BETHALTO, Ill. (KMOX) - When members of the controversial Westboro Baptist Church of Kansas show up to picket the funeral of a fallen Metro East soldier, Illinois State Police will be on hand to keep the peace.
Bartender Bob Moyer at American Legion Post 214 in Bethalto told KMOX’s Kevin Killeen that his customers are understandably angry about the pending protest.
“They got no business at a military funeral,” Moyer said. “Let the family grieve.”
Just down the street at Deb’s Barber Shop and Salon, hairdresser Lannon Liedke said customers are saddened by the death of Lance Corporal Kenneth Corzine.
“They’re so proud that he served for his country and gave his life for his country,” she said.
A special unit of Illinois State Police troopers will be stationed near protestors from the Topeka, Kansas church group in an effort to avert trouble, as many counter-protestors are also expected.
At the same time, there are plans to counter-protest a planned demonstration by Westboro members in St. Charles.
Tom Kuypers with the St. Charles Veteran’s Committee plans to have his group ready for the face-off at the county office building.
“We’re just going to mind our manners and have a little bit of fun, and make sure we make our presence known,” said Kuypers.
In November, St. Charles County authorized a ban against protests near military funerals.
That measure was championed by County Council member Joe Brazil.
“We say c’mon, and bring it on!”, Brazil said. “We’re going to have a counter-protest to say what knuckleheads they are, so that’s what it’s all about.”
A hearing on whether the St. Charles County ordinance is constitutional is set for January 18th.
(Copyright KMOX Radio)