- (Photo: Twitter/@EParkerTimes)
A controversial group known for its protests of funerals and gay rights events has secured a permit to demonstrate at the 2013 Inauguration of President Barack Obama.
Westboro Baptist Church, an organization headed by Fred Phelps that is unaffiliated with any Baptist denomination, announced on Saturday their intentions.
"The beast will show you his true colors; then Christ will return and consume him with the spirit of his mouth," reads their statement posted on Twitter, referring to the re-elected president as "Beast Obama."
Westboro's planned protest will take place from 7:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 21.
The group's announced intentions come as a petition on a White House website demanding that WBC be classified as a hate group recently passed the 320,000 mark for signatures gathered. The petition, created by "Grant B." last month, calls for the Obama administration to "legally recognize Westboro Baptist Church as a hate group."
"This group has been recognized as a hate group by organizations, such as The Southern Poverty Law Center, and has repeatedly displayed the actions typical of hate groups," reads the petition. "They pose a threat to the welfare and treatment of others and will not improve without some form of imposed regulation."
While noted as being the most signed petition on the White House's "We the People" website, it has yet to receive an official response from the Oval Office; this even though a petition is expected to receive an official response once it gets 25,000 signatures.
While the largest, Grant B.'s is not the only petition on the "We the People" site pertaining to Westboro. Five others have been posted, which demand that Westboro lose its tax-exempt status and/or be classified by the government as a hate group. Of those five, four of them have long surpassed the 25,000 mark and the fifth, which focuses more on the issue of funeral demonstrations, has over 18,000.
"The Westboro Baptist Church members have taken it upon themselves to protest funerals of soldiers, young children, and otherwise undeserving citizens of this beautiful country. This must be stopped," reads the petition with about 18,000 signatures.
"These 'church' members have become homeland terrorists, without bombs, but with words, terrorizing the good people of this country in a form of harassment, and this must be stopped."
Next Monday, President Barack Obama will be sworn in to his second term in office. The Inauguration coincides with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.