Re-quoting from BoingBoing
OK, for those who don’t know, here’s how the WBC scam works:
Most of Fred Phelps’ 13 adult children are lawyers, with law degrees from Washburn University in Topeka, KS. Those that are still in the church practice in the family law firm, Phelps Chartered, LLC. Phelps himself had been disbarred in 1979 for perjury, but his children carried on the law firm. Over 20 years ago, they discovered that if they picketed AIDS funerals in Kansas, distraught loved ones would lose control, and physically attack the WBC protestors. They sued, and won. Sensing a major income stream, they started protesting full-time, hoping to be attacked.
They started picketing full-time at museum exhibits, college graduations, poetry readings, rock concerts, celebrity funerals, and, of course, AIDS funerals? anywhere they could use free speech to get people to attack them.
When soldiers started coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan in body bags, they hit paydirt: Protest near (not at) funerals of soldiers, blaming America’s decline on “****,” and wait for the attacks.
They raise at least $200,000 a year doing this, and probably more. They fund the picketing business with lawsuits.
There is always a family lawyer at every protest. Every protest is videotaped, so they have rock-solid evidence when attacked. They target the highest-profile events they can, and make sure the media knows they are coming, so people are all riled up. They always protest on public property, sidewalks, and rights-of-way, so that they can’t be charged with trespassing. If there’s a legally-imposed “no protest zone” around funerals, they obey it. They are very clever to stay within the letter of the law.
And angry people fall for it, all the time. And the media never bothers to investigate how this scam works.
As mentioned this is a direct requoting from BoingBboing.