POKEMON GO: Westboro church condemns game as 'sinful'
IT appears even something as seemingly innocent as family friendly video game Pokémon Go is not safe from the antagonistic ire of the Westboro Baptist Church.
In the game - which surpassed the dating app Tinder in most daily active users and is on its way to overtaking Twitter - users wander about their locales, visiting tagged landmarks to find Pokémon of their own.
One user noticed that the Westboro Baptist Church, based in Topeka, Kansas, was tagged as a "gym" - or a location where Pokémon trainers can claim as their own.
lmao someone made the Westboro Baptist church a gym ran by a clefairy named LoveIsLove. Pokemon rocks. 😂 pic.twitter.com/2vnlDpp9H8— sydney (@sydneypedersen) July 11, 2016
In this instance, the trainer called "Pinknose" claimed the church - notorious for its vicious protests against the LGBTQ community - for a pink "clefairy" named LoveisLove.
The church responded to the stunt via Twitter, employing images from Pokémon to spread its anti-LGBTQ message.
"We recruited Jigglypuff to deal with the sodomite loveislove Clefairy for us," the WBC tweeted.
Church elder Steve Drain told USA Today that the church uses whatever tools they can to get their message across - even if that instrument may be a false idol.
"We try to speak whatever language is being spoken," Drain said.
"This little church, as despised and vilified as we are, the location of this church will be memorialised throughout eternity," he added. "We're willing by God's grace to say that homosexuality is wrong, and that's what we've been known for, even though we preach the whole counsel of God."
Nonetheless, the church still condemned the game on its Twitter page.
"EVERYTHING, real or virtual, enables proud sin in america," the church wrote. "That's a sign of DOOM! #PokemonGo."
The Southern Poverty Law Center lists the WBC on its list of extremist groups.
"Westboro Baptist Church is arguably the most obnoxious and rabid hate group in America," the SPLC profile of the church reads.
They add: "According to the group, America has damned itself through its tolerance of homosexuality, and God is punishing the country by inflicting tragedies on its citizens."
Most recently, the group planned to protest the funerals of victims of the mass shooting at an LGBTQ nightclub in Orlando.
Their efforts were blocked, however, when a group of counter-protesters donned in massive angel wings blocked the picketers from the view of mourning families.