Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash was punishment for sin, says extremist Westboro Baptist Church group
The controversial Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) organization, known for their "God Hates Fags" protests at military funerals, is taking another unconventional stance after a tragedy.
WBC took to Twitter Thursday after Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine to celebrate the tragedy, and has continued to tweet that the attack was a punishment from God.
The group first mocked the MH17 crash, retweeting a Fox News post on Thursday that announced the events, then adding "Will they find it?" The remark was an allusion to Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370, which disappeared on March 8 while traveling from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Beijing, China.
WBC then retweeted a Daily Mirror post announcing that nearly 300 passengers were killed when the plane was shot down by a missile. The group remarked, "As tragic as their love for sin," and added a link to their song "You Love Sins What a Tragedy." The track is an anti-gay marriage parody of Panic! at the Disco's hit song "I Write Sins Not Tragedies."
The tweets continued as details of the MH17 attack unfolded. The jet was traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when a surface-to-air missile shot it down near the Russia-Ukraine border. Both countries are deflecting responsibility for the attacks.
WBC started using the hashtags #godisyourenemy and #godisyourterrorist, and pointed to the presence of accomplished AIDS researchers on the plane as evidence that the MH17 attack was from God. They were asked by BuzzFeed legal editor Chris Geidner, "What if cure for AIDS was on that flight?"
The church responded, "No cure for God's curses!" and "Only Cure = stop sinning!! #Repent."
Thousands of people have responded to WBC's tweets, many of whom decry the group's messages of hate.
"You people are sick in the head how can you say babys [sic] are in hell with the ones on the plane that crashed get real you have no clue," one man wrote.
"This is disgusting #WBC should be ashamed," another woman said.
Her tweet was in response to WBC tweeting, "Godsmack! Malaysia Plane Down."
Other users were also greatly distressed by the group's message.
"Wow calling a plane that was shot down good? Woe to those who call evil good," a Canadian woman said, calling the group "demon seed."
On board the targeted plane were 298 people from over a dozen countries. About 181 bodies have been recovered from the crash site.*