The White House finally responded to the most popular petition (or rather, five petitions) to ever appear on its website: a call to classify the Westboro Baptist Church as a hate group. As is often the case, the Obama administration’s response is a bit underwhelming. The White House explains, “the federal government doesn’t maintain a list of hate groups,” though the president did sign a law limiting demonstrations at military funerals, and agrees that such practices are “reprehensible.” That’s not the fiery rebuke the petitions’$2 674,569 supporters were looking for, but as a consolation prize, the White House provided this GIF that maps out where the group is most widely reviled.
The image shows “zip codes that people chose to share with us when they signed.” Those two dark spots are places with “unique insight into the actions of the Westboro Baptist Church”: the group’s home state of Kansas and Newtown, Connecticut. The White House notes, “one of the remarkable things about this set of petitions is that it shows just how strong the bonds that unite us can be. Together, we’re more resilient than those who would try to drive us apart.” It’s true — hating the Westboro Baptist Church really does bring Americans together.