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Westboro Baptist Church to Protest in Naperville

By Soyoung Kwak in Miscellaneous on Oct 23, 2010 8:00PM

The memories from the Westboro Baptist Church protest at the University of Chicago last spring are still fresh in our minds. After going up against the U of C, the church came back for seconds and protested again in Chicago last August. A press release from the church a few weeks ago indicates that the Westboro Baptist Church is making another trip out to Illinois, but this time, they are coming to Naperville.

The church, founded by Fred Phelps, will be in Naperville this upcoming Monday, October 25th. The infamous organization plans to protest and picket screenings of a documentary that features the church itself, titled The Anatomy of Hate: A Dialogue for Hope. As part of Anti-Hate Week, a screening of the documentary will be held at North Central College. Even though the church has indicated it was going to protest, some believe that the church won't follow through on its promise:

Ted Slowik, director of PR and media relations at the college, said although the school has discussed security measures with its own staff and the Naperville Police Department, there is no guarantee there will be a protest. "These people have not shown up at several other places they've said they would show up at," said Slowik. "What they try to do is try to incite a response from the people they're protesting."

And apparently, the Westboro Baptist Church is no stranger to Naperville:

According to Naperville Police Chief David Dial, representatives of Westboro Baptist Church have protested at least three previous times in Naperville. Based on those experiences, he doesn't expect more than a dozen picketers Monday. "There is no indication that they've shown up anywhere with 100 or so people," he said. "They've also indicated they would be there, and on more than one occasion, not shown."

It's unclear how many members of the church will travel to Illinois on Monday, but as a response to the church's plans to come into town, students at North Central College are planning on a counter-protest of the church's presence.