Fred Phelps, the head of the Westboro Baptist Church, is a loathsome little bigot who has loathsome opinions about his country. He expresses them by picketing soldiers' funerals, holding signs stating that the soldiers deserved to die for fighting for a country that tolerates "fags," and shouting that America is an unjust nation. This is despicable behavior, for which Phelps will, in due time, get his reward.
In response to Phelps's antics, a number of states have passed laws prohibiting demonstration or loud speech at funerals. In response to complaints that these laws are unnecessary and overbroad, and might be used to attack political or religious speech protected by the First Amendment (I'd argue the First Amendment protects Phelps from the government, but not from a punch in the nose), supporters nod and wink, suggesting without explicitly stating that these laws will only be used against Fred Phelps and his supporters. Of course these laws won't be used in an overbroad manner or to attack free exercise of religion and speech. They're meant merely to punish "fighting words" which otherwise would disrupt funerals.
But of course, that's not how they're being used. They are being used to punish unpopular speech, and in fact allow the police themselves to disrupt funerals. That's what happened at the funeral of Corporal Todd Motley in Clare County Michigan. Lewis and Jean Lowden, mourners at the funeral, not protesters, were yanked out of Corporal Motley's funeral procession and jailed because they had a homemade sign on their van, not much different from the "IMPEACH BUSH" bumper stickers that still infest college towns all over the country.
No one complained about the sign. These were family friends, not loudmouthed bigots with bullhorns. Mrs. Lowden had taught Corporal Motley in high school, while Mr. Lowden took him fishing as a child. In fact, it seems that the only people offended at all were Clare County deputies Calvin Woodcock and Lawrence Kahsin, who disrupted the procession by pulling the Lowdens over and jailing them for a day.
All for the equivalent of a bumper sticker.
Though prosecutors dismissed charges against the Lowdens, that's no guarantee this won't happen again. Any cop in Michigan can yank anyone out of a funeral procession for carrying a mildly provocative political bumper sticker or sign, unless Michigan's funeral protest law is declared unconstitutional, which it is. Fortunately Mr. Lowden didn't take this lying down, and has filed suit, assisted by the ACLU of Michigan, to have the statute voided. You can read more details of the case, as set forth in Mr. Lowden's complaint, here: lowden-v-clare-county-michigan-phelps-aclu-suit
When Lewis and Jean Lowden were pulled over and arrested, Fred Phelps won a more important victory than any he's ever won by disrupting a funeral. Phelps believes that America is a tyranny. When we pass laws allowing the police to arrest people for expressing an opinion, no matter whether it's strongly political (as with the Lowdens), or downright vile (as with Phelps), Phelps's opinion of America is vindicated.