After being created through the White House “We the People” digital petition platform initiative, the petition to designate the Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas a hate group has received over a quarter of a million signatures.
The most popular petition was submitted on Dec. 14, has been followed by two more pushing to have the congregation’s tax exemption rights revoked. The Westboro Baptist Church is known for protests against gay rights, even at military funerals.
The petition reads:
This group has been recognized as a hate group by organizations, such as The Southern Poverty Law Center, and has repeatedly displayed the actions typical of hate groups.
Their 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.
The petition has become the most popular petition ever created. Though the Westboro Baptist Church has always held a very opinionated congregation, it was never really considered as a hat group until now.
Though they have protested and petitioned certain rights and thoughts, Westboro Baptist Church offended the nation at an all-time high on December 14, the same day of the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
Westboro’s Margie Phelps told the Daily Mail that God sent the 20-year-old Adam Lanza, the Sandy Hook shooter, to kill people in Connecticut because the state legalized same-sex marriage.
“Connecticut was one of the first states to come out with same-sex marriage,” Phelps said as she sat beside a blood-red-stained sign that read: ‘God sent the shooter.”
“Many more shooters, many more dead are coming,” she said.
Despite widespread opposition against the group, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the church in 2011, saying that it’s right to picket funerals was protected under the First Amendment.
President Obama signed legislation earlier this year, however, requiring protests to be held at least 300 feet from military funerals.
The Church threatened to protest the funerals of those shot in the tragedy, and the White House immediately put out the petition to list them as a hate group.