Satanists who staged a protest against the Westboro Baptist Church could face charges for trespassing in the graveyard holding the mother of the church’s leader.
Last week, the satanists held what they called a “pink mass” at the grave of Fred Phelps’ mother in the hopes of turning her into a lesbian.
The New York-based Satanic Temple held the protest at the Meridian, Mississippi grave site of Catherine Johnston, a ceremony they said could change the sexual orientation of the dead. The Westboro Baptist Church is famous for its virulent anti-gay protests, proudly claiming that homosexuals are being tortured in hell for their lifestyle.
Now the group could be facing charges. The owner of the cemetery, Bill Arlinghaus, said he has contacted Meridian police, and they are drawing up charges of trespassing, indecent exposure, and malicious mischief.
Though the protest may sound outlandish, some religious groups hold ceremonies for the dead. Mormons can baptize people after they have died, for example.
But it’s not clear if the satanists truly believed they were changing the sexual orientation of Johnston or just trying to get under Fred Phelps’ skin.
“We believe that Fred Phelps is obligated to believe that his mother is now gay in the afterlife,” said Lucien Greaves. “Further, if beliefs are inviolable rights, nobody has the right to challenge our right to believe that Fred Phelps believes that his mother is now gay … No one can question our beliefs.”
During the ceremony, satanists invited same-sex couples to stand on Johnston’s grave and kiss. Greaves was also seen placing his penis on the gravestone of the Westboro Baptist Church founder’s mother.
Greaves said he did not mean to offend the people living in the town with the protest.
“I think the police captain is trying to allay the fears of the local people,” Greaves told HuffPost, adding that the group “regret[s] if they caused [the people of Meridian] any consternation.”
Do you think the satanists should face charges for their protest against Westboro Baptist Church founder Fred Phelps?