by David Mendez
The Westboro Baptist Church. Surely you're familiar, correct? They're the terrible people who go around with signs that read "God Hates Fags" and protest funerals after tragedies and do generally do everything in their power to make sure that no one is ever happy around them.
Basically, they're like the worst trolls of the internet—similar to 4chan's /b/ message board, for those who get that reference—but they're blatantly awful in real life.
Well, there are now petitions circulating the internet thanks to hacktivist group Anonymous, who have recently made it their mission to ruin WBC. Their purpose? To get WBC's status as a tax-exempt religious organization investigated, and ultimately revoked. Take a look, from Kansas City's WDAF-TV:
Using its Twitter account, Anonymous asked its followers to sign a petition that would investigate the IRS tax-exempt status of the church. As stated on the White House website, the petition claims: “The Westboro Baptist Church is better-known for homophobic displays, suing people and picketing funerals than for providing Christian care to a community. Due to their harassment and politicking, their IRS tax-exempt status should be immediately investigated.”
A total of 16,062 signatures are needed before the White House will review the petition. As of noon on Monday, nearly 10,000 people had signed it.
Another petition aims at stripping Westboro of its “religious” affiliation and classifying it as a hate group. As stated in part on the White House website, Westboro’s “actions have been directed at many groups, including homosexuals, military, Jewish people and even other Christians. They pose a threat to the welfare and treatment of others and will not improve without some form of imposed regulation.”
Over 108,000 people have signed this petition, which surpasses the 25,000 needed for the White House to review it.
Now, as we've said before, internet petitions are generally worth less than the paper they're not printed on, but this is a movement I can get behind.
Whether or not this can actually get any traction, or whether or not it ends up being a Supreme Court case in the long run, is up in the air. But it's interesting seeing people finally take a stand against something that is considered universally abhorrent.