Balancing Blessings

Fred Phelps Is dead and we will not dance on his grave – George Takei

By , Communities Digital News

Fred Phelps dies - Image by Sébastien Barré for Flickr - http://www.flickr.com/photos/altuwa/
Fred Phelps dies - Image by Sébastien Barré for Flickr - http://www.flickr.com/photos/altuwa/

ANDALUSIA, Alabama, MARCH 23, 2014 – So, Fred Phelps, founder of the notorious Westboro Baptist Church, is dead. A couple of days before his death, one of his sons put out a release stating that he was “on the edge of death” and in hospice care. That’s all it took for the internet to absolutely explode with reaction. The calls to picket his impending funeral were both swift and expected. The cries of “Good Riddance!” were loud and abundant. It’s not hard to imagine these reactions; to be fair, most of us probably shared these or similar sentiments. But there, off in the distance, from the quiet perch of his laptop, sat the Voice of Reason.

In this particular iteration, it was George Takei.

In response to the news that Phelps was near death, Takei took to Facebook and said to all 4.5 million of his fans:

“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.”  Two days later, when the end for Phelps came, Takei again took to Facebook, stating, “Today, Mr. Phelps may have learned that God, in fact, hates no one. Vicious and hate-filled as he was, may his soul find the kind of peace through death that was so plainly elusive during his life.”

 

If ever there were a test of someone’s grace, Fred Phelps and his church (term very loosely applied) is it.

For those who don’t know, the Westboro Baptist Church was basically a front for pastor Fred Phelps and his family’s tirades against, well, everyone. The church comprises around a hundred members, nearly all of them related either by blood or through marriage. They are infamous for picketing soldiers’ funerals and the funerals of homosexuals, along with any museum opening or parade or whatever else that happens to pique their interest at the moment.

They carry signs that read, “God Hates Fags,” “Pray For Dead Soldiers,” “Thank God For AIDS,” and other classless and hate-filled slogans. And they do it all under the banner of God. Again, this church’s mere existence is truly a test of our collective grace.

During the lead-up to Phelps’s death, so many of us failed that test of grace, and failed it with such blazing irony, that it’s hard not to see the humor in it.

Phelps is a bad guy. He’s just the worst; that we can all agree on. The reason he’s so bad is because he is so full of hate, it practically oozes from his pores. It’s on display all day every day, and it is the defining characteristic of the man and of his organization.

His actions were deplorable; specifically, the act of accosting people who are grieving a loved one with mocking and odious picket signs driving us to disgust. Therefore, the simple idea that any of us would want to do the same to his family in their time of grief is ill-advised, at best.

So let’s all collectively take a deep breath, and calm down. Yes, there is joy to be had in the fact that Phelps can no longer torture people through his messages of hate. But for us to revel in that puts us right down in the gutter with him.

Instead, let’s celebrate the opportunity we have to love one another, especially when it’s the hardest thing to do.

Remember, the object of the game is to love your neighbor –even your cranky, intolerant, backward, insane-with-rage neighbor. We should all take a cue from Mr. Takei, and while we find joy in the fact that Phelps can no longer hurt anyone, we should pray for the peace that so clearly eluded him during his misguided, but loudly-lived, life.



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Jenny Jordan

Jenny Rhea Jordan has gone down many vocational paths over the past decade. She has been a singer, a special education teacher, an alligator park show speaker, a day care assessor, and a writer, to name a few. Jenny was raised in Nashville, but grew up in Louisiana, and now resides happily as a round peg in Lower Alabama. She is a wife, mother, baker, writer, crime documentary addict, beach lover, and seeker of calm, in no particular order. Jenny also writes recipes for a local health food store in her adopted home of Andalusia, Alabama.

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  • SoccerJoe

    Very well put Mr. Takei and Ms. Jordan. Let us all show that love wins over hate through our own actions. It takes a large collective of individual choices to make the world a better place. May we all be the best version of ourselves, especially when dealing with those that seem easiest to judge.

