MERIDIAN, Miss. — A group of self-described Satanists say they’ve given the controversial, anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church a taste of its own medicine by performing a same-sex ritual at the grave site of the mother of the church’s founder.
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, mother of Westboro’s founder Fred Phelps, reported ABC News.
The group then posthumously declared Johnston a lesbian.
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The ritual 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.
The Westboro Baptist Church, based in Topeka, Kan., is home to the anti-gay extremists behind the “Gods Hate Fags” and “God hates the World” fundamentalist movement.
The 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.
The Satanist Temple said it planned the counter protest after Westboro members said it would picket at funerals for those killed in the Boston Marathon bombings.
Westboro has also said it would picket the funeral of “Glee” star Cory Monteith, who died Sunday of a “mixed drug toxicity” involving heroin and alcohol; Westboro called Monteith “a wicked fag-enabling sinner.”
The 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.