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Anonymous Hacks Westboro Baptist Church 1061

elashish14 writes "The Westboro Baptist Church stated earlier this week that they would be picketing the funerals of the victims of Newtown Connecticut's tragic shooting in an effort to bring awareness to their hate messages. In response, the Anonymous hacker collective has hacked their website and posted the personal information of all of its members."
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Anonymous Hacks Westboro Baptist Church

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  • by Janek Kozicki ( 722688 ) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @08:52PM (#42309679) Journal
    You didn't mention that thay hacked their website in real time, during a live radio interview [huffingtonpost.com]. Now, that's an achievement.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 16, 2012 @08:56PM (#42309723)
    You don't seem to understand. The Westboro 'Baptist Church' is not a religious organization. All of the members are lawyers, doing this shit so that when someone acts out against them they can sue.
  • by FSWKU ( 551325 ) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @08:57PM (#42309739)

    I've always held that anyone is free to speak their mind, even if I don't agree with what they're saying.

    If Westboro Baptist Church was really planning to interfere with the tragedy that has happened at Newtown, they've sunk to a level so low that no reasonable Christian should want anything to do with them. Scum.

    This is too far. I don't want to say any more to further dirty the pain the families and the trauma the survivors are going through.

    I think you'll find that most reasonable Christians DON'T want anything to do with these clowns. A lot of people in my church are VERY conservative, and even they are appalled anytime one of the WBC crazies opens their mouth. Small sample size, yes. But I've found it to be true in other locations as well.

  • Re:Absolutely! (Score:5, Informative)

    by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @08:59PM (#42309763) Journal
    This is how the supreme court interprets it, speech can be limited in this way.

    Not everyone agrees on where the exact line between reasonable and unreasonable lies, but certainly there are times when most people agree it is unreasonable (in the middle of the night with a bull-horn in a residential neighborhood when everyone is sleeping counts as unreasonable; telling the victims' families that god hates them and their children are in hell during the funeral counts as unreasonable).
  • by SternisheFan ( 2529412 ) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @09:11PM (#42309867)
    One of the article's commenters spoke about the govt. can't limit free speech but individuals can. In 2010, at a Topeka demonstration by the WBC, church members found their tires slashed, and no one in town would sell church members replacement tires. Sounds like a fair deal to me.:

    " McALESTER -Members of a Kansas church that protests at military funerals may have found themselves in the wrong town Saturday. Shortly after finishing their protest at the funeral of Army Sgt. Jason James McCluskey of McAlester, a half-dozen protesters from Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan., headed to their minivan, only to discover that its front and rear passenger-side tires had been slashed. To make matters worse, as their minivan slowly hobbled away on two flat tires, with a McAlester police car following behind, the protesters were unable to find anyone in town who would repair their vehicle, according to police. http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/article.aspx?subjectid=11&articleid=20101114_11_a12_cutlin105145 [tulsaworld.com]

  • Re:Kudos (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 16, 2012 @09:11PM (#42309869)

    Bullshit. Picketing the funerals of kids is not illegal.

  • by wisnoskij ( 1206448 ) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @09:13PM (#42309883) Homepage

    Someone should of told Anonymous that it is never a good idea to feed the trolls.
    WBC thrives on negative attention and hate.

  • by davydagger ( 2566757 ) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @09:20PM (#42309933)
    After some further reading the dispute is a little more complex.

    aparantly someone had earlier hacked the WBC, claiming to be anonymous, but it really wasn't.

    Anonymous refuted, and even apologized, and tried to explain this to WBC. WBC, didn't want to back down, and kept talking smack to anonymous, and kept provoking anonymous.

    Today WBC found out what happened when you kick a sleeping bear.

    They were not silenced for the speech, and the WBC does not "win", and this has nothing to do with their ongoing campaign against everything for tollerating gays.

    This his what happens when the sped kid keeps picking a fight with the biggest kid in class, and he finally runs out of patience.
  • by spazmonkey ( 920425 ) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @09:27PM (#42309999)
    There have always been recognized limits to free speech. There are components of that here, especially as WBC doing this has been proven to be not political or religious speech, but simply a business model. They are lawsuit trolls. They go anywhere they can incite people, go to the nearest area to it that has an entity with deep pockets (like universities, etc), and attempt to 'protest' in the least practical and palatable manner, and then file suits against everyone involved. They had at one time roughly 1000 suits going in federal and state courts at any given time there for awhile, I am sure that hasn't changed any.
  • Re:Kudos (Score:5, Informative)

    by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @09:28PM (#42310005) Journal
    Burning a cross on a black man's lawn isn't free speech, it's trespassing. It isn't protected under any legal theory of free speech.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 16, 2012 @09:32PM (#42310029)


  • by drnb ( 2434720 ) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @09:40PM (#42310085)

    Free speech is not just speech you just like. It's any speech.

