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Petition To Legally Recognize Westboro Baptist Church As Hate Group Gains Strength

Westboro Baptist Church Petition

With the news that Westboro Baptist Church plans to picket the site of the Connecticut school shooting, as well as the funerals of the children and educators killed, a petition has been started to legally recognize the church as a hate group.

The latest petition against the Topeka, Kansas church was started on the White House’s website on Friday and has more than 3,600 signatures already — meaning that the White House, according to the website, will need to respond to it.

The petition is short and to the point, reading (in full):

“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.”

It is not the first petition that has been filed against Westboro Baptist Church and it likely will not be the last. The group is known for picketing funerals of soldiers, celebrities, and political figures. They threatened to protest the Aurora theater shooting, as well as the attempted assassination of Gabby Giffords. The group often brings signs that read “God hates you,” “Thank God for dead soldiers,” and “God hates fags.”

Other petitions against Westboro Baptist Church include:

-Petitiononline.com — Boycott the WBC

-Change.org — Shut down the WBC

-Thepetitionsite.com — Disband the WBC

-iPetitions.com — Remove the WBC from tax-exempt status

Do you agree that the Westboro Baptist Church should be legally recognized as a hate group? Do you think it would make a difference if they were?

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Comments

70 Responses to “Petition To Legally Recognize Westboro Baptist Church As Hate Group Gains Strength”

  1. Connie Headrick Crawford

    Yes the Westboro *so called Baptist* Church should be classified as a Hate Group & Lose their religious exemption & religious protection. They should all be placed in prison for the rest of their lives – we do NOT need crazy sickos like these in our society. They have no humanity – they are beyond redemption. Just think if there was a group like this is an Middle Eastern or Arab Nation? The USA would be sending in forces to take them out! Just because they are living in the USA-why don't we do just that!

  2. April Sue VanStee-VanDonkelaar

    Nope, we have freedom of speech, these people are destable to the first degree. They deserve what they get. But we cannot limit free speech, no matter how DETESTABLE. Who would be next if we did this?

  3. John Russell

    IGNORE THEM…. That's how the Gays and the Jews got rid of them. In fact the Jewish community was so successful most people don't know they were protested before Westboro found the "Protest sodlier funerals" would get them all the attention they desired and then some.

    These people want one thing… publicity to get their word out to the public and unfortunately most people accomodate them.

    IGNORE THEM… Stop playing right into their hands like a bunch of nitwits….

  4. Daniel Jason Hollaway

    They picket my kids funeral and they will be sent back to Topeka in a pine box.

  5. Jason Scott

    But when "free speech" is damaging (in this case, emotionally damaging)…that's when I take issue with it.

  6. Wayne Hickman

    You have these rights until you violate the rights of others, take Racism for instance. You have the right to think or feel what you wish until you violate the rights of others. Then it is a crime. They are violating the rights of the family members in my opinion. I understand your fear of loosing our rights( I do too) but we are already loosing them anyway. The N.D.A.A. and Patriot Act destroy the Constitution.

  7. Paul H Purdy

    true we have freedom of speech and i strongly support all rights we have as Americans. as a reverend i also strongly support separation of church and state and freedom of religion. however the message that WBC projects is anti-American that they hate America with with slogans like thank god for dead solders. by protesting in the manner they do disrespecting the country and the ones that fight to defend our rights. i do not believe that the rights we have should apply to people that do the shit WBC dose. in other words they are protesting agents rights of freedom yet hiding behind them.

  8. Amber Myers

    They are a hate group! This infuriates me, this group has passed the amendment of free speech when it started being damaging to others, I hope someone does something to stop this group, if they show up they should be thrown in jail….This is absolutely ridiculous, God must hate them because they are such awful souls.These children are innocent souls and did not deserve this at all. What if people started doing very cruel things to their children? Then they deserved it because they have ignorant parents? This group is a bunch of idiotic morons who need to be stopped!

