When you see people like the Westboro Baptist Church do really crazy things, one has to wonder what in the world they hope to accomplish with their outrageous antics.
Their stated goal is to make the United States stop allowing homosexuality, stop allowing any non-christian activity and become something the United States never was and never was intended to be. Even though they say this is what they want, you have to think they know this is highly unlikely, if not impossible: so, what is it they really motivates them?
Since they can't logically get what they say they want, shouldn't they just give up and go away?
The same holds true for most terrorist organizations. When Al Qaeda does something outrageous, they usually follow it up with a list of their demands. If you read what they want, immediately you recognize that it's just ridiculous. They'll never get what they want. Some of it isn't even possible and surely they know their actions will only make us angry and make it that much less likely that we'll ever give what they want.
First you have to recognize that what they say they want isn't what they're really after. They'll give us a list of what they think we should do, but they know we'll never do it.
That doesn't mean their activity is fruitless though. Attacking us raises their status among their own peers, who also hate us. Attacking the U.S. or protesting the funerals of U.S. servicemen might make you a pariah in the U.S. and even hunted by our forces, but among their small social band, it makes them look extra brave and highly devoted to the cause.
This situation is especially true when you're dealing with a pretty small group like the Westboro Baptist Church, which is really just one extended family and not even all of them are in the group. With a small group, their hopes and goals and actions can get so far afield of the larger culture that they might as well be from Saturn.
Look at the Manson Family. They knew those murders weren't going to change the country or eliminate the people they called pigs, but participating in the murders raised their status among their demented little community to an almost god-like level.
Teenagers do the same thing. As adults we scratch our heads when teenagers skateboard down a flight of concrete steps, busting out a few teeth and breaking their arm. It was a completely stupid thing to do. So why do they do it? Because other teenagers think it's cool. Risking their necks for something completely pointless and stupid makes them a hero to their peers.
With adult groups there's another motivation as well. They might not get what they say they want, and they might not get but a very few converts, but there are enough people out there who also hate homosexuals or hate Americans who might lack the courage to actually do anything about it themselves, and they may not want other people to know they think that way, so they'll send these folks a few dollars. They're certainly not getting rich, but they do bring in enough money that way to continue doing what they're doing.
So, when you run into people like this, keep in mind they want radical confrontation. That gives them the most brownie points with the people back home. The best way to get rid of these people is by not giving them what they want. Embrace them. Love them. Don't even mention that you don't agree with them. Getting hugs from the opposition gives them zero clout with the folks back home. If we stop feeding their true desire, then pretty soon they'll pack up and go home, which is what we really want.