    Wrong. The constitution only prevents government reprisals or discrimination against a speaker. Private citizens are under no such prohibition. Private citizens are free to punish speakers, that is what recent boycotts against Chick-fil-A were. All we can really say is that Anon is choosing to punish in an illegal manner.

  • by rwa2 ( 4391 ) * on Sunday December 16, 2012 @09:42PM (#42310097) Homepage Journal

    Someone on Fark pointed out that the WBC aren't really haters, or even Christians, just a bunch of lawyers trying to make extortion money from the threat of (very carefully and legally) exercising their 1st Amendment rights:
    http://www.fark.com/comments/7488418/81313473#c81313473 [fark.com]

    The appropriate response is actually to just organize counter-protests that block or drown out their feeble message, until hopefully they run out of money.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/03/04/AR2011030406330.html [washingtonpost.com]

    But anytime someone actually blocks them illegally, they get to sue and collect some settlement and they get their payday.

    I suppose the DDoS helps them bleed money as well, But probably not enough, esp. if they manage to catch and sue the perpetrators.

  • Re:Kudos (Score:5, Informative)

    by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @09:49PM (#42310143)

    Lets keep in mind what The Westboro Baptist Church is and what they are say.

    Firstly, they are a single family of lawyers lead by their patriarch Fred Phelps. They've garnered so much notoriety because they are lawyers and use their knowledge of the legal system to research and plan their events so they are barely within the legal limits of the locality they are in. This is not an organized church, it's almost entirely a single family and their ideology is dictated to them by a single man.

    Secondly, the "speech" they are shouting at childrens funerals is specific. They want to remove the rights of others to speak, be free, or even live. They want homosexuality to be illegal and want to imprison of even kill those found committing homosexual acts.

    There are limits to free speech in every country in the world. Including this one. The government may not be able to stop them from speaking, but the government also can not protect them from the repercussions of their hate speech. I find it rather surprising no ones burned their houses down yet.

  • Re:Kudos (Score:5, Informative)

    by demonlapin ( 527802 ) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @09:50PM (#42310151) Homepage Journal
    Freedom of speech does not have to include permitting people to physically interrupt funerals.
  • Re:Kudos (Score:5, Informative)

    by Mitreya ( 579078 ) <mitreya@gmailOOO.com minus threevowels> on Sunday December 16, 2012 @10:03PM (#42310249)

    I think there's a distinction between 'freedom of speech', and 'freedom to spread hate'. People don't always recognise the latter (which is why there are so many laws against hate speech).

    In United States "laws against hate speech" are unconstitutional. There may be many laws against hate speech in other countries, but if you are talking about US, you are wrong.

    You may be thinking of "inciting to violence speech", but pure hate speech (e.g., "[someone] should burn in hell") is not illegal.

  • by Frankie70 ( 803801 ) on Sunday December 16, 2012 @10:26PM (#42310403)

    See here - http://kanewj.com/wbc/ [kanewj.com]

    They are con men.

    Whether he believes his posters or not is irrelevant.
    He's using this as a moneymaking scheme.
    Lay one finger on him, do one thing that violates him, and he will sue you, and more importantly, the city, the police department, the US Military, and any private property owner he happens to be standing on to make money off of it.

  • by symbolset ( 646467 ) * on Sunday December 16, 2012 @11:00PM (#42310599) Journal
    Publishing the information is free speech. Gathering it in this particular manner is illegal. So as long as the publisher received the information through anonymous sources without knowledge of any specific illegal activity, they are protected. They are protected so much that they are not required to divulge their sources, even if they know it - though they should not. The only risk is that the publisher and the information gatherer is the same person. Anonymous is not so stupid as that.
  • Fighting words (Score:5, Informative)

    by Weaselmancer ( 533834 ) on Monday December 17, 2012 @01:18AM (#42311407)

    You do not have the right to say whatever you want. Hate speech or inciting violence are not protected. Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire, 1942. [wikipedia.org]

    "There are certain well-defined and narrowly limited classes of speech, the prevention and punishment of which have never been thought to raise any constitutional problem. These include the lewd and obscene, the profane, the libelous, and the insulting or "fighting" words those which by their very utterance inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace. It has been well observed that such utterances are no essential part of any exposition of ideas, and are of such slight social value as a step to truth that any benefit that may be derived from them is clearly outweighed by the social interest in order and morality."