  9. Debbie Adams

    THEY ARE THE MOST DISCUSTING,LOW LIVES, HEARTLESS, ANTI CHRISTIAN SCUM BAGS. A FUNERAL IS A VERY EMOTIONAL TIME AND SHOULD NOT BE PICKETED BY THESE IDIOTS.

  10. Debbie Adams

    TO ME THEY ARE BULLIES, EMOTIONAL BULLIES. IF THEY WOULD HAVE PROTESTED MY SONS FUNERAL, WHAT WITH OUR EMOTIONS IN TATTERS, THEY WOULDN'T BE PICKETING ANYMORE.

  11. Chris Moser

    These petition sites have become an absolute joke, and have made petitions largely meaningless in less than a few years. I can no longer even count all the absurd, risible, and downright offensive petitions I'm asked to sign daily. One morning it's a supposed sexual harassment victim trying to destroy someones life with the support of 100,000 credulous morons who don't need any evidence beyond a sob story; the next day it's a petition to deny 1st Amendment rights to a divisive and controversial figure/group. It's ridiculous at this point. The Westboro Baptist Church is detestable, but they don't advocate or sponsor violence of any kind. People need to stop trying to silence dissent/ everyone they feel threatened by or don't like. The true test of our belief in the 1st Amendment is when we are asked to protect the rights of detestable people to say detestable things. Now is one of those times.

  12. Chris Moser

    You Connie are a fascist. I'm not exaggerating. Look up the definition of fascism. It's you. You believe in the complete opposite of the freedoms that our country is founded upon. I'm glad that you're powerless and pathetic, though I'm sad that the 6 morons who liked your post can't see how utterly nearsighted and historically ignorant you are.

    Sincerely,
    An annual donator to the ACLU

  13. Chris Moser

    No, there is no difference. This is what free speech is. Deal with it. You want to beat them? Use better speech than they do.

  14. Chris Moser

    Wayne Hickman You have no idea what you're talking about. This has nothing to do with racism, which isn't itself illegal. It's illegal to discriminate opportunity based on race, but making racist speech is completely protected. Who's rights are being violated by the Westboro Baptist Church? They might hurt some people's feelings, but that's what freedom of speech is about.

  15. Sarah Kaufman

    Why so much pessimism? Why is there the need for you to respond to all these posts? You know it won't change the way people think, it will likely just make you seem cynical.

  16. Chris Moser

    Thank you for being a voice of reason. The truth is, America is rapidly becoming a fascist state wherein few people really believe in the true spirit of the 1st Amendment.

  17. Mac Lethal

    Quit calling people "fascists" dude. This is the third comment you've left like this. No one is a fascist here. That's the most extreme and ridiculous term to use in this conversation, and is moronically inaccurate. A fascist is someone who believes a SUPREME leader should TOTALLY RULE AND DICTATE their nation, treat the people harshly, control every single aspect and action in their lives, and oppress them collectively.

    Suggesting there be a line drawn in the sand, that prevents a group of people funded by American tax dollars (!), who are also very anti-American and anti-military, and do nothing but hurt, torture, and abuse innocent American people through their protests, is HARDLY fascist. It's a pretty sound discussion.

  18. Michele Sipe

    Iis it actually an attack on free speech to fight for the right to mourn our dead in peace? instead of limiting what they can say, we need to limit where they can say it. I'd happily pass people yelling like that at a subway station and ignore them, they can spout crazy all they want… just not within earshot of a graveyard. (Hey that'd be a cool little rule)

  19. Vivan Ellingson

    They haven't done anything violent, that I've heard. They are obnoxious and offensive, but that is the speech that the first amendment protects. Don't like what they say? Don't listen to them. However, I would look the other way if anyone wanted to pop one of them on the nose. But I don't want the govt to decide what is protected speech and what is not protected.

