In some weird twist of fate, the Westboro Baptist Church’s latest campaign involves the Pokémon Jigglypuff, Pikachu and Squirtle.
There’s been no shortage of strange events surrounding the recently released game “Pokémon Go,” from the woman who found a dead body while playing to robbers using the game to “lure” victims. And now, WBC —a fringe religious group known for their homophobic messages — can be added to the list.
Related link: What Pokémon have you caught in Austin, and where?
Turns out, one one of the game’s “gyms,” which are designated spots where players can challenge one another, is located at WBC in Topeka, Kansas. For those who aren’t familiar with “Pokémon Go,” it is an augmented reality mobile game developed by Niantic that allows players to “catch” Pokemon nearby.
After users found the location, Pokémon player Pinknose took over the gym at WBC leaving a pink Clefairy named “Loveislove” as a guard.
The Westboro Baptist Church Gym is currently controlled by a Clefairy named LOVEISLOVE . ICONIC. I LOVE IT. pic.twitter.com/y4RRv5nXxT
— // Venny // (@DarthVenn) July 10, 2016
Recognizing the user’s decision to nickname the character using the phrase commonly associated with the LGBT community, WBC retaliated by co-opting the Pokémon Jigglypuff in a message. The WBC’s Twitter account posted a Vine yesterday depicting Jigglypuff holding a “repent or perish” sign with the phrase “Pokéemon go and sin no more” above.
Yeah, but you're just a touch BIASED @TopekaKansasNws so here's our recruit…https://t.co/HyQvNAx90A https://t.co/oII8lEZRen
— Westboro Baptist (@WBCSaysRepent) July 11, 2016
Since then, WBC has sent out a number of posts using different Pokémon as their spokesmen. The church has even declared “Pokémon Go”-war against the user Pinknose and appears to be getting ready to challenge the Clefairy with its own Pokémon.
“@CGBPosts: Westboro Baptist Church Gym is controlled by a Clefairy named LOVEISLOVE.” Not for long!! #PokemonGO pic.twitter.com/f1hWF7toz6
— WBCSigns (@WBCsigns) July 10, 2016
Just to put these events into perspective, remember folks — it’s been less than a week since the game came out.
Read more about the WBC and Pokémon at USA Today.]]