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Charges likely for Satanists who performed ritual at grave of Westboro founder’s mother

Monday, July 22, 2013
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MERIDIAN, Miss. — Police in Meridian, Miss., say they plan to file charges against a group of self-described Satanists for performing a same-sex ritual at the grave site of the mother of Westboro Baptist church’s founder Fred Phelps.

On July 14, members of the New York-based the Satanist Temple performed what its spokesman describes as a “pink mass” ritual to celebrate gay love, at the grave in Meridian, Miss., grave site of Catherine Johnston, and then posthumously declared Johnston a lesbian.

Satanist Temple
Members of the Satanist Temple perform a “gay ritual” at the grave site of Catherine Johnston, mother of Westboro Baptist church founder Fred Phelps, on July 14.

The ritual — which consisted of the group’s spokesman Lucien Greaves wearing a headdress made of horns as two male couples, and a female couple recited scripture, lit candles and made out over the grave — was in protest of the Topeka, Kan.-based church’s frequent picketing at funerals of dead soldiers and it’s “God hates fags” demonstrations.

A video report of the ritual is here.

But now, Captain Dean Harper says the Meridian police department has plenty of evidence to arrest these individuals on charges of trespassing, indecent exposure and malicious mischief, reported WTOK-TV.

“It is an unusual crime that we haven’t come across to my knowledge in awhile,” says Harper. “Not only does it violate a state and city ordinance, but it also violates the moral decency of a human being.”

The Satanic Temple said they hoped their actions would draw attention to the organization’s efforts to raise money to participate in New York City’s Adopt-a-Highway program.

Westboro Baptist Church first came into the national spotlight in 1998, when it picketed at the funeral of Matthew Shepard, a 21-year-old gay man who was brutally attacked on the night of October 6, 1998, then tied to a fence and left to die.

The church is not affiliated with the Baptist denomination or any other Baptist church, and according to various reports, almost all of its members — fewer than 100 — are related to founder Fred Phelps either by blood or marriage

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