Satanists visited the Mississippi gravesite of the mother of Westboro Baptist Church founder Fred Phelps on July 14, performing two "Pink Mass" ceremonies that would turn her "gay forever."
Supporters of New York's Satanic Temple said it performed the ceremony because of Westboro's past positions against the gay community and traveling to high-profile funerals to protest, according to Jackson's Clarion-Ledger
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Westboro Church, based in Topeka, Kan., has created controversy around the country with its funeral protests and comments against gays. Phelps, the church's leader, is a Mississippi native.
Lucien Greaves, the temple's spokesman, said in a release reported by the Clarion-Ledger that the idea for the Pink Mass came after Boston Marathon bombings when Westboro threatened to protest the funeral of bombing victims
"Members of The Satanic Temple were in Boston, waiting for them, but they failed to show," Greaves said. "Later, the WBC issued a statement that they had been present 'in spirit.' We decided that a same-sex couple celebrating ceremony at the gravesite of Fred Phelps's mother was an appropriate way to meet the Westboro Baptists, 'in spirit,' but this time on our terms."
Greves said the temple's ceremony is based on the Mormon practice of baptizing people after their death. The ceremony consisted of same-sex couples expressing their love at the gravesite of Phelps' mother before a high priest of the Satanic Temple, who recited an incantation.
According to the Clarion-Ledger, the temple's ceremony did not seem to slow Westboro, which announced it will picket the funeral of "Glee" star Cory Monteith, who died Saturday of a drug overdose
The church has drawn anger from people around the country. When Westboro announced plans to picket the funerals of Central Pennsylvania Army veterans Jarrett Yoder, 24, and Matthew Ruffner, 34, in April, it drew the wrath of a local newspaper.
"There's nothing remotely godly about picketing the funeral of fallen soldiers while their families mourn lives cut short altogether too soon," the editorial from The Patriot-News said upon the church's arrival
. "As a community, however, there is something that can be done: A counter-demonstration letting members of the Westboro 'church' know, in no uncertain terms, that their message of hate will not win the day."
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