The White House’s We the People site has become notable for all the eyebrow-raising causes Americans have tried to advance on it, from states attempting to secede from the U.S. after President Obama’s victory, to seeking funds and resources to build a “Star Wars”-like weapons system (ahem, a Death Star) and even advocating for the deportation of CNN host Piers Morgan. Although these petitions all gained traction on the vox populi site, only one can claim to be the most popular in its history: the appeal to classify unofficial hate group Westboro Baptist Church as an official hate group.

The petition, which was submitted on Dec. 14 by Grant B., had more than 270,000 signatures as of late Thursday morning. According to the site, the petition must be signed by at least 25,000 people to elicit an official White House response.


The petition aimed at the church best known for picketing military funerals and other events with signs declaring “GOD HATES FAGS,” is believed to be the most popular cause ever on the White House’s “We the People” petition site. Four other petitions targeting the church’s tax-exempt status have attracted nearly 200,000 additional signatures. All five petitions have passed the number required for a response from President Barack Obama’s administration.

The tiny Kansas-based church, mostly made up of members of founder Fred Phelps’ family, has picketed the funeral of military members killed in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq and funerals of victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. Phelps preaches that the deaths are God’s retribution for the United States’ acceptance of homosexuality (or in some cases, failure to condemn homosexuality strongly).

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For their part, Westboro Baptist Church members said Thursday that they didn’t understand the push. They asked — without irony, presumably — on the group’s Twitter account @GodHatesFagsWBC why people want their organization to be labeled a hate group. The tweet read, “Why is everyone calling us a hate group? We do not press hate. We spread the Word of God #GodsWill.”

Let’s just assume that was a rhetorical question.

— Posted by Tracy Bloom.

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