The Westboro Baptist Church has secured a permit to protest the second inauguration of President Barack Obama.
A press release issued by the Westboro Baptist Church on Saturday revealed the group's plans to protest Obama's inauguration on Jan. 21.
On Tuesday, The Huffington Post confirmed with the National Park Service that the Westboro Baptist Church has secured a permit to picket along Pennsylvania Avenue at the north sidewalk, southeast corner of John Marshall Park, from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Jan. 21.
In the past, the Westboro Baptist Church -- known for its vehement anti-gay positions -- has made empty threats. The group threatened to protest the funerals of Reddit co-founder and programmer Aaron Swartz as well as the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, but did not show up to either.
Westboro Baptist Church has, however, followed through with protesting Obama before.
In November 2009, members from the Topeka-based group protested outside the school attended by Obama's daughters, Sasha and Malia. A message on the WBC website at the time referred to the two young girls as the "satanic spawn" of a "murderous bastard."
There are various petitions to try to get the Westboro Baptist Church -- an independent group of Calvinist extremists, most of who are related to founder Fred Phelps -- defined as a hate group and not a religious group. A petition on the White House's open forum, We the People, already has more than 319,000 signatures.
"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," the WhiteHouse.gov petition reads. "Their actions have been directed at many groups, including homosexuals, military, Jewish people and even other Christians. They pose a threat to the welfare and treatment of others and will not improve without some form of imposed regulation."
UPDATE: 1/20, 10:28 a.m. -- Margie Phelps, one of the more vocal Westboro Baptist Church members, tweeted on Sunday that the group is readying for its Inauguration Day protest.
The Westboro Baptist Church wants God to punish Americans for accepting homosexuality, according to NPR. The group's protests and pickets are intended to make people angry so they "reject God and be condemned to hell."
Also on HuffPost:
The Westboro Baptist Church first gained national notice at the <a href="http://billingsgazette.com/news/state-and-regional/wyoming/article_fa10936e-cb5b-5170-afd8-e7eaa0a43aa8.html" target="_hplink">funeral of Matthew Shepard</a> who had been robbed, brutally beaten and left to die in Laramie, Wyoming.
The Westboro Baptist Church threatened to picket <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/06/westboro-baptist-church-steve-jobs-funeral_n_998032.html" target="_hplink">Steve Jobs' funeral</a> but called it off when the memorial service was held privately.
The Westboro Baptist Church picketed Elizabeth Edwards' funeral after she <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/09/elizabeth-edwards-funeral-westboro-baptist-church_n_794333.html" target="_hplink">died of cancer</a>.
The Westboro Baptist Church protested Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder after he had died serving his country in Iraq. The protest of the hate group went all the way to <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/29/father-of-dead-marine-ord_n_517614.html" target="_hplink">the Supreme Court</a>.
While it is not clear that the hate group ever got there they declared their intent in this charming YouTube Video staring the head hater himself who tells the people of Norway -- <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PC3K9ZoU7So" target="_hplink">God Sent the Shooter</a>. Read more about it <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/04/westboro-baptists-church-norway_n_917388.html" target="_hplink">here</a>.
Illinois Holocaust Museum
The Westboro Baptist Church protested the Illinois Holocaust Museum <a href="http://skokie.patch.com/articles/update-westboro-baptist-church-protest-at-holocaust-museum" target="_hplink">on the eve of Rosh Hashanah</a>
The Westboro Baptist Church picketed the funerals of victims of Tucson shootings. They agreed not to picket the 9 year old Christina Taylor Green i<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/12/westboro-baptist-church-arizona-funerals_n_808088.html" target="_hplink">n exchange for air time</a> on a local radio show.
Westboro Baptist Church picketed the funeral of recording artist Michael Jackson. Members of Westboro have also recorded a song titled "<a href="http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2422138213120376038" target="_hplink">God Hates the World</a>," an adaptation of Jackson's charity single, "We Are the World."
President Obama Joplin, Missouri after the Tornado
The Westboro Baptist Church protested in tornado devastated Joplin, Missouri <a href="http://articles.latimes.com/2011/may/29/nation/la-na-obama-joplin-missouri-20110530" target="_hplink">when President Obama visited</a>.
Foo Fighters Fight Back
Read more about it <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/18/foo-fighters-westboro-baptist-church_n_968395.html" target="_hplink">The Foo Fighters vs. Westboro</a>.