FIGHTING WORDS

White House: Westboro ‘Reprehensible’

Even though hundreds of thousands of Americans have formally asked the White House to designate Westboro Baptist Church a hate group, the Obama administration says its hands are tied. Five separate petitions made through the “We the People” website attracted roughly 675,000 signatures asking for the designation and for the church, based in Kansas, to lose its tax-exempt status. The White House noted that the government does not keep a list of hate groups, but that it stands with the petitioners. “We agree that practices such as protesting at the funerals of men and women who died in service to this country and preventing their families from mourning peacefully are reprehensible,” the White House said.