POLITICS
07/03/2013 11:29 am ET Updated Jul 03, 2013

White House Responds To Westboro Baptist Church Petitions

Responding to several petitions on its "We The People" petition platform, the White House on Tuesday issued a resounding condemnation of the controversial Kansas-based group, the Westboro Baptist Church.

"One of the remarkable things about this set of petitions is that it shows just how strong the bonds that unite us can be," the official response reads, calling the groups' protests of veterans' funerals "reprehensible."

"Together, we’re more resilient than those who would try to drive us apart," it continues.

Perhaps just as remarkable, the White House included a GIF that shows where most of the anti-Westboro petition signatures have come from. The two most active areas are Kansas and the area around Newtown, Conn., where the group attempted to picket the funerals of victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

The petitions had asked for the Westboro Church to be officially designated as a hate group and for the group's tax-exempt status to be investigated.

Although the White House cited a law expanding limits on military funeral protests, it refused to call Westboro a hate group, saying that was the prerogative of private organizations like the Anti-Defamation League.

That will come as a disappointment to the 367,000 people who signed the petition -- the most popular White House petition of all time.

Meanwhile, the Westboro Baptist Church announced its plans to picket the funerals of the 19 firefighters who lost their lives battling wildfires in Yarnell, Ariz., on June 30.

(h/t Musichead2468 on Reddit)

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