sowell says Westboro will be a non-issue.
"The services of this Corporal Twitty and the dignity of his memory and his service to his country and his funeral and ceremony will not be compromised," Sowell said. "I assure you that."
However, the message of Westboro is scheduled to be present in Bedias as Bobby Twitty's casket is brought through.
"This nation does not obey her God, and this nation is doomed," Phelps-Roper said. "You've crossed the line. There is no turning back. You're doomed."
Bobby Twitty's body will be transported from Madisonville Funeral Home starting at 12:15 p.m. Sunday. Local residents are expected to line the road to Bedias, where Twitty's funeral will begin at 2 p.m.