A church in Australia’s capital, Brisbane, is struggling to contain a wave of hostility after its former leader was shot dead in a car.
The church in New Beginnings was forced to close for a week after members were attacked and one member was shot.
RTE’s Grace Church reporter, Peter O’Dowd, travelled to the church in Brisbane to learn how people can become members.
He says there is a culture of “hatred” among members of the church and the media are not being fair to the victims of the shooting.
“It’s a pretty hard-hitting and painful story and the people who are getting attacked and the church has tried to do what they can to keep them safe and they’ve had to do a lot of work to keep people safe,” he said.
“They’ve got a lot to learn from that.”
RTE: How to become a member of Westboro, Brisbane reporter Peter Odowd explains how to join the church, and what to expect.
Read more: Westboro’s former leader, Fred Phelps, was shot and killed by police on Tuesday (local time) after police found a weapon.
He was found in a vehicle in the driveway of his house.
“He’s dead and it’s a shock to us all that we have to deal with this,” Mr Odawd said.
Mr Phelps was also a leading figure in the anti-gay “Witch Hunt” movement that is targeting gay people in the US.
He had been arrested in Florida for allegedly stalking a gay man.
He allegedly threatened to burn down a gay bar in Orlando.
Police arrested Phelps after a surveillance video appeared to show him threatening to burn the bar down.
“If you don’t believe in God, why are you still in the church?”
Mr Oddawd asked.
“You’re living in a world that’s just built around hate and hate alone,” he added.
Westboro has been banned in the UK, but it is still listed on the website of the National Secular Society.
The organisation has urged members to “put your money where your mouth is”.