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UPDATE: Westboro Baptist Church Protests at Holocaust Museum

One counter-protester showed up, and later broke down crying.

As Jessica Watters stood near Skokie's Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center, she was met by four protestors from the Westboro Baptist Church.

They marched outside the museum and held several signs, some of which read: "God is Your Enemy" and "Some Jews Will Repent."

"We are always looking for every opportunity to put these words before your faces," said WBC member Megan Phelps-Roper. "The Holocaust was a tea party [compared] to what's coming."

The church, known for demonstrating at military funerals and burning American flags, made their rounds in Skokie earlier today. When asked to convey the church's message in one sentence, Phelps-Roper said, "Obey God or Destruction." WBC preaches a zero-tolerance policy for those who disagree with its fundamentalist doctrine.

And on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, Watters said she was prepared for the group's "hateful message." A Jewish Skokie resident, Watters said she came out to promote love and peace, but was soon overwhelmed.

It wasn't long before Watters broke down and started crying.  As she walked away with her young child in a stroller, WBC member Shirley Phelps-Roper emerged with a smile.

"I told her what she needs to teach her child," Phelps-Roper said, "that she needs to obey god."

The Holocaust museum closed early for the high holidays and Watters was the only counter-protester who showed up.  The WBC waved their signs toward the road and passing drivers responded with raised middle fingers, honks, and profanities.

"We're happy to be out here with these words. We're happy. It's a blessed privilege to be able to stand out and say these words to you," said Megan Phelps-Roper, 24, and daughter of Shirley.

Myra Roberts travelled all the way from Santa Bella Island, Florida, to see her brother, Larry Weinger, and present several portraits to the Illinois Holocaust Museum in Skokie today. However, the museum was closed and Roberts was unaware that the Westboro Baptist Church was planning to be there.

One portrait Roberts carried was of Anne Frank, the young Jewish girl who died in a Nazi concentration camp. The picture featured a quote from Frank's diary, which read, "In spite of everything, I still believe people are good at heart."

The group stayed for about 30 minutes before packing up and moving on to their next location, the Northwestern University Hillel where a larger group of protesters await. Be sure to check the site later for video interviews and more photos.  

Melissa Sersland (Editor) September 09, 2010 at 08:51 PM
Great work covering this, guys.
Fred September 11, 2010 at 05:53 PM
The best way to react to these brainless idiots is that NOBODY SHOWS UP! Especially NO MEDIA. Kind of like the recent idiot from Florida. It's the news media that made this fool "famous"! If U want to counter demonstrate you should do it someplace else other then near them. Let the media show people demonstrating with POSITIVE signs & not give the "idiots" any "press exposure".
Cindy August 06, 2012 at 07:22 AM
Of course we have the "freedom of speech" and people have the right to "protest", but the true God is a God of Love--not hate! If these people are saying God hates people that sin, then no one will be in Heaven, because everyone sins--even these idiots are full of sin. How dare they hurt those who have already suffered so much pain?

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