A bomb threat was made against Naperville's DuPage Unitarian Universalist Church ( DUUC ) because of the church's support for marriage equality, according to the church's pastor, Rev. Emmy Lou Belcher.
Belcher told Windy City Times that the act came from an intoxicated individual. 'As I understand it, a man who had attended meetings at our church was drinking very early Sunday morning in the parking lot. He decided to leave a note threatening the church because we have a big banner outside that reads 'Civil Marriage Is A Civil Right',' she said. 'It's a statement of conscience regarding our church.'
According to Belcher, the note said that 'if the banner did not come down, then the church would.' She added that he left the note in a huge tepee that the church's high school group uses.
'Apparently, he then went on down the road to the forest preserve and continued drinking; [ the sheriff ] caught him there and he said where to find the note,' Belcher said.
'So we're holding our service at 9:15 a.m. and someone saw the sheriff going toward the tepee. Around the time that service ended, we received word that the sheriff wanted us to evacuate the building. So, we took all of our equipment, ran an extension cord across Old Naperville Road ( which is seldom traveled ) and held our church service out there. It was so surreal—especially when we saw the bomb truck and the [ bomb-sniffing ] dogs.' Fortunately, no bomb was detected. As for the perpetrator, Belcher said that 'they have sent him to detox and they will send him for medical care [ regarding ] his bipolar [ disorder ] .' ( The DuPage County Sheriff's Office would only tell Windy City Times on Monday that 'it is speaking to a person of interest.' )
Individuals and organizations have rallied behind the church. The Illinois chapter of the National Organization for Women ( IL NOW ) condemned the threat in a statement. 'This is a hate crime aimed at intimidating LGBT supporters and it will NOT be tolerated,' said Bonnie Grabenhofer, president of IL NOW. IL NOW lauded the church's stand and announced its solidarity with DUUC, supporting marriage equality as a fundamental constitutional right.
Belcher added that, although this was the first bomb threat, she learned that there have been messages and swastikas scrawled on the doors. ( She has helmed the church only since August. ) The minister said that while she expects more reactions, she is only 'marginally concerned' that the events will be violent.