News (USA)

Westboro Baptist Church says it will picket at Sandy Hook funerals

The Westboro Baptist Church, home of anti-gay extremists and the “Gods Hate Fags” fundamentalist movement, announced via Twitter on Sunday plans to picket at the scene of the Newtown, Conn., elementary school shooting that occurred Friday.

Shirley Phelps-Roper, daughter of WBC founder and pastor Fred Phelps, tweeted Sunday, “Westboro will picket Sandy Hook Elementary School to sing praise to God for the glory of his work in executing his judgment.”

It is unclear if WBC members will actually be present, as the group is known for planning pickets and then not showing up, as they did after the Aurora, Colo., shooting earlier this year.

The internet hacker collective known as Anonymous was swift to respond to WBC’s announcement by bringing down the group’s “God Hates Fags” website, and subsequently released private information of Westboro members, including email addresses, phone numbers and home addresses.

Based in Topeka, Kan., the Westboro church is not affiliated with the Baptist denomination or any other Baptist church. According to news reports, almost all of its members — fewer than 100 — are related to founder Fred Phelps either by blood or marriage.

The hate group is best known for its protest of the funerals of U.S. service members, and 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.

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