Nate Phelps, son of God Hates Fags minister Fred Phelps, finds it “disconcerting” that hackers could so easily seize his estranged family’s websites.
“My overall feeling is disconcerting to see how easy it is for people to disrupt the internet. You hear about it, but someone was able to do it while they were talking. He can go in and wipe or compromise a website,” says Phelps.
Until last week, Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) could be found at the charmingly named websites godhatesfags.com, priestsrapeboys.com, godhatesamerica.com, godhatestheworld.com, jewskilledjesus.com and americaisdoomed.com.
The cyber attack is the latest in a spat between WBC and the hactivist collective Anonymous. The attack happened during a radio interview in which Shirley Phelps-Roper, WBC spokesperson, slagged Anonymous.
Phelps-Roper has called Anonymous a “bunch of thugs and criminals.”
WBC is already known for garnering negative media attention through harsh measures, like picketing soldiers’ funerals and saying Lady Gaga has a whore’s forehead.
Before the church’s websites were hacked, Anonymous issued a statement saying its members “disapprove of what you [WBC] say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Later, an Anonymous spokesperson confronted Phelps-Roper on radio, but he has since publicly denied taking down God Hates Fags and WBC’s other online properties.
As for Nate Phelps, he says he’s not convinced that the church instigated the feud. Usually a harsh critic of his father’s ministry, he points out that the website of the Phelps’ family law firm was also removed, which could hurt them financially. “They don’t have trouble attracting attention as it is. For them to put their system at risk would have been pointless, regardless if they get their message across. Their websites are too important to them,” says Phelps.
Nate Phelps is the executive director of Centre for Inquiry, an organization that promotes atheism.
In further news. . .
Nate Phelps says he likes Xtra’s coverage of the lack of gay-straight alliances in the Ontario Catholic school system. He is in the midst of working on a campaign to cut government funding for Catholic schools. “If people only understood the weakness of a provincially funded Catholic school system in Alberta…
We want to point out the inequities that make it unfair for a specific religion to get all those dollars so they can impose their world view,” says Phelps.
Xtra will have more on this shortly.