  20. Kevin Seiden

    While it is true that Free Speech doesn't mean what people think it does, these people haven't done anything that steps outside the bounds of free speech… yet. Free speech doesn't mean you are free to say anything you want, there are restrictions regarding threats and inciting riot and the like. So far, this "church" has not done anything in that nature, so they are protected by the first amendment. But the first amendment only protects them from the government. It does not protect them from the people or the private sector. For example, businesses can refuse them service on the grounds that they don't like their cause, and that isn't a violation.

  21. Chris Moser

    Michele Sipe Michelle, it's up to municipalities to pass those laws, and some spaces are protected for all types of demonstration while others require a permit. Under almost no circumstances would the WBC be allowed to protest inside a graveyard.

  22. Chris Moser

    Fascism: a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control; a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.

    It's completely accurate. Connie is claiming that these people should be put in jail for the rest of their lives because, as she claims "we do NOT need crazy sickos like these in our society". The word fascism is often thrown around loosely, but there has rarely been a moment when it's more appropriate.

  23. Chris Moser

    Mac Lethal Fascism: a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control; a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.

    Let's see how that applies here: Connie is claiming that these people should be put in jail for the rest of their lives because, (in her words) "we do NOT need crazy sickos like these in our society. They have no humanity – they are beyond redemption'" Does the second part sound familiar? Justifying political imprisonment and violation of rights by robbing the dissenting group of their humanity? The word fascism is often thrown around loosely, but there has rarely been a moment when it's more appropriate.

  24. Chris Moser

    Mac Lethal Mac Lethal Fascism: a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control; a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.

    Let's see how that applies here: Connie is claiming that these people should be put in jail for the rest of their lives because, (in her words) "we do NOT need crazy sickos like these in our society. They have no humanity – they are beyond redemption'" Does the second part sound familiar- justifying political imprisonment and violation of rights by robbing the dissenting group of their humanity? She even goes on to say the WBC's living in the U.S. should not preclude us from "sending in (military) forces to take them out". If that doesn't sound like autocracy and brutality to you, I don't know what will. The word fascism is often thrown around loosely, but there has rarely been a moment when it's more appropriate.

  25. Chris Moser

    Mac Lethal Fascism: a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control; a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.

    Let's see how that applies here: Connie is claiming that these people should be put in jail for the rest of their lives because, (in her words) "we do NOT need crazy sickos like these in our society. They have no humanity – they are beyond redemption'" Does the second part sound familiar- justifying political imprisonment and violation of rights by robbing the dissenting group of their humanity? She even goes on to say the WBC's living in the U.S. should not preclude us from "sending in (military) forces to take them out". If that doesn't sound like autocracy and brutality to you, I don't know what will. The word fascism is often thrown around loosely, but there has rarely been a moment when it's more appropriate.

  26. Dena M Albright

    Free speech may cover this legally but to protest at funerals is one of the lowest things someone can do. It's rude and hateful ESPECIALLY with these children. These parents are going through the most unimaginable grief. They do not need the insistence of this group, or others like them to mar the paying of respect of those who have died regardless of the manner in which it happened. The key word is respect. How disrespectful for any group to picket AT A FUNERAL! Perhaps when one of them die we can picket at theirs or better yet gather folks together and blare satanic songs. Is this not also free speech? Would free speech cover me picketing in front of their house with an accusatory sign stating this person is a sex offender? Legally, more than likely. Where does the line blur at free speech and common courtesy?

  27. Rachel Hayes

    Say what you will about how immature or stupid I may seem by posting this reply. But I don't really care. You sir are one of those stupid people who lurk the internet looking for ways to be an annoying little shit preaching on a pixelated soapbox. And oh, look. You found a great outlet for it. Are you a member of the church? Is that why you are acting so offended by the posts made here?

    Anyway, what I really wanted to say was:

    Shut up and act like an adult. You're just as powerless and even more pathetic than anyone replying to this article. Don't like it? Get off the computer and go out and do something about it in the real world. You commenting on everyone else's thoughts and insulting them isn't going to change how they think about the situation. Frankly, it makes you look like an asshole.

    That's all I needed to say. c: Have a good one.

