Yes, They Went There: Westboro Baptist Pickets Beau Biden’s Funeral

Yes, They Went There: Westboro Baptist Pickets Beau Biden’s Funeral

It has often been said that no parent should ever have to bury a child.

Yet Vice President Joe Biden had to do just that today, as he attended the funeral of his son Beau Biden, who died last week at the age of 46 from brain cancer. This was not the first time Biden has endured the grief of losing a child; in 1972 he lost his 1-year-old daughter and his wife in an automobile crash.

Biden coffin

No matter your political stance, you cannot help but be moved by this photo of a father in the depths of grief.

There were those, however, who relished the event of the funeral. Three members of the loathsome Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas, were on hand at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Wilmington, Delaware, to picket the event with their anti-gay signs and songs. WBC announced their plans to picket the Biden funeral on Friday, saying, “As for Beau Biden, his life was cut short by the will of God to whom all glory is given and he has an eternity of answering to the Lord for his own words, thoughts, actions and sins.”

WBC at Biden funeral. Click to enlarge. Credit:

One man was arrested for throwing coffee at the protestors. That action may not end with a slap on the wrist; the WBC is well-known for slapping lawsuits on people and communities.

I live in Kansas, and Kansans consider the Westboro Baptist Church to be a boil on the derriere of our sensible Midwestern state. But there is one thing the WBC can accomplish, and that’s to unite Americans both left and right into mutual abhorrence of them. They bring out a patriotic fervor which brings people together to counter protest in magnificent ways.

My husband and I had the privilege of standing united with other Americans at the funeral of Navy SEAL Matt Mason in August of 2011. Mason was killed in a helicopter attack in Afghanistan, and his funeral was held at a large church in  Leawood, Kansas. Word got around that WBC members were planning to picket, and Patriot Guard riders and other counter protestors — including my husband and me — showed up to obliterate the sight of the WBC with a crowd chanting “USA! USA!”

Here is a picture I took of the Westboro members shortly after they arrived. Despite the fact that they came from Topeka, at the most a one-hour drive from Leawood, there were only a few of them.

WBC 8:11

Here is a picture I took of fellow Americans as we took to the streets with flags to shelter the Mason family and mourners from having to view the WBC.

Patriots 8:11

Earlier that year, the Supreme Court ruled in Snyder v. Phelps that the First Amendment shielded the Westboro Baptist Church from liability for picketing a funeral. They do not lose First Amendment protections no matter how outrageous their speech may be (and it is indeed some of the most execrable speech to be found in the Public Square).

I am heartened by the thought that the Westboro Church will eventually fade away. Patriarch Fred Phelps died in 2014, and the tiny cult will die out from attrition, and from younger family members rejecting their hate. But everyday patriotic Americans? We’ll be there to care for those who mourn, like Vice President Joe Biden, even if we may disagree with them.

Written by

Kim is a pint-sized patriot who packs some big contradictions. She is a Baby Boomer who never became a hippie, an active Republican who first registered as a Democrat (okay, it was to help a sorority sister's father in his run for sheriff), and a devout Lutheran who practices yoga. Growing up in small-town Indiana, now living in the Kansas City metro, Kim is a conservative Midwestern gal whose heart is also in the Seattle area, where her eldest daughter, son-in-law, and grandson live. Kim is a working speech pathologist who left school system employment behind to subcontract to an agency, and has never looked back. She describes her conservatism as falling in the mold of Russell Kirk's Ten Conservative Principles. Don't know what they are? Google them!

  • Jodi says:

    Vile, soulless cretins.

    Were I closer, I’d have helped block them from the view of the Bidens.

    RIP, Beau. ;(

  • Kim Quade says:

    Thanks! 🙂

  • RKae says:

    WBC is not a church! They are leftists performing guerrilla street theater. It is their interpretation of how “evil” Christianity is.

    It’s amazing to me how many people do not know this!

    Someone needs to call them out! It is a fraud!

    • Kim Quade says:

      Disagree. I have lived in my adopted state of Kansas for over 30 years, and I have been aware of them for years. They truly believe their hate is God’s command. They are not leftists.
      It is true that Fred Phelps supported Al Gore in the late 1980’s, but changed his tune after Gore began to support gay rights.
      I do agree that they are not a true church, but a cult composed primarily of family members. They get away with as much as they do because Fred Phelps was a lawyer (eventually disbarred by the state), his numerous children became lawyers, and this bunch is notorious for winning lawsuits.

  • Nina says:

    Well said Kim!

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