Vassar Students Counter Westboro Protest With LGBT Fundraiser

The Westboro Baptist Church, known for picketing the funerals of fallen soldiers and proclaiming freely that “God hates fags,” has announced that their next protest will be held at Vassar College on February 28th.

Vassar is a liberal arts school known for its tolerance and acceptance of LGBT people, which might have been what prompted the WBC to issue the following message:

“…warn the students,  faculty, and alumni that the satanic policies of this nation, especially those of the colleges and universities, are causing God to pour His wrath out upon this nation. Doomed American academics fancy themselves to be smarter than God. They promote the fag agenda with all their might and mock the word of God and His messengers at every turn.”

But Vassar students have done them one better.

When news of the planned protest broke, students promised they would raise $100 per minute of hateful protesting for The Trevor Project, a suicide prevention organization for LGBT youth. They have already raised more than five times that amount — more than $25,000. (Check here for an updated total.)

Of course, there’s no telling whether Westboro will make it to their own protest. In the past year, the group has promised to picket the funerals of shooting victims in Aurora, Tucson, and Newtown, as well as that of Aaron Swartz, but never showed up.

Vassar officials have already released a statement essentially saying they aren’t afraid of Westboro, according to the student newspaper, the Miscellany News:

“The Vassar community is so creative and intelligent, and I look forward to working with students and staff to figure out a response that shows the strength and inclusiveness of our community,” wrote Assistant Director for Campus Life Judy Jarvis in an emailed statement.

To top it all off, BuzzFeed’s compiled a great list of student responses on social media via 22 Reactions to Westboro Baptist Church’s Plan to Picket “Ivy League Whorehouse” Vassar College.

Highlights include “SMITE ME JESUS! SMITE ME HARD!” and “I am trying to choose between a Satan costume and being naked. Please advise.”

Right there with you. But in all seriousness, major props to Vassar students for turning this into a huge success for The Trevor Project.

About Camille Beredjick

Camille is a twentysomething working in the LGBT nonprofit industry. She runs an LGBT news blog at

  • Cat’s Staff

    How about a “WBC Apostate Fund” for defectors, that can quickly give out small amounts to help a person get and then if they have show themselves to have changed their ways it could give out larger amounts to help people get settled into a new life. If current WBC members knew that such a fund existed, they might be more likely to leave. I bet a lot of religious people would contribute who are embarrassed to have these people calling themselves Christians.

  • Gavitron

    Someone needs to project gay porn on the side of a building right in front of them.

  • gingerjet

    Step 1: Westboro releases a press release stating they will do “something”
    Step 2: Everyone goes nuts
    Step 3: Westboro shows up with a few people or doesn’t show up at all
    Step 4: Everyone gets warm fuzzies and gets all smug because they stood up to a few sad people holding signs. WooHoo!
    Step 5: Meanwhile – people are living in poverty, getting shot, being discriminated against, lack health insurance, etc and nothing was solved by steps 1 through 4
    Step 6: Repeat

    I’m glad you were able to raise money for a noble cause but I have a radical suggestion on to how to deal with WBC: ignore them. Try something actually worth while – volunteer your time at a soup kitchen. Be a big brother or big sister. Hell – read a magazine. It will do a hell of a lot more good than responding to these idiots every single time they breath in your direction.

    I’ll return you to your smug.

  • Michael

    From “Straight and Crooked Thinking” by Robert Thouless (published 1930)

    Dishonest debating trick #8

    “The argument that we should not make efforts against X which is admittedly evil because there is a worse evil Y against which our efforts should be directed.

    Dealt with by pointing out that this is a reason for making efforts to abolish Y, but no reason for not also making efforts to get rid of X.”

    [How did you know I was smug? I was keeping that a secret.]

  • Jonathan Figdor

    I’m an alumnus and Vassar isn’t an Ivy League school (we’re a Seven Sisters school instead).

  • Hemant Mehta

    Yep — That’s quoting WBC!

  • Jonathan Figdor

    I’m so surprised that WBC wasn’t aware of this. {sarc}

  • Jerome McCollom

    Ironically Westboro and Fred Phelps have sped up the effort for full equlity for gays and lesbians in the U.S., including in marriage. They are such a disgusting group that one look at them, people are thoroughly disgusted at the homophobia of the religious right-wing as a whole.

  • Drew M.

    “I’ll return you to your smug.”

    I’ve never seen unintentional irony hit critical mass before. Thank you for that.

  • Baby_Raptor

    I feel sorry for you. It seems your brain is so small that you’re only capable of caring about one thing at a time. That must really suck for you, dude.

  • Thackerie

    Spoken (well, typed) like a true WBC supporter.

    After all, it takes a mindset like Phelps to engage in such black-or-white thinking. Who says you can’t protest hatefulness and at the same time work to help people living in poverty, facing discrimination, etc.?

    And about this: “I’ll return you to your smug.” Great way to dazzle us with the brilliance of your post and convert us all to your way of thinking. NOT. That’s very Phelpsian of you, too.