Twitter has suspended an account linked to Westboro Baptist Church, either for messages detailing the group’s plan to picket the funerals of those killed Friday in the Connecticut school shootings or because the account has been hacked by the group Anonymous.
The URL for Westboro’s Twitter feed only says the account of church spokesman Shirley Phelps-Roper has been suspended.
Phelps-Roper, hours after the shootings in Newtown, Conn., tweeted “‘Westboro will picket Sandy Hook Elementary School to sing praise to God for the glory of his work in executing his judgment.”
Westboro Baptist, which has just a handful of members in Topeka, Kan., has been in the news before, of course. It first gained notoriety for anti-gay protests at the funerals of U.S. soldiers.
Anonymous hackers must have been displeased, reports are the group hacked the church’s website — godhatesfags.com — and took control of Phelps-Roper’s @DearShirley Twitter account.
Examiner.com reports the hack is the work of a 15-year-old who goes by the name CosmoTheGod. The California teen is already on probation for hacking NASDAQ, so he might want to enjoy the online accolades while he’s still allowed to look at a computer screen.
The hacking group had recently published private emails, home addresses, phone numbers and social security numbers of Westboro members.
The hackers also want the White House to declare Westboro a hate group. An online petition has 183,000 signatures in four days.
Slate says the urge to cheer for Anonymous should be contained.
“Westboro may be the closest thing to an embodiment of evil that we have handy,” writes Will Oremus, but the tiny church is “best ignored.”
Meanwhile, residents of Newtown, Conn., many of whom are preparing for the funerals of 20 children and six adults, have created a Facebook page where they are making plans to block church members from picketing near mourners.