Signs and Wonders
Fred Phelps Jr., of Topeka, Kansas., with the Westboro Baptist Church holds a sign in front of the Supreme Court in Washington.
Associated Press/Photo by Carolyn Kaster
Fred Phelps Jr., of Topeka, Kansas., with the Westboro Baptist Church holds a sign in front of the Supreme Court in Washington.

Signs and Wonders: Hacker gives Westboro a taste of its own protest

Newsworthy

Hactivist hates Phelps. Westboro Baptist Church is infamous for seeking publicity in the wake of national tragedies, which it often says are punishments from God for sin. For example, Westboro’s Fred Phelps Jr., son of the church’s pastor, suggested the Oklahoma tornado was the result of public support shown to Jason Collins, an NBA player who recently said he was gay. The church also created a website, GodHatesOklahoma.com. This time, though, people who have had enough of Westboro are fighting back. An activist hacker, whose nom de guerre is Jester, apparently hackedthe church’s site and turned it into a donation page for tornado victims. The site also had some choice words of criticism for Westboro. The church quickly disabled the page. Jester, whose Twitter handle is @th3j35t3r, describes himself as a “Hacktivist for good.” After the site was taken down, Jester tweeted a cached page of it.

Ivy League education. Harvard has a reputation for being the best college in all the land. But after school newspaper The Crimson released the results of its annual survey of graduating seniors, you might have to wonder: Best at what? A major cheating scandal rocked the school this year, so it was perhaps no surprise that 30 percent admitted to cheating. About 32 percent participated in an odd Harvard tradition called the “Primal Scream,” in which students run naked across campus the night before exams begin. Another Harvard tradition is urinating on the statue of John Harvard’s shiny foot. Twenty three percent of seniors had done that. About 13 percent of seniors had had sex in Widener, Harvard’s library. By the way, the cost for learning how to desecrate a statue, have sex in the library without getting caught, and sustain a scream for the length of a cross-campus streak is about $52,652 per year.

And so it begins. Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Ky., will break ties with a Boy Scout troop in part because of Scouting’s recent decision to allow homosexual boys to participate. Tim Hester, executive pastor of the Kentucky megachurch, said the Scouts have until the end of the year to relocate. According to the Louisville Courier-Journal, “Barry Oxley, CEO of the Boy Scouts’ Lincoln Heritage Council, said Southeast Christian had notified the council earlier this year that scouting would not be offered on its campus in 2014.” According to Hester, the vote itself was the “catalyst,” but it was not the only issue. Hester cited the general direction Scouting was taking as being the real issue. “We want everyone, including ourselves, to live by biblical standards,” Hester said. About 300 families participate in Scouting in the Scout Troop and Cub Pack at Southeast Christian.

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A couple of birthdays. While we normally reserve this space to news, I occasionally mark milestones here, too. Today I note that one of my favorite writers, Walker Percy, was born 97 years ago yesterday: May 28, 1916. I’ve written about Percy before for WORLD, including an appreciation of his book The Moviegoer in last year’s annual books issue. I also note the birthday of Gilbert Keith Chesterton, born on this date in 1874. Chesterton was a brilliant Christian apologist. Even atheist George Bernard Shaw called Chesterton a “man of colossal genius.” An astute political thinker, he disdained the parties active in his day, saying, “The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of the Conservatives is to prevent the mistakes from being corrected.” One of my favorite quotes from Chesterton is particularly relevant in light of the story above, and Scouting’s decision to allow homosexuals into the movement: “Don’t ever take a fence down until you know the reason it was put up.”

Warren Cole Smith
Warren Cole Smith

Warren, who lives in Charlotte, N.C., is vice president of WORLD News Group and the host of the radio program Listening In. Follow Warren on Twitter @WarrenColeSmith.

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