PhelpsPosted: March 22, 2014
Earlier in the week, Fred Phelps, the head of the Westboro Baptist Church passed away. For those unaware of the WBC and their activities they were a small, cult-like “church” based in the States and mainly consists of the Phelps clan. They became notorious for their extremely homophobic views and tendency to behave like a bunch of utter c**ts.
The WBC would picket funerals of people who had died- victims of homophobic attacks, military funerals and a Mormon minister- basically anyone they felt had died as a punishment for things they disagreed with.
Phelps and his gang showed an utter disregard for the bereaved in every instance, displays of such dickery that it couldn’t help boil the blood of anybody who had a shred of compassion or basic decency. Louis Theroux did a documentary about the family, which dubbed them “the most hated family in America”, and probably wasn’t being hyperbolic.
Anyway, since becoming aware of their existence they’ve been placed in my mental list of people I loathe and their sporadic appearances in the media have fired me up.
With Phelps’ death there is a temptation to call for picketing his funeral or some display of disrespect or joy.
This would be wrong.
To do this would be to lower ourselves to their level, to exhibit the same lack of compassion and decency that the WBC showed whenever they invaded and exploited the grief of others. We must not relish demise and should try to feel some sympathy for his family, regardless of how odious we find them and their beliefs.
They have lost a loved one, and should be allowed the time and peace to grieve, despite them depriving others of those things.
Two wrongs don’t make a right, and this is an opportunity for the world, particularly those groups that the WBC targeted and hated, to show that we have more decorum than that. That we will not lower ourselves to their practices.
George Takei, probably said it better than I have when he posted on Facebook, showing admirable class:
I take no solace or joy in this man’s passing. We will not dance upon his grave, nor stand vigil at his funeral holding “God Hates Freds” signs, tempting as it may be.
He was a tormented soul, who tormented so many. Hate never wins out in the end. It instead goes always to its lonely, dusty end.
We should allow the Phelps family to grieve, and then forget Fred Phelps, and his life.
The WBC have less than 100 members, many being members of Phelps’ own family. In recent years many have left the family and their beliefs, understanding that the hatred of the group was unhealthy and wrong. With the loss of their leader I can but hope that more see the light and move out into the world, throwing off the hate the family reveled in.
In time the WBC will fall from memory, and be consigned to our history books as a regrettable and shameful example of man’s worst features. Giving hope that this will happen was the reaction online, where many seemed to not know who Phelps was, confusing him with Olympic legend Michael Phelps.
Fred Phelps will not impact on the world, and hopefully nobody will appear to take his place.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.