Fred Phelps does not believe what he is doing. This is a scam.
It's a business. They travel the country, set up websites telling you exactly when they'll be there, and using the most inflammatory statements all over the place, just to get someone to violate their rights for profit. Then they sue the military, the police force that was to protect them, and everyone that is around them for money. This is a sham, and it is a trap to get people sued. Every member of his family is an attorney. Phelps does not break the law. What he does is try to make you break the law by trying to punch your sensibilities about everything you hold dear, and then sue you and everyone municipality around him to the max.
This is a scam.
Whether he believes his posters or not is irrelevant.
He's using this as a moneymaking scheme.
Lay one finger on him, do one thing that violates him, and he will sue you, and more importantly, the city, the police department, the US Military, and any private property owner he happens to be standing on to make money off of it.
Let's look at the ways he's trying to get you up in a tizzy to violate his civil rights for profit:
He says God Hates (*)(*)(*)(*), God hates the US Govt., that God hates the US Military, God Hates you, and God justifies the killing of others.
Phelps knows that saying 'God' and 'Hate' in the same sentence gets people worked up. He knows that. He knows that people have a knee jerk reaction to that.
He says that the US Govt. and the United States are evil.
This is another hot button with people who love their country. It is intentional. It is designed to make you take a swing at him. He wants $50,000 from you. He wants a Powerball winner to swing at him so he gets 100 million dollars. It's that simple.
He goes after homosexuals, he goes after people who are making sacrifices. Phelps intentionally targets people that are being victimized, or good people doing their jobs to create more outrage. He kicks people when they're down. He does that so someone will come up and defend them. Then he will sue you.
His boards are laminated on hardwood, because he pulls them out of trucks at least five times a week. He also puts them in bright colors for attention, and makes absolutely sure that you can read them at all time. He's phishing you. Everyone must know that.