  • Anonymous

    Very cool.

  • Carolyn Wills

    OH PLEASE, I FOR ONE AM GLAD HE’S DEAD.

  • George Kenderdine

    Please Let it go, Let the hate go away and Pray for his sole. We are not the one to judge.
    Teach Love and forgiveness for those are the words of Jesus.

    • JukeBox1

      what’s wrong with his foot?

      • Lucifer

        lol

      • STFUTWIT

        Is that what killed him……foot rot?

    • WARIII

      It is to late to pray for his soul. Yes Jesus taught love and forgiveness. He also taught that you will be known by your fruits.

  • Lawrence Little

    Very gracious.

  • Harold Conner

    Jesus Christ is the righteous Judge!

  • leewacker

    Well, isn’t that nice of George Takei to say such nice things about an evil person! YET!
    He cannot find it in his “heart” to understand why Christians might like to practice their religion without vile comments from those who have turned their backs on every god ever thought of—and see only each other as being so perfect!
    This seems to be the gay lifestyle, “We are perfect, and no one else is!”
    Yep, I’ll get some bad comments on this, but show me why I should be nice to someone who would not allow others to practice their own beliefs?

    • ck1978

      That was very graceful of him, but he still sucks because of his views on gun control.

    • Pam

      Because Jesus would. He was vilified and questioned by his own for seeking out the sinners. He did that because those were the ones that need healing the most. Disagree with the sin but love the sinner.

      • Jenny Rhea Jordan

        Best. Answer. Ever. Phelps absolutely deserves all tne wrath we can throw at him. But I don’t think we were put here to do unto others as they deserve.

        It’s that whole “Love Thy Neighbor” thing, and man is it tough sometimes.

        I don’t get it right all the time, and folks like Phelps really test my abilities. It’s certainly one of the harder parts of my great Christian adventure.

        Well said, Pam. Thanks.

    • zuzu_petals

      I have seen joyous, morose, partying, hard-working, lazy, somber, cranky, easy going, even occasionally mean gay folks…but I have NEVER heard of, nor have I ever met a single person of the LGBT persuasion who thought they were ‘perfect’; or, if they were thusly narcissistic, it was because they were egomaniacal and not because they were gay. They would have been just as obnoxious if straight.
      Now, that said, when it comes to those who have turned their “backs on every god ever thought of” (and, on the fer real side…don’t you, if you are a believer, turn YOUR back on all gods but YOUR OWN as ALL believers do, by definition?) it is very true, that, just as believers have an annoying way of communicating their surety that they are correct and the rest are wrong, we too, actually often think we are correct and others are wrong. That is what it means to have a belief or an opinion or a notion about how things are. You think you are correct and other notions are not. Otherwise one would believe or think or opine differently.
      In what fashion have your beliefs, or those of others, been thwarted by gay folks or atheists? Have you been denied access to jobs? To schools? To funding of any sort due to your beliefs? Have you been beaten or humiliated or thrown out of your parents homes due to this “not being allowed to practice your beliefs”?
      Oh, you want to have and practice your beliefs without disapproval by those you do not approve of? Hmmmm….so sad. I do not get to be me, you do not get to be you without the risk that somewhere someone will not like it or think you are weird for it. This is why it takes, sometimes, great courage to be who we are in this world.
      Let us all strive to honor that courage, that struggle, that spirit in each of us.
      It is what unites us dispite all our vast differences…and can outweigh each of our trespasses against the other.

    • NotUndecided

      What’s “the gay lifestyle?”

  • Pam

    That indeed was a gracious statement from Mr Takei. He is right, God loves all his children.

