Anonymous targets Westboro Baptist Church over Newtown protest threat

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(CNN) — Hacktivist group Anonymous published what it claims to be personal information of members of the Westboro Baptist Church after the group announced on Saturday it would picket Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, where 26 children and adults were killed.

Anonymous published private e-mail addresses, phone numbers and home addresses of various members, and teased the group about the hack on Twitter. Anonymous also posted a video condemning the group for “breeding hatred” and adding, “We will destroy you. We are coming.”

The Westboro group holds protests at military funerals, and targets various cultures and demographics, particularly gay people. The group blames them for tragedies such as shootings, saying it’s God’s punishment for their actions.

The Westboro Baptist Church has previously been warned by Anonymous, who in February 2011 told the group to “Cease and desist” its protest campaign in 2011, or face damage to its website. “The damage incurred will be irreversible, and neither your institution nor your congregation will ever be able to fully recover,” Anonymous wrote.

And the group may be forced to stop picketing if several new petitions gain enough momentum.

Two White House petitions, both published on Friday, aim to classify the Westboro Baptist Church as a hate group. “Legally recognize Westboro Baptist Church as a hate group” has more than 72,000 signatures, while another called “Define the Westboro Baptist Church as a hate group due to promoting animosity against differing cultural demographics” clocks in at 17,000 signatures.

Petitions that gain 25,000 signatures by Jan. 13, 2013 will be viewed by the Obama Administration, and a response will be issued.

The American Bar Association defines hate speech as “speech that offends, threatens, or insults groups, based on race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, or other traits.”

Do you think the Westboro Baptist Church is exercising its right to free speech, or does this classify as hate speech? Tell us in the comments.


  • 111thevoice

    They are using their freedom of speech to incite violence. They are promoting violence and disgustingly disrespecting the families who are already suffering. These are Anti/Godly people. They have no right to claim that they ate doing God’s work. Our God is a God of Love, yes He is our Father and a Father corrects but a Father corrects with Love. No, not with hatred to break us but to build us, just as our own parents do. They act as judges who appointed them righteous enough to judge. May our Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on them when His hand comes upon them for hiding behind Him to promote all that is against the Ten Commandments.

  • Nancy in SF

    This goes way beyond free speech. I mean come on! I support Anonymous 100%. Someone has to speak for the little angels that were brutally murdered. I mean in a way westboro Bap has stepped into the role of representing the killer! I just wish we could do more to destroy them.

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