The Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) is an extreme Christian group out of Topeka, Kansas, ministered by Fred Phelps and primarily made up of members of the Phelps family. Considered a hate group by many, the church is known for its stance against homosexuality, the American military, and virtually anything else that does not line up with their twisted take on Christianity. The church has become famous over the years through their incessant protests and their picketing of funerals for both military members and homosexuals.
The church owns several websites, their primary one being www.godhatesfags.com, which they use to promote their ideology and announce the plans for their next protest. Reports suggest that the Phelps family uses these protests as a way to incite violence or censorship upon the group, and – as the family is primarily made up of lawyers – they then sue whoever is unwitting enough to cross them, which provides the group with the money necessary to plan their next protest.
Sound like a bad movie? Just wait… it’s gets worse. As if the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut wasn’t enough, the WBC recently announced plans to picket and protest the funerals of the children who were killed in the attack. The church’s reasoning? They believe that these children were killed due to the godless nature of their school, and they feel the children deserved it. Yup – deserved it. I’ll leave it at that.
Enter everyone’s favorite Internet superheroes, Anonymous.
Anonymous is no stranger to the Westboro Baptist Church. The hacker collective came under attack by the Phelps family almost two years ago when the church accused Anonymous of sending threats to the church and targeting the church’s websites with DDoS attacks. Anonymous denied the allegations, saying that the attacks either came from unaffiliated groups or were a ruse. On the David Pakman radio show, WBC member Shirley Phelps-Roper squared off with a representative of Anonymous over the controversy. During the radio show, Anonymous repeatedly refuted the church’s claims, but became fed up with Phelps Roper’s confidence that their websites were invincible due to the power of God. Live, and during the interview, the Anonymous representative hacked the WBC’s website (the only one that was still up) and began what would become a series of back-and-forths between the two groups.
Fast forward to today – on the news that Westboro Baptist plans to picket the Newtown victims’ funerals, Anonymous has once again targeted the group, beginning by releasing the personal information of all Westboro members on AnonPaste. In addition, Anonymous released a video statement, condemning Westboro’s actions. Here is an excerpt from the release:
“Since your one-dimensional thought protocol will conform not to any modern logic, we will not debate, argue, or attempt to reason with you. Instead, we have unanimously deemed your organization to be harmful to the population of The United States of America, and have therefore decided to execute an agenda of action which will progressively dismantle your institution of deceitful pretext and extreme bias, and cease when your zealotry runs dry.
We recognize you as serious opponents, and do not expect our campaign to terminate in a short period of time. Attrition is our weapon, and we will waste no time, money, effort, and enjoyment, in tearing your resolve into pieces, and with exposing the incongruity of your distorted faith.”
With other plans of attack supposedly in place, Anonymous looks to be gearing up for quite a battle, as are many others. There are several Internet petitions seeking for the White House to officially recognize the Westboro Baptist Church as a hate group and many are already planning counter-protests for when the Phelps family decides to arrive in Newtown. According to reports, state troopers will be assigned to each victim’s funeral in order to ensure Westboro’s protests don’t violate any laws.