  • DeborahMcClainStrole

    In having a personal relationship with God and even Divine Intervention more than once in my life I have become more spiritual than “religious”. It is my heartfelt opinion that those who mock God’s true love of all will suffer by being separated from him after death has come. I can’t imagine a more stabbing pain than being separated from God, and that is my vision of Hell, not the hellfire and brimstone that was written in scripture by “men” who were influenced by their lives and cultures at the times they were inspired to write the gospel. JMHO. My only faith is that I have suffered enough in this life to be rewarded in Heaven by being taken in his realm of pure Joy and boundless love. I fear (but don’t judge) that is the fate of the self proclaimed judge of all, Fred Phelps. I truly believe that what we do on earth will be judged and we will suffer a separation from God and the everlasting Joy by joining with him. I could of course be all wrong. I do not know it all I freely admit, it is only what I believe and hope my suffering on this earth in this life has earned me a place closer to God.

    • texan

      We are saved by grace and nothing else.Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith;It is the gift of God: 9. Not of works lest any man should boast. There are many like Phelps on this planet.He was an opportunist.Only God knows this mans heart,and has judged him accordingly.Be sad for him instead of joyful in his passing.Hell is not to be wished upon ,not even to the worst of humanity.separation from God is the true torment one faces in hell.But do not undermine the pits of hell.They are real and are for an eternity. Jesus Christ died for all,and everyone has the opportunity for salvation.Rejecting Christ and his laws is ones own choice.Praying for the dead is futile.There is no rest in hell.In heaven one doesn’t have to rest.There is much joy and worship for God in heaven.Peace be with you.

  • George

    Good riddance to the shameful piece of shot

  • Corey Kurisu

    While I do not agree with George Takei’s lifestyle, I am not entitled to judge. It was Jesus himself who said “let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” I am a sinner. I try not to be, but I am. I am unfit to judge. This has taught me a valuable lesson in my walk with Jesus. I have successfully opened the door to discussion and eventual salvation to those who hated Him for the angry hateful words of those who proclaim Him. We as Christians in our desire to please Him too often direct our hatred of sin towards the sinner. We should not as we are also commanded to hate sin not sinners. Besides, as I know there was only one person to live free of sin Jesus, none of us are fit to be judge on this Earth.

    • gary t

      …And who asked you whether you “approve” of anyone’s lifestyle? It is none of your business. I don’t approve of you being delusional, but I’ll keep my opinion to myself. Ooops!

      • Corey Kurisu

        Either your ignorance or lack of grasp on the English language is showing. I did not use the word approve as approval is not mine to grant or deny. I said agree. The reason I disagree is twofold. It is not natural. It also leaves one open to a lifetime of struggle to fit in. I have a half brother who is gay and have seen the struggles he has dealt with. I know it is not a choice but I know he chooses to not draw attention to it as it makes him a target for bigotry. Whether you believe it or not, I am supportive of gay people being treated as equals. I do not support the philosophy that it is how we should be. You can take your activism and remember this, you will find far more support when you listen to others instead of making noise. You sir are no better than Mr. Phelps.

        • solomru

          As to your declaration that homosexuality is not “natural,” I must disagree. It occurs in nature quite often. Animals form same-sex relationships, many of them monogamous and long lasting. How more natural can it be? There is a documentary about it on youtube. You can watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL1004DFD016C9C040

      • libsbite

        No one cares

  • Barry Penders

    Phelps was a Lawyer. He was a Liberal. Non Liberals need to realize this.

  • ourloney .

    Mr Phelps was a smart man, He knew the truth from day one. He’ll have had plenty of time in his last weeks to have cried the sinners prayer and ‘get right’ with the one who died for him. The Lord will have forgiven him….unless his spirit had quit striving for Fred!…Now thats a sadder scenario…either way, I do not have the grace…yet…to forgive him nor any of his reprobate family, for the grief they have caused at soldiers funerals et al!. End of!

  • De

    Rev. Jeremiah Wright was Obama and Ophra’s paster. He might learn from this. Wright was the rev thar preached, ‘Damn America and whites should be killed.’

