A reader writes:
Honestly, much as I loathe the Christianist right, it's not really accurate to cite the Westboro Baptist Church as even their fringe. The WBC is more like the LaRouche cultists---so far off in a world of their own that categorizing them as right or left doesn't make sense.
In fact, their move off the map is something of a fascinating story---in the early aughts, they could have hitched their star to the rising Christianist movement. But instead they started protesting military funerals, a move seemingly calculated to alienate them from the white southern populists who seem like their natural allies.
And I've always thought it *was* specifically calculated to that end. One of the most interesting things about the BBC doc on the WBC is seeing how their organization thrives on alienation and humiliation---whenever someone attacks on of them at a protest, via shouts or thrown Slurpees, everyone in the group comes together in a way people only can when they feel mutually threatened. In that sense, they are like Glenn Beck---people who deliberately provoke outrage, because the outrage of their enemies strengthens group solidarity.