I totally understand why people feel the way they do. In fact, as far as the emotion is concerned, I'm right there with them. My reaction to this behavior, or my reaction to something like a flag burning, is just like most people's. I'm angered.
As disgusting as their behavior is though, the Phelps family did not violate state laws. They did not come within a thousand feet of the funeral. They were never even actually seen by the father of the heroic soldier. They did not come in contact with the funeral or disrupt it in any way.
What they did was exercise their Constitutional right to protest in the most unpopular way imaginable. Sometimes we, as a Constitutional republic, are tested. We are tested by Klansman, Neo-Nazis, Communists, Anarchists, and all types of fringe groups, organizations like the Phelps family.
But our Constitution, our republic, must be bigger than this. In America, we respect the right to protest, and our soldiers fight to uphold that right. I once read somewhere, that if we are not able to burn our flag, then it stands for nothing. The same goes, I believe, for free speech. If unpopular speech is not protected, then we don't have a First Amendment. Why would popular speech ever need protection?
Folks, we should not allow people like this to trick us into trampling on our Constitution. America, the one Matthew Snyder gave his life for, is bigger, much bigger than this.