  • Hosea4:6

    The truth is God does hate and the bible is clear on that. WE are not to support homosexuality anymore than we are to tattoo our bodies. Thus we are to follow His commands and laws as he ordained and that is not passing judgment or hating. The westboro church has done an awful job at upholding His laws not because they do not want to but because of how they choose to. NO Christian and NO Christian church should support homosexuality and it is those who do that hate good thus God. God hates easu and edom. God hates cain and all of the descendants of all three blood lines. The BIBLE says so. He also mentions homosexuality 11 times and says it is better to rape and murder a virgin than it is to participate in such acts. Our ways and our thoughts are not His and it is not our place to question what HE commands. We are simply not to uphold it, support it or participate in it. To rejoice in this mans death and to say he is going to hell is passing the same judgment that he was accused of and truly hateful. I would not support or join their church but I do not believe he was being hateful he just choose to uphold the bible in a manner that was rejected, not well done and had a foolish woman doing speaking that was and is as stupid as a brick.

    • NotUndecided

      The truth is, Mr. Phelps is dead. That’s what the article was about.

  • Tim Williams

    Thank you for the article. I am a conservative Christian and I agree wholeheartedly with this article. God hates evil, but never people. Even conservative Christians who disagree about homosexuality should be able to agree with love and being gracious. It is ironic and sad that many who disagreed with Phelps end up using his type of rhetoric. Kudos to George Takei, what a class act. He is now not only the King of the internet, but the Conscience of the internet, too. I pray that all those that have been hurt by Phelps can find healing. I especially pray for the remaining members of his church and his family, that they could find peace, truth, and love, eschew hate, and have fulfilling, loving lives.

  • Carrie Geren Scoggins

    I hate that Mr. Phelps was used by Democrat liberals to demonize Christianity, and their tenants of Romans chap 1 citing homosexuality as the end result of having left God, and then been “given over to a reprobate mind,” which the real Christian theology is that even though this is sin, IT IS HATE THE SIN, BUT LOVE THE SINNER, and wishing all would repent, as the Bible says God “wishes all to repent,” as scripture says that all would come to the knowledge of God. I hate that the Democrat gay activists used Pelp’s harsh tone to make it appear that anyone that believes Romans chap 1 is a hater, and that it is hate, which of course blasphemes the Word Of God. The use of this attempt to falsely accuse the Bible, and Christians that believe in all the Bible such as Romans chap 1, of being full of “hate,” caused a whole new form of hater, the Christian haters. Those that bash Christians and practice anti Christian hate, and discriminate against the Bible and it’s tenants, and those that follow the Bible. In the end those using Phelps to stir up the hate against the Christians and the Bible turned out to be the biggest haters of all.

    Carrie Geren Scoggins Political Newsletter

    • JonathanMaddox

      Indeed! Phelps has done more than any public intellectual atheist to drive people away from conservative religion.

  • J Arnold

    Great post on Grace.

  • Missy Mistaken

    What would have been awesome is to have a bunch of drag queens and members of the gay community show up with signs that say, “God loves you”. Stronger statement. Love never fails.

  • James Brady

    I think Mr. Phelps was taking things too far. Picking funerals, how did he think that was going to accomplish anything? While I don’t agree with gays, I can’t convince them to change by holding a sign that I hate them. If I tell them God hates them they will feel there is no use to try to change. While God hates their sins he loves them enough to reach out for them if they will accept him.

  • Emma Brown

    God does not want us to judge UNJUSTLY…I think there are many occasions in which we are REQUIRED to “judge” else how are we to keep from making mistakes over and over.. As far as Phelps goes, he can reach Heaven IF he repented and asked for forgiveness before he died…if he didn’t, I’m afraid he is doomed to an eternity of Hell in the same place that Satan resides….

  • 1AmericanKat

    well, i am not going to pretend to be sad at his passing. i totally hope his mind could recognize the pain he cause many people before he passed on. i hope his memory went over every detail of that pain he caused to the people who lost loved ones that he spewed hatred on. there is no excuse for what he did, i dont hate him, i just dont regret his passing

  • Kathy

    Just makes me like George Takei even more

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