Westboro Baptist Church Heads To Cleveland For The Republican National Convention

Members of the Westboro Baptist Church are reportedly on their way to Cleveland, Ohio, for the 2016 Republican National Convention. According to their “picket schedule,” members of the controversial church will be protesting the convention from 5:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on July 19 and from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. on July 20. Although the church is commonly referred to as a hate group, their protests were officially approved by city officials and the participants were issued a permit to appear during the convention.

As reported by Cleveland.com, the Westboro Baptist Church is one of several organizations granted the right to protest during this week’s Republican National Convention. Other approved participants include Food Not Bombs, Stand Together Against Trump, and Silent Monkeys.

Although some of the organizations will appear more than once throughout the week, each time slot is limited to 30 minutes.

Westboro Baptist Church was founded by Fred Phelps in 1955. Although the church was originally affiliated with East Side Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas, it is no longer affiliated with any official Baptist organization.

The self-proclaimed “Primitive” sect strongly discourages adultery, fornication, and sodomy among members of the Westboro Baptist Church and the general public.

As explained on the organization’s official website, Westboro Baptist Church “engages in daily peaceful sidewalk demonstrations” to share their beliefs with others. However, as they specifically target homosexuals and the families of fallen soldiers, with slogans including “God Hates Fags” and “Thank God for the Dead Soldiers,” the church has been labeled as a hate group.

From 1955 to 2014, Westboro Baptist Church was led by founder Fred Phelps. Following Fred’s death, his daughter, Shirley Phelps-Roper, assumed leadership of the controversial church.

Although the organization has received harsh criticism for their beliefs and their conveyance of those beliefs, Westboro Baptist Church maintains an active protest schedule.

On Tuesday, Shirley Phelps-Roper is scheduled to speak on behalf of the Westboro Baptist Church at the Town Square during the Republican National Convention. The group will also stage a 30-minute protest the following day.

The Republican National Convention is scheduled to begin on Monday, July 18, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the ULCLE POP UP in the Display Lot.

As discussed on the convention’s official website, the location was chosen to highlight “the rich history and Minority Business Enterprise CEPs that use the many services that the MBE Center has to offer.”

GOP convention CEO Jeff Larson explains.

“The Urban League has had a rich history in providing job training in urban centers, and the POP UP Store, will showcase one of ten MBE Centers that helps job creators grow their business.”

The Republican National Convention is broken down into four daily themes, including Make America Safe Again, Make America Work Again, Make America First Again, and Make America One Again.

Guest speakers, who are scheduled to appear throughout the week, include former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Texas Governor Rick Perry, actors Scott Baio and Antonio Sabato, Jr., Benghazi veterans John Tiegen and Kent Terry, and 2016 presidential hopeful Donald Trump.

Although the Democratic and Republican National Conventions are important political and social events, they serve the very important purpose of officially nominating each party’s presidential and vice-presidential candidate. At this time, the expected choices are Donald Trump for the presidential candidate and Mike Pence for vice-president.

In addition to the Republican National Convention, the organization plans to picket Cleveland State University. According to the church’s website, the participants chose the university because “the young adults of this nation have been carefully kept from any Bible truth.”

It is unclear what, if any, impact the Westboro Baptist Church’s presence will have at the Republican National Convention. However, in many cases, their protests spark some kind of controversy.

[Image via Kenneth Sponsler/Shutterstock]