  28. Edward Porter

    I think there is no actual "legal" definition of a hate group. They can be classified a hate group as opposed to a religious group for tax purposes, in that religious groups have tax-exempt status while other groups must pay taxes. But there is no list they can be put on that would allow anyone to legally limit their free speech. That's their constitutional right. Other than that local regulations can be established that would prevent demonstrators from getting too close to funerals.

  29. Tj Isaacs

    You're just mad because you probably support the BS that WBC is doing. You're a hater, and a cry baby by the looks of it. You've commented so much on this article you may as well be the only commenter.

    I just can't shake the "U MAD BRO?" from my head at this point. You are absolutely ridiculous. Haters gonna hate, I suppose. They want to picket the graves of murdered children, and you're sitting here on your lump-ass saying that's okay, more or less. "It's their right!" …. uh huh… right.

    Well, Here's my first amendment right; Get a life, you jerkbag. :3 Your comments are just about as ridiculous as your views, apparently.

  30. Stella Jonsson

    The First Amendment does not protect hate speech. "God hates fags," "God hates you" (I thought God was about love), and "Thank God for Dead Soldiers" has nothing to do with religion. At this writing, Polldaddy has logged 60,000 votes in a local paper: 98.88% of respondents feel WBC is a hate group.

    There is also the matter of separation of Church and State. Although not specifically outlined in the Bill of Rights, hundreds of years of legal precedent codifies this separation. I see anyone who tries to unite the two as undermining one of the two fundamental reasons America fought a Revolution. The other was taxation without representation.

    I would like to address those here who feel that calling someone a "fascist" as unnecessary. Anyone personally attacks another for their opinion is prohibiting the Free Speech they claim to support. Further, using "better speech" will not address the fundamental problem that WBC are preventing others' freedoms by picketing a place of mourning.

    They are, in fact, threatening others' freedoms. Their actions create hostility: hostility leads to violence. I don't believe they should be subjected to military force against them. But, the term "fascist" is overused to the point of cliche: continued overuse of this term renders it without meaning. Civil rhetoric is far more productive than name calling: reason is far more difficult. It requires thought.

    With rights come responsibility. Once someone violates others' rights, they commit a crime. Picketing soldiers' or these children's funerals serves as a fundamental violation of other people's right to Free Speech. I quote Eleanore Roosevelt: “Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility. For the person who is unwilling to grow up, the person who does not want to carry his own weight, this is a frightening prospect.”

    WBC will not grow up; they will not carry their own weight as members of society. They will not respond to "better speech." Michelle Sipe offers a solution: instead of limiting WBC's right to Free Speech, let them picket somewhere other than a funeral where people mourn their dead. Rather than limit their right to Free Speech, I would hope for members to turn away from their rabid hatred of anyone that does not agree with their views. I wish for them to have an epiphany and recognize the deleterious effects of their actions on others.

    It is absolutely true that Free Speech is not applicable to the private sector; a cemetery is a business. Even if they are protesting outside the purview of private property, there is the issue that the WBC is interfering with business practices and are therefore not subject to Free Speech in this particular instance.

    However, let me make my position quite clear: WBC is not a church. Accordingly, as a quasi-political entity, they should lose their tax-exempt status, as should any church that involves itself in politics.

  31. Evan Anderson

    They should be recognixzed as a hat group because they are, but I'm not sure if it would make much difference. it wouldn't stop them.

  32. Beauxrelia Vienne

    It's saddening to me that there's people like those at WBC who make the Christian/Catholic faith sound as bad as the stereotype of Muslims, who are also actually peaceful people and similar to actual Christians/Catholics…We Catholics are not at all like this, the priest in my church doesn't even speak a single word about homosexuality or Obama and his stupid ideas because that is Hate and you cannot live through hatred nor can you die peacefully in hatred.

  33. Amanda Pirone

    Our Constitution allows people to be graceless jackasses, but it also allows The People to call anyone out to be graceless jackasses. It's well within our rights to petition for them to be labeled as a hate group.

