back to article Anonymous hacks Westboro Baptists over Sandy Hook protests

Anonymous has posted personal data of many members of the Westboro Baptist Church and is promising to shut down the religious sect after it announced plans to protest the funerals of those killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School last week. "We have unanimously deemed your organization to be harmful to the population of the USA …

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Mushroom

Re: What I wish would happen to WBC

There was an incident a couple of years ago where all four tires on a WBC van were slashed while they were spewing their hate (in Oklahoma, I think)... When they were ready to leave, they couldn't because of the slashed tires, and every independent tire shop in the town refused to sell them even one tire. They finally had to have the van towed to a nearby city where they bought the tires at a chain store tire center... They had to wait for a break in the line of cars wanting service before they could get their tires... several more hours. The chain store tire center manager said he would have refused them service too, but the store manager gave him a direct order.

Time for the nuclear option on Westboro Baptist Church of Hate...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What I wish would happen to WBC

They should literally be treated as vermin animals.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What I wish would happen to WBC

For doctors: yes, they should not refuse to care for any life threatening illness.

Like, say, colon cancer or prostate cancer.. Can't be too careful, Mr. Phelps, you need a screening, the sooner the better - Nurse, fetch the colonscopy camera and my gloves.... What, you were screened the last time you were in here? Well, y'know, it can develop rapidly, best to check again. Yesterday? well, it could be very rapidly developing....

Also, I need to check for hernia while I'm "in the neighborhood" - cough please. And have you been screened for testicular cancer?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What I wish would happen to WBC

I do believe the oath is "do no harm".

Not "do no harm unless they are hateful cunts."

Though yes, the mental image does amuse.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What I wish would happen to WBC

I can see your point, but does Israel really need any more Ultra-nutters.

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Perhaps

prayer could halt the attack?

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Hacking is wrong; but since Westboro Baptist Church are racist, sexist, homophobic bigots, who may picket children's funerals, its very hard to feel sorry for them.

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Silver badge

Hacking...

I wouldn't mind if they took a more literal meaning to the word...

and they went straight to the WBC web-servers with a very large axe and gave them a reprogramming they wouldn't forget.

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FAIL

"Protest the funerals"?

Are they protesting for or against the funerals? Or perhaps "at"?

Grammar aside, WBC are no different from any other Christian sect except that they have the backbone to say in public what is implied by every copy of the Bible: if bad things happen to you it's because you deserve it or because God just decided on a whim to make an example of you, so if you're unhappy about it then you're unhappy with His will and will probably go to hell unless you grovel in the dirt and ask for more, sir.

Yes, it is disgusting and repulsive. But so is all religion when you strip off the veneer and look at the rot underneath.

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Re: "Protest the funerals"?

"the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but time and chance happen to all men"

(Ecclesiastes)

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Re: "Protest the funerals"?

... for He makes His sun rise on the wicked and on the good, and makes the rain fall upon the upright and the wrongdoers.

(Matthew 5:45)

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Silver badge

Re: "Protest the funerals"?

Actually, all New Testament bibles have the line "Treat others as you yourself would be treated", and "Blessed are the peacemakers". Kurt Vonnegut, a former head of the Atheist Association of America*, has made a great case for living in a world in which the Sermon on the Mount happened.

Christianity started out as the religion of the poor, under the Roman empire. For much of the last two thousand years, political views and movements have been expressed in religious terms, culminating eventually in the enlightenment, a milestone of the very civilisation that has shaped your views.

You make me embarrassed to be an atheist.

*(in his first speech as president, he says "Isaac [Asimov, the former head] is in heaven now" to howls of laughter)

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Thumb Up

Re: "Protest the funerals"? Hurrah!

At last somebody civilised. You can no more 'protest the funerals' than you can 'sing the funerals'. While we're at it perhaps the dur-brains who think they speak God's English would like to rephrase 'write you' when they mean 'write to you'.

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Silver badge

Re: "Protest the funerals"?

WBC are no different from any other Christian sect

As a Christian I strongly resent that. WBC are neither Christian (despite their claims they do not follow any of Christ's teachings) nor anything like any group with which I have ever had the pleasure of being associated.

that they have the backbone to say in public what is implied by every copy of the Bible: if bad things happen to you it's because you deserve it or because God just decided on a whim to make an example of you, so if you're unhappy about it then you're unhappy with His will and will probably go to hell unless you grovel in the dirt and ask for more, sir.

The Bible says no such thing. In fact it says quite the opposite. The closer you are to God and the more you follow His teachings the harder things will be for you in this world. I point you to the book of Job, where in Job is greatly tortured by Satan as a test of his faith, and the end times prophecies where Christians are prophesied to actually be killed in droves for daring to follow God. I point you to the writings of Paul, who was jailed for doing the very work of God.