    And that was the unanimous opinion of the Supreme Court. So no, people did not die for us to have the freedom to hurt each other with hate speech.

  • Re:Kudos (Score:4, Informative)

    by hjf ( 703092 ) on Monday December 17, 2012 @01:23AM (#42311435) Homepage

    He's saying that the parents of murdered children should "just ignore" the WBC idiots at the kids funeral... that is, in my opinion, a severe lack of empathy. I read in another comment that you are a father. I'm pretty sure you wouldn't be able to "just ignore" a bunch of idiots like the WBC should a thing like that happen to you.

  • Re:Kudos (Score:4, Informative)

    by benjfowler ( 239527 ) on Monday December 17, 2012 @07:50AM (#42312793)

    In the UK, hate speech is treated as a public order issue. Judging by what I read and see on TV, it appears that the WBC's behaviour is certainly a public order issue.

    Perhaps if the activities of the WBC were seen in this light, then things might change...

  • Re:Kudos (Score:5, Informative)

    by Fished ( 574624 ) <amphigory@NOsPam.gmail.com> on Monday December 17, 2012 @08:15AM (#42312899)
    Westboro Baptist Church has nothing to do with Jesus, "zombie" or otherwise. You do realize that there is no Christian body of any size, anywhere, that supports them? That they are a standalone congregation of about 40 people, most of whom are related to Phelps, who make their living by stirring up controversy and suing for their civil right to do so?

    Don't even consider them Chrsitians. It's a business scheme.
  • Re:Kudos (Score:5, Informative)

    by d3ac0n ( 715594 ) on Monday December 17, 2012 @09:01AM (#42313123)

    To be entirely accurate, WSBC isn't really a Christian church.

    Now, because I can just hear the Atheist trolls firing up their "No True Scotsman fallacy" engines, Understand that WSBC is not a church in ANY traditional sense of the meaning other than they are a unified group and they have regular meetings. In that respect they are as much a church as your local NAMBLA affliate group.

    If you look down the WSBC roster you will see that first of all, they are ALL related to one another either by marriage or by birth. It's basically the Phelps clan with some other family appendages.

    Secondly, you may notice that all or nearly all of the Phelpses are LAWYERS. In fact, they are all very accomplished tort lawyers and/or law staff. When you look at their history you will see that they ALWAYS sue people that assault them, and they almost always win. They have made MILLIONS off of suing people that attack them for their repugnant views.

    This is also how they manage to remain classified a church; They are based in a state where church classification rules are loose, and they utilize that and their status as lawyers to keep that classification. (Saves on taxes when the Church makes all the money.)

    Then they go out and set up situations where they will likely be assaulted just to make money off of the poor righteous bastards that want to go after them. They keep the threat of violence reasonably low by filming everything and bringing women and children along as human shields, and then when one of them inevitably gets punched or shoved or pushed or gets a hangnail, they sue everyone there, especially any families that are involved in the events they are protesting at.

    This is why I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Freedom Riders. Basically a motorcycle gang that specifically follows the WSBC around whenever they protest a soldier's funeral. they surround them and then block them from view with HUGE signs and American flags and drown them out with revving Harley Davidson motorcycles. They never touch anyone from WSBC, but they prevent them from causing any emotional harm to the families of dead soldiers. They've been so effective the Phelpses have nearly abandoned going after soldier's funerals.

    This is why I say that the Phelpses are NOT a Christian church. They are just a bunch of dirty lawyers using hate and law to make money hand over fist. I suspect that they may very well believe at least some of the bile they spew, but it is FAR more about money than it is about faith. Frankly, if not for the fact that they seem to be so much about making money hand over fist I'd almost suspect they were an attempt to troll Christianity and tax law surrounding the churches.

  • Re:Kudos (Score:5, Informative)

    by d3ac0n ( 715594 ) on Monday December 17, 2012 @10:43AM (#42313677)

    A source request? REALLY? [lmgtfy.com]

Don't tell me how hard you work. Tell me how much you get done. -- James J. Ling