  34. Jacob Herrington

    Legally recognizing them as a hate group will accomplish nothing. hate speech is free speech. I hate them and everything they stand for, but it is still free speech. if we criminalize it, that begins a slippery slope towards fascism.

  35. Mike Stepner

    westboro baptist church is no church or religious organization. Even satanic churches dont preach what these SOB's "preach". How dare they tell people what God likes or hates, I do know that Jesus taught forgiveness and love not hate and intolerance. These monsters need to lose any type of church status and tax exemption. Also they should be prosecuted for hate crimes. These monsters are more deadly then any gun. Hey govt you want to control guns? why dont you go after the ROOT cause of the problem. Guns don't do anything by themselves, but the wbc spreads the hatred that gets some people stirred up to grab a gun, dumbasses!

  36. Jessi Biscamp

    I would see this being more borderline harassment and stalking. They purposely look for a funeral to picket that they were not even invited to. Think about it. How many people die in a certain cemetery that particular day? It's creepy. I would have a restraining order on them for everyone so they can't be within two hundred feet or more of a cemetery picketing. They seriously have no business being at a private funeral. Besides, even religious nuts can be dangerous. You don't need any of them following you out to your car. Read some murder cases. Even the most 'religious' of people have raped, killed, maimed, etc. against their own bible.
    Not to mention, no self respecting church acts this way. I'm not even religious but I know the churches I went to as a child due to family spent their time helping others in the community, not making the community hate them. They were visiting shut ins, nursing homes, doing yard work/building houses for those in need or couldn't do it anymore. They went to disaster areas, fed the homeless at Feed My Sheep, and took groups out of state for charity events. They were out doing good and making something of themselves, not out looking stupid in public or causing grief in families who were in enough pain as it is.
    If they honestly feel the way they do, they should leave the US. They aren't the ones fighting overseas. They aren't doing anything for the country but bitch and complain about who lives here. If God hates America so much, why are they still here and Americans on top of it? Wouldn't the logical thing to do be move out of the US and denounce citizenship? Oh, wait, that would mean they couldn't say what they want anymore. Do they understand the concept that Freedom isn't Free? If it were any other place, they would have been shot on site. I'm surprised none of them have been so far.
    Also, when ANONYMOUS released their information, did anyone notice that it was mostly the 'Phelps' family in this so called church?

  37. Emily Tang

    People have Constitutional rights until they infringe on someone else's rights. So the church's so called "free speech" technically isn't Constitutional because it infringes on people's ninth amendment rights.

  38. John Spurgeon

    hris you are a moron. they are a hate group and you are a hate filled person

  39. John Spurgeon

    Chris hate speech is a crime moron! do some research yourself before running your mouth. You just show how uneducated you are

  40. John Spurgeon

    Hate speech is not protected under the 1st amendment and is a crime

  41. John Manchook

    How about this? Since WBC is protesting on God's behalf *(and I have seen in youtube videos where they don't come to "save" or in inform anybody. They are only their to point out that the dead are in hell and YOU are going with them!) Then, under the constitution, the WBC is violating the churches right to peacefully assemble and practice THEIR religion where THEIR God is ok with what they are doing. Just sayin…..

  42. Emil H. Michael

    I believe that this group (WBC), as one commentator called them "idiotic morons," needs to have their legal, peaceful protest be ignored. I do not agree with what they believe about others or what they do. Giving WBC attention fuels our raw emotions. I think our attention needs to be given to those who grieve the loss of their family members and friends in Newtown. Thanks to those who have done that and will do that.

  43. Jeremy York

    You have that right until you infringe upon anothers' rights. At that point, you dont have that right anymore. You can only protest peacefully if it does not incite a riot. All people really need to do is riot because of this church's protests and its end game from there.

