Westboro Baptist Church Gets In on Pokémon Go
With its usual offensive messages against LGBT community
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 11, 2016 1:33 PM CDT
Did anyone expect Westboro to stay silent?   (Twitter)

(Newser) – The new Pokémon Go game that everyone's obsessing over isn't all fun and games: In Missouri, four teens were busted for using the app to lure victims they could rob, and now the Westboro Baptist Church is tapping into it to spread its own message, USA Today reports. One of the players of the game—which involves "hunting" and collecting Pokémon characters in the real world using the GPS on your phone—saw that the church based in Topeka, Kan., was listed as a "Gym" (a place players can "claim" so they can train their Pokémon), so he took it over using a character named Clefairy. The pink, rotund creature's nickname is "LoveIsLove," which struck many as perfectly hilarious irony, considering "Love is love" is a common phrase employed by the LGBT community, and Westboro makes no secret about being opposed to the LGBT lifestyle. "The fact that Westboro Baptist Church is a gym being controlled by a Clefairy named LOVEISLOVE is my fav," one user tweeted with a screenshot, per WFLA.

Westboro was soon alerted to its new status, and it didn't waste much time hijacking Jigglypuff, another Pokémon, for its own use. "We recruited Jigglypuff to deal with the sodomite loveislove Clefairy for us," the church's Twitter account posted Sunday, including a short Vine video showing the character holding a "Repent or Perish" sign; an earlier tweet read, "Transforming silly things so we can preach the Gospel of Christ to a generation of Bible-dumb rebels." Kotaku notes that on Monday morning, the WBC switched over to the popular character Pikachu, holding up another one of the church's offensive signature phrases against homosexuals. "We try to speak whatever language is being spoken," a church elder tells USA Today. Reaction online includes a lot of eye-rolling, including one commenter who calls the church's Pokémon appropriation "desperate." At least one person, meanwhile, wants to settle the unpleasantness in a commonsense way: a Pokémon battle. (A Wyoming woman found an unpleasant surprise while hunting for Pokémon.)