According to Muck Rock, the FBI spent two years chasing down leaders of “God Hates Goths” church before realising the whole thing was made up.
In December 2005, the FBI opened a file on as religious extremist group the “Church of the Hammer.” Named after the infamous treaty on witchcraft and allegedly founded by a protégée of Westboro Baptists’ Fred Phelps, the group called for violent retribution on those in defiance of God’s will.
The Bureau’s main source on the case was a goth who had engaged with members of the Church via their Yahoo Group “GodHatesGoths.” For some reason the FBI thought that the Church enough of a threat to move beyond mere fact-finding into full-on investigation. To be fair, agents feared that if they didn’t act soon, they might have another Waco on their hands.
But agents soon found that none of the people asked about the many incidents the Church was supposedly involved knew anything about it. Then after a couple of years the FBI visited GodHatesGoths.com and found a disclaimer – in small print, mind – that the site and and the Church were satire.
Amercians have a bit problem with satire in that they do not have a clue what it is. For years people, have been putting up unfunny made up news and calling it “satire.” Usually “the joke” is obvious but it took two years after the FBI opened an investigation into the Church of the Hammer, it got the gag.