Yes, there are specific instances in the Bible of people being punished by God, but that's a far cry from saying that every bad thing is because you've offended God.

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WTF?

Re: "Protest the funerals"?

> Actually, all New Testament bibles have the line "Treat others as you yourself would be

> treated", and "Blessed are the peacemakers".

So all New Testament bibles ripped-off The Golden Rule. Job's a good 'un! There is a liberal sprinkling of other good advice in the Bible. Seriously, lots of good old-fashioned common sense.

Unfortunately for Jesus (and your apologist approach), there's also a shedload of batshit-crazy Judeo-Christian specific claptrap that makes even the Santa Claus story seem positively plausible by comparison. The Enlightenment happened /despite/ the best efforts of literal, fundamentalist Christianity - as typefied by the WBC - not as a result of it.

There is no excuse for any scientifically-aware adult to buy into the nonsense peddled by a mainstream religion. Theory and experimental data trump dogma every time.

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JDX
Gold badge

@Robert Long 1

Really is that the best troll you can come up with?

Oh and Toastan, you misunderstand the Scientific Method.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Protest the funerals"?

"Yes, there are specific instances in the Bible of people being punished by God, but that's a far cry from saying that every bad thing is because you've offended God."

Actually, I said (and you even quoted correctly) "because you deserve it or because God just decided on a whim to make an example of you".

You can't have it both ways - if God is all-knowing and all powerful then anything and everything that happens to you is because that suited His plan in some way and you are wrong or misguided to oppose it. Which is exactly what the WBC are saying, and indeed what you are saying in your post too - God tortures us in order to keep us on message and only the weak in spirit break under this vicious and unjust treatment and complain about it.

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Silver badge

Re: "Protest the funerals"?

Where in my post did I say anything about God torturing anyone? Stop putting words in my mouth (or in my post, whatever).

if God is all-knowing and all powerful then anything and everything that happens to you is because that suited His plan in some way and you are wrong or misguided to oppose it

You're making a very flawed leap of logic here. That's rather like saying that because you can go out and kick puppies that you must be responsible for every puppy that gets kicked in your home town. God gave us free will, which means that we screw up. That doesn't mean that our suffering is the result of our screw-ups. The way we act towards each other is not the doing of God. That's all on people.

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Re: "Protest the funerals"?

@ Robert Long 1

The extent of your understanding of Judeo-Christianity is showing.

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Angel

Re: "Protest the funerals"?

"if bad things happen to you it's because you deserve it or because God just decided on a whim to make an example of you, so if you're unhappy about it then you're unhappy with His will and will probably go to hell unless you grovel in the dirt and ask for more, sir."

So if they protest at little children's funerals and say one of the parent decides to shoot the morons, it's actually God's will that the idiots should be punished?

Sounds fair...

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Re: "Protest the funerals"?

Don't you just love it when the comments to an El Reg WBC article descend into a theological pissing contest?

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Silver badge

Re: "Protest the funerals"?

I can assure you that out of the 1 billion or so Christians in this world, 999,999,900 or so of them absolutely deplore what the Westboro Baptist Church is doing, and there is plenty of material in the bible that says that what they are doing is totally against God's teachings. This is absolutely not how Jesus would have done things.

Secondly, it is not entirely clear that the word translated in the bible to "sodomy" refers specifically to gay people. It covers sexual deviance in general such as rapists, paedophiles and so on. Words change their meaning over time, and when you translate, there is never a perfect 1:1 relationship in the meanings of words in different languages. Take the word "gay" for example. 200 years ago, it would have meant "happy, carefree'. 100 years ago, it got the connotation of loose morals. 50 years ago, it referred to someone of homosexual tendencies. Now it is increasingly being used to describe an inanimate object that doesn't function as it is supposed to. Eg Windows 8 is gay, or Apple iOS 6 maps is gay.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Protest the funerals"?

"they have the backbone to say in public what is implied by every copy of the Bible:"

WRONG!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Protest the funerals"?

Actually, YES, they literally are protesting the funeral itself - they believe that everybody they protest died due to God being pissed, and therefor the deceased are not deserving of a "proper" funeral.

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Vic

Re: "Protest the funerals"? Hurrah!

> You can no more 'protest the funerals'

Yes you can. "Protest" has both transitive and intransitive uses.

> perhaps the dur-brains who think they speak God's English would like to rephrase 'write you'

No, because English has a dative case. That you are unaware of such constructs does not change that...

Vic.

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Thumb Down

I'm amused by the fact that Anonymous apparently despises a right to free speech.

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Silver badge

Causing riots at funerals? Like shouting 'Fire!' in a crowded theatre, no?

