On its website Godhatesamerica.com, the Westboro Baptist Church said God willed the mass murder to occur.
The church in Kansas has caused uproar across America in the past by claiming Hurricane Katrina was an act of God to kill homosexuals and by picketing mourners of soldiers killed in Iraq. It claims Americans are killed to mark God’s revenge on the US for tolerating homosexuality.
It said: “Why did this happen, you ask? It’s simple. On April 16, 2007, this nation, through the offices of your military and conspirators therewith took a shot at the servants of God — your marksman was limp and lame and he had terror all around, so he did a lousy job.
“But what you get for your trouble is that your God shot at you! The Lord your God sent a crazed madman to shoot at your children, and he didn’t miss.
“Get this straight — God sent this South Korean madman to kill 31 of your children at Virginia Tech. Was God asleep while this took place? Was He on vacation? Of course not. He willed this to happen to punish you for assailing His servants.”
Shirley L Phelps-Roper, daughter of the founder of the Westboro Church, Fred Phelps said those killed are ‘all in hell’. In response to a letter on the website, she said: “They are not innocent. This is a nation of rebels and God is executing judgment upon you.”
Its members travel nationally to picket the funerals of gay and lesbian victims of murder, gay-bashing or death related to AIDS, as well as other events related or appearing to be related to gay people. The group, which has 71 members, describes itself as ‘the most hated family in America’ and has been attacked on numerous occasions. However, it continues to welcome non-members to its services each Sunday.