On Getting Even

As some of you may know Fred Phelps, the infamous (or famous, depending on your point of view) leader of Westboro Baptist Church died on Wednesday at the age of 84. And true to their reputation of face melting hypocrisy – the Westboro founder’s son then released a statement saying that anyone that tried to picket his father’s funeral would be sued. Except he didn’t say “anyone,” he went out of his way to say “fags.”

Any fags that wanna come out and protest my dad’s funeral better be ready for a lawsuit.

No fags better show up with signs thinking that they’re being clever either. Any fag caught protesting this great man’s funeral will get sued. This is their only warning so I won’t be repeating myself anytime in the near future

It also included this line:

Show the man some respect on his well-deserved journey into Heaven.

This guy (because really, who cares what his name is?) was careful not to use pronouns to describe “fags” in any way that might suggest that he sees them as actual people. A mindset of pure and total condemnation, hatred and bigotry – which are good words to describe Westboro and the beliefs they stand behind, which mostly have to do with hating gay people.

Westboro Baptist Church, based in Topeka, is about 40 members strong and they picket some place or event every day. Every day? Where are they getting this time? Who’s buying these sweatpants and poster boards?

Anyway, It would make sense to picket ol’ Fred’s funeral. ‘Take that, assholes, how do you like it? It’s a dose of your own medicine!’ Right? Well, although a vibrant and cross dressed protest would be delightful, I think it’s the wrong way to go. Instead, imagine a scenario where there are no blonde, perfectly groomed men on the outskirts of the funeral procession. Instead – there is no one.

Not because Fred Phelps or his followers deserve respect, but because it proves a more important point. It proves that the other side, the people who believe in equality and the support of love regardless of the participants respective genitalia, are better than Westboro. They are better than cruelty, and hatred and ugliness, so maybe the pitchforks and torches should take a backseat for this one. 

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One thought on “On Getting Even

  1. “I never understood why, when [the media asked him], ‘Why are you so against the homosexuals? Did you have a homosexual experience? Do you have homosexual tendencies?’ And he would get so mad, he would shut down. And he’d be like, ‘I can’t talk to this person anymore, they’re stupid.’ His reaction to that was stronger than any other question you can ask him.”

    This is an oft-quoted excerpt from a memoir by Lauren Drain, who was expelled from the WBC. There is a part of me that really wishes the full truth of that would come fully to light, just to confirm that Fred Phelps was driven by a measure of self-hate.

    But then I learned she wrote this at her Facebook page (I edit for brevity):

    “I pray that despite all the many families & people affected by the WBC, that they will not have vengeance in their heart, but rather pity…

    …Consider this, there are members still there, like my younger siblings, who can and will learn from experiencing compassion from others, not polarizing hate.

    Prove the WBC wrong. We all seek peace not vengeance.”

    I’m sure that speaks volumes– she also wrote about family ties being ripped by the church’s decisions (and those basically forbidden to make peace with the death); of course, she understands this personally.

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