Last week a representative from the Topeka, Kansas based Westboro Baptist Church notified Casey Police that they would protesting in Casey. The Westboro Baptist Church is an unaffiliated Baptist church. They are known for protesting the funerals of US Servicemen and women. They also commonly display signs with homophobic language.
On Sunday, a small group of members of the infamous church protested at the Borromeo Catholic Church, First Baptist Church, and United Methodist Church in Casey. They were met by a counter protest made up of area residents and military veterans. College students from Eastern Illinois University, Olney Central College, and as far as Southern Illinois University in Carbondale also joined the counter protest. The counter protesters numbers at times exceeded 30.
Casey Police Chief Mark Jenkins thanked the members and staff for their patience during the protest. He also thanked the counter protests for their efforts, which he noted were expressed in a peaceful manner. After the protests ended, Jenkins issued the following statement of Facebook:
“The protests staged by The Westboro Baptist Church are over and they are on their way back to Topeka. I wish to take a moment to express “Thanks” to a number of people. First to the Illinois State Police, Clark County Sheriff’s Office, Casey EMA and the fellow officers of the Casey Police Department for their assistance and service. Secondly, to the Staff and members of The St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church, Casey First Baptist Church and Casey United Methodist Church for your patience and efforts to ignore the protesters and go about your business. Third, to the “anti Westboro protesters”, who included some military veterans, community members and student groups from Eastern Illinois University and Olney Central College. I feel that all of you were also able to express your beliefs and did so in a quiet and peaceful manner and that was greatly appreciated by law enforcement, and a special “Thanks” to Grizz for the music as it definitely seemed to make time go faster, and finally for the number of our residents that chose to not show up or totally ignore the events as it definitely made it easier for us in law enforcement.”