The Westboro Baptist Church is headed to Dallas after praising the shooting that left five police officers dead.
In a message posted to Twitter on Saturday morning, the church announced that it was headed to Dallas in the wake of this week’s shooting.
“WBC currently winging to Dallas!” the church wrote, adding the hashtag #AmericaIsDoomed.
The Kansas-based church is known for its anti-gay rhetoric and propensity for turning national tragedies into an avenue for its hate-filled message. And the Westboro Baptist Church wasted no time making a statement about Thursday’s shooting in Dallas, where a gunman opened fire on police officers following what had been a peaceful rally to speak out against recent police shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota.
The church’s Twitter page filled with messages praising the shooting, including one that read: “God sent the shooter to a city full of proud hard-hearted merciless sinners. You’re still alive; repent & obey God!”
Though numbering just a few dozen members, the Westboro Baptist Church has gained an infamous reputation nationwide for its demonstrations, which take place outside memorial services following national tragedies and even funerals for soldiers killed in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Last month, members picketed outside funerals for some victims of the nightclub shooting in Orlando. A church spokesperson at the time said that Westboro Baptist Church was aiming to send a bigger message.
“It’s not about that person, it’s about that whole societal phenomenon,” Westboro spokesman Steve Drain of Topeka, Kan., told USA Today. “It’s never been OK to be gay and it’s never going to be OK to be gay, no matter how much the spirit of the times calls for the popularity of that sin.”
While the church has filled its Twitter page with rhetoric about the Dallas shootings and plans to travel to Dallas, the church has not yet said if it would picket the memorial services. The Westboro Baptist Church publishes a list of its planned demonstrations, and so far there are events in Florida this weekend and at the Republican National Convention later in the week, but nothing between them.
The church is no stranger to Dallas. Members have traveled there on a number of occasions, including a 2013 demonstration at the Cotton Bowl. There were six church members who picketed while holding anti-gay signs, and 20 counter-demonstrators, CBS Dallas-Forth Worth noted.
The Westboro Baptist Church returned the following year to picket at a handful of Dallas-area churches, including one that offered a support group for divorced members.
If the Westboro Baptist Church does picket at the funerals of the Dallas police officers killed in this week’s attack, they will almost certainly be met with counter-protesters. The church has been met with opponents at all of its large events, including last month in Orlando where a group of LGBT allies formed a Facebook group called Westboro Counter Protesters to share information and protect the funerals.
“Tonight we were informed by a DHS and FBI liaison in town who stated Westboro always says they’re going to show but whether they do or not we will never know until we’re there. With that, we still need to be prepared. We know of funerals planned beginning tomorrow and each day for the rest of this week. We we will be reaching out to biker groups, car clubs, and other community organizations who can activate their members privately to be on site many hours before the funeral begins. Once the organizations are in place we will know what type of needs there are space available for counter protesters and will post that here publicly.”
While the Westboro Baptist Church has not yet announced whether it will picket at the funerals for the police officers killed in Dallas, that could come as officials announce when memorial services will be held.
[Photo by Charlie Riedel/AP Images]