They travel from town to town, preaching what they call a gospel of truth, and on Monday members of the controversial Westboro Baptist Church brought their message to the campus of Ohio State.
Though usually far outnumbered by counter-protestors, the group has made headlines across the country, 10TV's Glenn McEntyre reported.
"They had signs saying 'Thank God for Aids,' and 'Thank God for dead soldiers,'" said counter-protestor Thom Tyznik. "I just believe what they do is inherently evil."
Led by Kansas Pastor Fred Phelps, church members protest outside the funerals of American service members killed in action.
While no one questions their right to free speech, many who showed up to protest against the group questioned their methods.
"When it comes to a private funeral where individuals are mourning the loss of someone they care about, then maybe you shouldn't be permitted," said counter-protestor James Ferguson. "Maybe that's where the line is between free speech and actual harassing."
That line is what the Supreme Court is set to define as it convenes this week, McEntyre reported.
The family of Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, killed in Iraq in 2006 at the age of 20, sued Phelps for invasion of privacy after he picketed Snyder's funeral.
Retired Ohio State law professor David Goldberger said the question before the court is where free speech conflicts with a right to privacy.
"If they had held their protest in a public park, and not in relation to a funeral, and did not direct it at the family in particular, then this case would not be in the U.S. Supreme Court," Goldberger said. "We ought to be careful, if Phelps loses, about celebrating, because of its potential to be a basis to restrict speech later on down the road."
Phelps's group stopped in Dayton and Columbus on the way to Washington, D.C.
The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the case on Wednesday, but a ruling is not expected for several months.
Watch 10TV News HD and refresh 10TV.com for additional information.