Free speech is about being able to challenge your rulers without being banged up in prison or beheaded. It is not about being a prick.

Likewise, freedom of the press is about bringing politicians and institution's to account- it shouldn't be about harassing innocent citizens for the titillation of others.

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"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." --First Amendment, 1789

I'm not sure where in there it says it's only for being able to challenge my rulers. In fact, ti seems to simply say "freedom of speech." It seems to also address the right of the people to assemble. If the WBC decides to go stand on a street near a graveyard, and speak to the tenets of their religion, twisted or not, they seem to be satisfying the text of the Amendment. Thankfully, the Supreme Court agrees that the definition of freedom of speech and assembly has no restrictions when it comes to only applying to speech about the government. Where you got that idea is beyond me.

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Silver badge

They don't. They recognize that the government's hands are tied when it comes to stopping these....yeah, got no words for WBC that I'd use in polite company (and I'm pretending for the moment that the commentards are polite :-P).

Anyway, the government can't stop them. The Supreme Court dearly wanted to a few years back according to the majority opinion on that case, but couldn't find any way to do so without ripping the first amendment to shreds. What's legal isn't always right and what's right isn't always legal. WBC craps all over morality while sticking firmly within the bounds of the law. All anonymous is doing is stepping in to deal the a problem that our government and legal system can't. Does that make them right? Perhaps not, but I'll cheer them on anyway as the lesser of two evils.

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Vin King is confused about what the US Constitution is, and is not. The First Amendment (that he goes on to quote) seems pretty clear on its face: CONGRESS shall make no law...

This obviously only impacts government-on-citizen restrictions of speech, not citizen-on-citizen (well, actually, persons or people, but these days suggesting that the US Constitution may protect the rights of foreigners as well as citizens is a bit heretical, even if obviously the case).

And you'll notice that the First Amendment does not offer any kind of guarantee that any citizen can speak, only that the government can't stop it.

So unless Anonymous has become part of the US government, the First Amendment is utterly irrelevant.

You're welcome.

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Facepalm

@Dave 126

>and institution's to account

Dave, you pillock- how did that blasted apostrophe get in there? (Hangs head in shame)

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FAIL

@Vin King

The clue is in the first line "Congress shamm malke no law..."

It does not say that anyone else cannot stop you, just that the government (the rulers) shall not be allowed to.

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Anonymous Coward

What a shame…

Why is it that psychos all over the United States (Ok, and sometimes elsewhere), when they decide they want to to go with a bang, make the choice of shooting up a university, a teenager camp, or a kindergarten, when there are big fat juicy targets like the Westboro Baptist Church and its members?

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Re: What a shame…

Yeah, if only that wretched, maladjusted nutter had taken time to compile a list of targets based on rational criteria.

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Re: What a shame…

If he had, then attending an NRA meeting might have been interesting especially in light of that thing they say about guns making you safer.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What a shame…

Just having a gun might not make you safer. Having a properly maintained and secured gun appropriate to what you want to shoot at, and being trained in its use, is more likely to make you safer.

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If I lived close to one of the <individuals> I would be happy to protest them when I had time. I'm sure if locals get together than can protest these people where they live, where the work and where they go for fun!

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The only thing that bugs me more than the WBC is the people who don't get it. I'm glad to see at least the register hinted at what is really going on.

The WBC does not believe the crap they preach.

It is simply an ingenious money making scam.

Here's how it works. A few decades ago, to stop little government bodies infringing on everyones liberties, like free speech, the big government brought in some civil protection laws that open up a legal liability when soemone like, say the town council or police chief, tries to stop someone expressing their "freedom of speech".

The WBC, knowing this, and headed by a lawyer, goes into a random town, doing the most outregous things, and saying the most disgusting things that come to mind, all in the hope that someone is going to bite.

And when they do, its payday. Papa Phelps files suit and starts counting his winnings.

I know its common to say that the best response to bad speech is more speech... But when that speech exists only to exploit statutes put in place to protect the minority for financial gain... No amount of good speech can ever flood that out.

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Anonymous Coward

Sadly, it is also a scam that works by maximising offence to people trying to deal with tragic events. It is hard to understand why, in such a litigious country, no lawyer has been found to sue them to hell and back for causing emotional distress. Get them in front of a jury in a class action. If it really is not possible then US law is more broken even than people tell me.

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Facepalm

I would have thought that by now amendments would have been made in the US to prevent the Westboro Baptist church from being able to get away with their lawsuits - sure, everyone has a right to free speech, but no-one has immunity from consequences - protesting at this funeral sounds a lot like poking a rabid dog with a sharp stick - if you know what's going to happen, and you still do it, why should the law allow you to do it over and over again whilst protecting you the whole time?!

