The world heard the news of the passing of Fred Phelps and as expected, opinions were divided. To say the man left an impression is an understatement.
For those who don’t know, Fred Phelps is/was the founder of the Westboro Baptist Church. A minority based in Topeka Kansas, famous for picketing funerals of soldiers and homosexual individuals while singing and waving placards with hateful slogans such as “God hates fags” “Thank God for dead soldiers” and so forth. They have the description of the most hated family in America, and because of this and their attention seeking, their reputation has grown through social media over the years. People around the world watched, mouths agape, at various documentaries and interviews wondering if what they were seeing was real. These people were rejoicing at death & suffering. Ecstatic even. And what’s more, YOU were going to hell because you weren’t happy with them expressing their views. Views mind you, they believe God has taught in the bible and they are modern day prophets carrying his wishes to the world.
During the last few years of his life, one of his thirteen children, Shirley Phelps, became the face of the church, whose flock is made up almost completely by his family. She took the outrage and negativity and used it to continue to spread the hate. Appearing on talk shows and various documentaries both solicited and unsolicited, explaining why they are right and we all are going to hell. Members of the church in their dozens left, unable to tolerate the behaviors expected from their elders.
As for the man himself, he retreated into his church, made a few short online videos praising things such as the tragedies of the Australian bush fires because Australia is viewed as a “fag loving country” and the loss of homes and lives, both human and animal, were a God send.
I was raised a Catholic. Baptized and confirmed. I attended Catholic school during all my education, having to swallow what I very early on, perceived to be nonsense. So surprisingly, the WBC intrigued me greatly. I always enjoyed hearing religious folk banging on about their faith in my younger days. I always had an answer or a retort, or question for them to throw them off and enjoyed the banter. While watching the WBC and Fred Phelps, I began to wonder what I would say to these extremist, vile people, to make the banter happen to make myself feel better. It was a harmless fantasy. Until I realized something.
I was doing exactly what they wanted. I was playing their creepy little game and falling for their trick. The reason they are still on everyone’s lips is because they are filling us with their hate. They are succeeding, people. All the viscous attacks on innocent people are becoming worse because there is still interest in them. They are feeding off our hate for them.
I implore the world now, at the death of Fred Phelps to do the one thing that should be the hardest thing to do. Forget them. There is already plans to urinate on Phelps’s corpse and picket the funeral. How will that help the grieving mother of a soldier who still wakes up screaming, having dreamed of the arms of a son she will never hold again?
On their website announcing the death, WBC were ever so pleased that people are happy Fred Phelps has died, as the interest in them is again going to mount. More talk shows, more interviews, more MONEY they get.
You only hear sounds when you are listening. Darkness is only the absence of light. Hate is only the absence of love. Look to your friends, your loved ones. Care for each other and help one another. I do not believe you need to believe in one almighty God to be a good person. If heaven and God do exist and if they are as WBC describe them, then I’m glad I am going to hell.
It must be difficult to live a life with no freedom, no free will. If I thought they were worth it, I would pity them. But I dont. I ignore them.