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Westboro Baptist Church to Protest Newtown Funerals; Internet Retaliates

Westboro Baptist Church Anonymous
Left: Westboro Baptist Church member (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images); right: Anonymous member (Adam Berry/Getty Images)

Members of the Westboro Baptist Church, known for protesting the funerals of U.S. armed servicemen and women, announced that they plan to picket the upcoming funerals of victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. This did not go over well on the Internet.

First, Reddit responded. The site’s users pledged a human wall to defend against and counter the WBC protests.

Next, the online “hactivist” group Anonymous took aim. They began by hacking the church’s website and publishing the personal information of its members.

Then, a White House petition was created to legally classify the Westboro Baptist Church as a hate group. At the moment, the petition has about 125,000 signatures, more than enough to warrant an official response from the government. There is also a second petition gaining steam, this one requesting an investigation into the tax-exempt status of the church.

Finally, Shirley Phelps-Roper, the WBC spokesperson who initially tweeted her group’s intent to protest the Newtown funerals, had her Twitter account hacked. The hacker, who is probably the infamous (and Internet-banned) 15-year-old Cosmo the God, released her phone number and is using the account primarily to retweet anti-WBC commentary.

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