Anonymous renews attack on Westboro Baptist for Newtown picketing
Anonymous has vowed to renew its attack on the Westboro Baptist Church after the religious group praised the actions of the shooter responsible for the Newtown, Connecticut massacre last week and announced plans to picket the school.
The church's spokesperson, Shirley Phelps-Roper, announced on Friday that it would picket the school to "sing praise to God for the glory of his work in executing his judgment [sic]."
A blog post from the church on Thursday also praised the actions of the shooter and said that the deaths of children compared to adults was a "good ratio"; 26 people died in the shooting, 20 have been confirmed to be children aged 6 and 7.
In response, hacktivist group Anonymous have renewed their attack on the church, starting OpWestboro; it has released a video threatening the church with further action and has released the personal details of its members.
In the video (you may wish to turn your speakers down for the last 20 seconds), Anonymous tells the church that it will "progressively dismantle your institution of deceitful pretext and extreme bias, and cease when your zealotry runs dry."
It doesn't expect it to achieve this overnight, stating that it will draw out the issue for as long as needed.
"Attrition is our weapon, and we will waste no time, money, effort, and enjoyment in tearing your resolve into pieces, as with exposing the incongruity of your distorted faith."
"From the time you have received this message, our attack protocol has past been executed and your downfall is underway."
At the time of writing, the church's main website is down, along with a number of its other sites, such as those stating that God hates homosexuality and that Jews were responsible for the death of Jesus.
However, the church has been using the negativity to fuel the awareness of its existence. Shirley Phelps-Roper has been re-tweeting messages of hate against the church, highlighting that it considers any publicity to be of value.
In Anonymous' previous attack on the church last year, Westboro Baptist responded by calling the hacktist group "coward crybaby 'hackers'," and telling them to "bring it."
Shirley Phelps-Roper's daughter and Westboro Baptist member, Megan Phelps-Roper tweeted at the time: "Thanks, Anonymous! Your efforts to shut up God's word only serve to publish it further. God did that! Our response to you? Bring it, cowards."
The church has previously picketed US soldiers' funerals and the funeral of Steve Jobs. The church announced the picketing of Jobs' funeral via an iPhone.
Petition site We the People, set up as part of the US Whitehouse, Washington, already has a submission to ask the Obama administration to legally recognise Westboro Baptist as a hate group. At the time of writing, it has attracted over 55,500 signatures; more than double the minimum number of signatures required to prompt the US government to respond.
Twoother petitions are requesting that Westboro Baptist have its tax-exempt status removed on the basis that the group does not engage in charitable behaviour and that by granting it a tax exemption, US taxpayers are funding its actions.