  44. Anonymous

    There was one small town who got word of their planned protest of one of that town's fallen solders. So basically the whole town turned out and shielded the funeral procession by lining the streets with their own selves. WBC couldn't get any where near the funeral, so they were out of luck, and had to go home "empty-handed".
    It's kind of like, by not giving them attention, the people of that town stripped them of their power.
    I lived in Lawrence, Kansas for many years, and became very acquainted with this terrorist group. They DO try to incite riots. They actually have many members who are lawyers and make a lot of money off of suing people for harassment (ironic, right?) when the people finally get tired enough of them. They kind of do that thing that five year olds do when they put their finger centimeters away from your eyeball, saying "I'm not touching you," and then run and tell mom what a victim they are when you slap their hand away.
    They are people full of hate (probably self-loathing), who literally go out of their way to fill others with hate. I believe they are terrorists, because they purposely fill others with terror. That is their goal. So, should they be labeled as a hate group? I know of no other group who has more hate than they.

  45. David Charles Weaver

    I am sure calling the church a hate group will make no difference to these self righteous wackos. Letting them have their right to freedom of speech is the most damaging thing we can do to them. Freedom means taking the good along with the bad, but hopefully categorizing them as a hate group will make legal remedies easier to apply for their victims. They should lose their tax free status as well, many white supremacist and other hate groups have been been neutered by losing their funds in legal actions.

  46. Cindi Catwalk Sprock

    WELL IT'S ABOUT DAMN TIME! THESE IDIOTS HAVE BEEN DOING THIS FOR YEARS! GOING TO SOLDIERS BURIALS AND PROTESTING WITH THE FAMILIES OF THE DECEASED IN FULL VIEW OF THEIR SICK B.S. SIGNS AND YELLING VULGAR SLURS AT THEM IN THEIR TIME OF GRIEF! SHAME ON THOSE MORONS FOR BEING EVIL! THEY DON'T EVEN DESERVE TO BREATHE THE SAME AIR AS US! LET THEM ALL GO TO HELL WHERE THEY BELONG! THEY ARE NOTHING BUT HATE MONGERS THAT SPREAD THEIR SICK B.S. EVEN TO THEIRS OWN CHILDREN! I SIGNED THAT PETITION WITH PLEASURE! I HOPE THEIR SAKE THAT I NEVER COME ACROSS THEM OR IT'S ON LIKE DONKEY KONG! AND I ALWAYS WIN!

  47. Charles Jones

    I feel That WBC SHOULD be able to picket the funerals of soldiers, mass shootings and homosexuals. And anyone who does them harm of any sort should be fined $1.00 for each bruise, broken bone, missing tooth, ect. I know this penalty is stiff but it is for the protection of the members of WBC so that they may picket and protest in this free country.

  48. Raytha Hand- Poland

    Chris Moser It's only free speech if it does not incite to riot. The WBC show up at funerals to purposely create a disturbance. Funerals are held to remember people and almost always done in a reverent manner. By showing up and creating a disturbance they are-for all purposes- inciting a riot as it disrupts the services and angers the people there paying their respects. They are a hate group. They are anything but Christians and they deserve to have the tax exempt status stripped from them. They should also have a permanent restraining order enforced against them nation wide to prevent them from showing up and creating any disturbance. You want to call someone a facist you'd better be looking at Washington.

  49. Sam Spencer

    Something blew the belfry off the West Baptist Church and all the bats got loose. These "people" are pathetic losers who unfortunately have the freedom of speech and the willingness to inflict it on the rest of us.

  50. Debo Jenkins

    I don't want my tax dollars used to fund their operations. Revoking their tax-exempt status would bury them for good.

  51. Charles Jones

    Hey Chris. Remember to walk over and tell them how happy you are that they have the "right" to protest like this in this free country when it is YOUR relatives funeral they are protesting, okay?

  52. Ho Gil

    Chris Moser You Chris are a moron + douchebag. I'm not exaggerating. Look up the definition of either of them and it will say = Chris Moser.

    Sincerely,
    Fascist

  53. Tim Pwnall

    Chris moser is a tard. This country was founded with the idea of democracy. Democracy is the people. If the people want to classify this as a hate group they can, Deal with it. Also .. bro do you even lift?