Is there a line the Westboro Baptist Church won't cross? Not yet, apparently.
The anti-LGBT church responded to the Orlando shootings in a series of tweets and shared a link to a parody song it created called "Shooters Keep Comin' Around." It is a parody of a popular song called "Pompeii" by the English indie rock band Bastille.
Fifty people were killed and another 53 were wounded at an LGBT club in Orlando, Fla., after a gunman opened fire Sunday morning. Reports say this is the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. The shooter was been identified as Omar Mateen, 29, of Fort Pierce, Fla.
The "God Hates Fags" congregation first tweeted a link to the parody song June 5, but Sunday the group has shared the link to the song from multiple Westboro Baptist Church Twitter accounts. The group maintains multiple accounts because its accounts have been known to get deleted because of hateful speech.
Bastille's "Pompeii" was originally relased January 11, 2013, but has remained a mainstay on Top 40 radio. It reached number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100. Bastille tweeted about the shooting Sunday, saying, "This is almost unbelievable and so incredibly sad."
In an interview with music magazine NME, the band elaborated on the song, saying it was an allusion to Pompeii, the Roman city that was wiped out after Mount Vesuvius erupted and turned the once thriving city into dust.
The band told the music site in 2013:
"It’s really about what happened in Pompeii and the city. Famously, the city was sort of dug up and people who were wiped out by the volcano were kind of discovered — or the negative space of their body was discovered — in the poses in which they died, and I just thought that was such an interesting image. And a really happy one as well. So the song is sort of imagining a conversation between two of those people."
The Westboro Baptist Church changed the lyrics from the original song in its parody version into:
"I ain't gonna be an optimist / You were caught up and lost in rage and more crisis / Marry fags as the blood flowing around you / And the shooters keep coming around in the cities that you love / Much blood flowing in the streets bringing God's wrath from above /And then he blinds your eyes..."
The song was linked in one of multiple tweets the anti-LGBT group wrote in response to the shootings Sunday. “God Sent the Shooter to Orlando Fag Club," Westboro tweeted.
In another tweet, the congregation wrote, “Adds a whole new meaning to fag chant, ‘We’re #1, we’re #1!' in response to a tweet from CNN that reads “50 dead in the worst mass shooting in U.S. history."
The church is well-known for picketing funerals, concerts, and other venues where it can earn media attention for its infamous "God Hates Fags" campaign. Members blame LGBT people for the deaths of soldiers in combat, claiming the government's growing acceptance of LGBT people has angered their Christian god.
After Westboro picketed the funeral of Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder in 2006, Snyder's family sued the church for defamation, invasion of privacy, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The case ultimately ended up at the U.S. Supreme Court, where an 8-1 majority found in favor of the church, citing constitutional guarantees to free speech, even when that speech is outrageous and offensive.
Fred Phelps, a preacher and disbarred lawyer, built a hateful name for himself by establishing the church in the 1950s, and rose to prominence picketing the funerals of people who died of AIDS complications, then gained international attention when the church picketed slain gay college student Matthew Shepard's funeral in 1998. Under his leadership, his children and grandchildren, who make up the vast majority of the church's congregation made a habit of picketing the funerals of military veterans, carrying inflammatory signs with messages like "Thank God for Dead Soldiers," and claiming that the death of American troops was God's punishment for the nation's tolerance of homosexuality. The church regularly picketed funerals and events its members believed were sinful, often "thanking God" for natural disasters, violent massacres, and even the attacks on September 11, 2001. Phelps died in 2014 at age 84, but his descendants carry on his hateful work.
Listen to the Westboro Baptist Church parody below.