Skip to main content

Anonymous targets Westboro Baptist over threats of Newtown protest

Shirley Phelps-Roper of the Westboro Baptist Church, which is under fire from hacker group Anonymous.
Shirley Phelps-Roper of the Westboro Baptist Church, which is under fire from hacker group Anonymous.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Hacktivist group Anonymous publishes personal info of Westboro Baptist Church members
  • Church group announced it would picket site of school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut
  • Anonymous posts members' private e-mail addresses, phone numbers and home addresses

(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.

See the original article on Mashable.com

© 2013 MASHABLE.com. All rights reserved.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
December 12, 2014 -- Updated 2030 GMT (0430 HKT)
Though Congress hasn't passed any gun reform laws in the two years since the Sandy Hook massacre, there's one senator who's made it his mission to push for changes.
November 23, 2014 -- Updated 1914 GMT (0314 HKT)
Adam Lanza was an isolated young man with deteriorating mental health and a fascination for mass violence, according to a report released by a Connecticut state agency.
December 14, 2013 -- Updated 1558 GMT (2358 HKT)
Horror struck Newtown, Connecticut, in such a disturbing way that the nation still struggles with its impact a year later.
June 8, 2013 -- Updated 1120 GMT (1920 HKT)
Fifty miles from Newtown, workers hate that their products fall into the wrong hand. But the Second Amendment is sacred here.
Rabbi Shaul Praver says people in Newtown have grown weary of syrupy condolences.
June 8, 2013 -- Updated 1118 GMT (1918 HKT)
Congress may have defeated tighter gun laws, but states have been passing bills of their own in the wake of Newtown
Details continue to emerge about what precisely happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Here is a timeline of events that compiles the latest reporting.
An interactive tribute to the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
May 25, 2013 -- Updated 0512 GMT (1312 HKT)
The public school district will receive $1.3 million to help the community recover from the , U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced.
March 29, 2013 -- Updated 1353 GMT (2153 HKT)
Police released new documents related to the shootings last year at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, but a motive for the attack by the troubled young man remained elusive.
January 15, 2013 -- Updated 1626 GMT (0026 HKT)
His parents remember Dylan Hockley as such a happy child.
December 19, 2012 -- Updated 1517 GMT (2317 HKT)
Amid the chaos that first-responder Ray Corbo witnessed on Friday, there is one image that he will never forget.
December 20, 2012 -- Updated 1502 GMT (2302 HKT)
In many ways, Josh Stepakoff's childhood came to an abrupt halt at 10:49 a.m. on August 10, 1999.
December 20, 2012 -- Updated 1440 GMT (2240 HKT)
When Lauren Rousseau's boyfriend wakes up, he can smell her perfume.
December 18, 2012 -- Updated 1530 GMT (2330 HKT)
Placing yourself in the path of flying bullets to protect innocents. It's a job description fitting for a soldier or police officer, but not for a school teacher.
ADVERTISEMENT