Hours before President Barack Obama led the nation's Memorial Day observances at the Tomb of the Unknowns, three members of the Westboro Baptist Church were challenged by others who disagreed with them -- including members claiming to be from the Ku Klux Klan.
The Kansas-based church has attracted nationwide attention for its angry, anti-gay protests at the funerals of U.S. military members.
Among those counter-protesting at the cemetery's main entrance: About 10 members of a group that claims to be a branch of the Ku Klux Klan from Virginia called the Knights of the Southern Cross. They were cordoned off separately in a nearby area, but drew little attention as they gave out small American flags behind a banner that read "POW-MIA."
They said they were there to object to the Westboro Baptist Church's anti-troop message.
Anti-gay preacher once fought for civil rights
"It's the soldier that fought and died and gave them that right to free speech," said Dennis LaBonte, the self-described "Imperial Wizard" of the KKK group that he said he formed several years ago.
"That's fine," said Abigail Phelps, the daughter of Westboro Baptist Church founder Fred Phelps. "They have no moral authority on anything.
"People like them say it's white power ... white supremacy," Phelps said. "The Bible doesn't say anywhere that it's an abomination to be born of a certain gender or race."
LaBonte insisted he is not a racist nor a "hate-monger," but said he believes the white race is "slowly and most assuredly being denigrated."
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Haters Protesting Haters
The Westboro Baptists didn't take the Memorial Day weekend off. Instead, they were out protesting at Arlington National Cemetery, but they were greeted by none other than the Ku Klux Klan, which organized a counter protest.