Westboro Baptist Church to protest at Vassar College, Schwarzkopf memorial
The infamous hate group announced plans to picket a memorial ceremony for the late Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf at West Point on Thursday morning before heading about 40 miles north and east to Vassar College in Poughkeepsie.
Westboro's beef with Vassar College focuses on the school's reputation as a liberal, gay-friendly institution. Vassar's faculty members "promote the [gay] agenda with all their might and mock the word of God," the church wrote in a description on its website.
Since the Topeka, Kan.-based church announced its intention to protest what it calls the "Ivy League Whorehouse," a Vassar alumni started an online fundraiser for the LGBTQ youth support group the Trevor Project.
"Our goal is to raise $4,500, or $100 per minute that the WBC is planning to protest," reads the fundraiser's description on fundraising site crowdrise.com.
The fund had raised 20 times that amount -- $91,162 as of Wednesday evening. More than 3,300 people had donated to the fund by that time, according to the site's real-time statistics.
Thursday's earlier protest at West Point seems to have less to do with Schwarzkopf -- a 1956 West Point graduate best known for leading the military campaign in the 1991 Persian Gulf War -- than with a general dislike of the Army, which the group calls "vile military mutts" whose funerals "have become pagan orgies of idolatrous blasphemy."
Schwarzkopf, 78, died Dec. 27 in Tampa, Fla., where he retired after his last command.
The independent Baptist church has made a habit of showing up at military funerals in the past decade, prompting some states to pass laws prohibiting protests at funerals for service members. In 2006, President George W. Bush signed a law that made it illegal to protest within 300 feet of a cemetery entrance.