April 9, 2010
Members of the Westboro Baptist Church made their way to Blacksburg to protest against Virginia Tech.
They said they believe students who attend Virginia Tech engage in sinful activities. They also said that Morgan Harrington, the 20-year-old student whose body was found in Albemarle County months after she disappeared in Charlottesville, deserved to die. They said her behavior and dress led to her murder.
At 1 p.m. Friday, members of the church delivered their message with signs and chants at three different locations: outside a Jewish community center, along Main Street and in front of Blacksburg Middle School.
Blacksburg Police had extra officers on hand in case things took a turn for the worst.
One protester said Morgan's death was a curse from God and that events like that don't happen at random.
Members of the church were met by a group of counter-protesters, many holding signs. One read "God hates clams," using humor to dismiss the message from the Kansas group.
Morgan's father, Dan Harrington, was reportedly in attendance at today's protests. Her mother, Gil, is on a service trip in Africa for the groundbreaking ceremony of a medical school wing dedicated to Morgan.
In response to Friday afternoon's protest, the Harringtons issued a statement calling the church a "group of domestic terrorists."