Sadly it seems that the Church of Punitive Damages has an even more devout following than any of the other religious freakshows in the US.

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With behaviour like that, I'm surprised they haven't been done for extortion or blackmail. The US also has some reasonably powerful anti-SLAPP laws designed to stop vexatious litigants. Thankfully Fred and his daughter have been banned from entering the UK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/feb/19/britain-bans-us-cleric. If they did try that nonsense here they'd probably be arrested for public order offences.

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WTF?

the badly inbred Phelpses of WBC are plain wack

they're a "church" like klansman David Duke was a "church." WBC is a collection of inbred dimbulbs that, reading their bibles upside down, has determined that everybody who is not guzzling their Kook-Aid is pushing the gay revolution, and thus 10 pounds of sin in a 5 pound bag.

they go to prove that there are indeed abnormalities on the tails of the distribution, and until God sorts them out, I favor marginalizing them to the fullest extent possible in society.

meanwhile, you go, "anonymous."

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Anonymous Coward

Re: the badly inbred Phelpses of WBC are plain wack

Sadly, they aren't all dimbulbs. At least one of them got a law degree, argued their case at a pretty high level (Supreme Court) and won. That isn't the action of an dimwit, inbred nutter, Ok it might be the action of a nutter but not a dimwit.

The programme with Louis Theroux is really good, he looks completely bemused by everything the WBC are doing, as each time they do something more insane than the last time. As if to say "Surely they're not going to....they are...bloody hell..."

I have to think that their rage against homosexuality is more than likely due to their own repressed gay urges. Me thinketh they protest too much.

As somebody else said, and I paraphrase, "where's a tooled up nutter when you need them?" I have a strong suspicion that the person who goes on a murderous rampage against WBC would get a a really strong slap on the wrist, told to sit on the naughty step for a whole five minutes, possibly even without speaking and then driven to a beach hotel of his choice by the local police force whilst been given the proceeds of a whip round done by the local thankful populace.

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Silver badge

Re: the badly inbred Phelpses of WBC are plain wack

Fair play to US servicemen for their restraint and self-control, is all I can say. When the WBC routinely picket the funerals of dead soldiers- attended as they are by soldiers who are very much alive, kicking and combat trained- I'm surprised that no-one in the WBC has been seriously hurt.

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Silver badge

As much as I hate it when the press gives WBC any sort of attention I'm glad to hear that Anonymous is going to be taking the fight to them in a serious way. I don't think they can win that fight (WBC are determined people and knocking them offline won't do much to shut them up), but I'll be rooting for them.

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Silver badge
WTF?

Huh?

"Even before the bodies of the victims were removed from the scene of the shooting, the WBC announced its intention to protest the funerals of those slain. In her twitter feed, Shirley Phelps-Roper originally blamed the shooting on Connecticut's decision to legalize gay marriage, and said the group would be at the funerals."

As a Brit with little interest in religion, I don't really get this whole WBC thing, but I am wondering what kick of sick bastard would go to the funerals of a bunch of murdered six year olds and protest.

So, what is the logic? These unfortunate children were in Connecticut, which legalised homosexual marriage, therefore they (the children) deserved to be murdered? Oh, please, WBC tossers, please turn up, because then YOU will be in Connecticut (which legalised homosexual marriage) and when everybody beats you unconscious, that'll be why... ...yeah, okay, it makes no sense, but I'm getting the impression that this is a logic free zone.

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Silver badge

Re: Huh?

It's very logical,

They turn up and say that the children were satanist gay commie VB programmers.

The local police ,fearing a riot, stop them. They then sue the city under free speech legislation and get a huge out of court settlement.

.... repeat...

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Silver badge

Re: Huh?

"They turn up and say that the children were satanist gay commie VB programmers."

Ah, I see. So it's okay to be a satanist gay commie C programmer...

"They then sue the city under free speech legislation"

So free speech now translates to "offensive wankers [*] think they're legally permitted to spout bollocks"? <sigh>

* - Note to El Reg legal: is there any other way to describe people who would (or would to want to) protest at the funerals of slain six year olds?

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Thumb Up

Re: Huh?

I could think of a few other descriptions but yours seems to more than do the trick so feel free to run with it

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Silver badge

Re: Huh?

So free speech now translates to "offensive wankers [*] think they're legally permitted to spout bollocks"?

Unfortunately, yes. That's what the Supreme Court decided when they heard one of WBC's cases a few years back, though you can practically hear the justices grinding their teeth as they're forced to come to that conclusion if you read the majority opinion. Basically the opinion was 'the law and Constitution say you can do this, but you're still the lowest form of pond scum possible for doing it and if we could find a way to justify shutting your bigoted asses down we would.'

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