Turn the other cheek: Phelps of Westboro hate group dead and buried alone

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1919
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/

WASHINGTON, March 21, 2014 – Fred Phelps, the leader of Westboro Baptist Church, America’s goofiest hate group, died yesterday. Almost immediately after his death, his family announced there would be no funeral for Phelps. 

Phelps, 84, was a disbarred lawyer, a self-proclaimed Baptist preacher and generally an itinerant irritant.

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/

Phelp’s church consisted mostly of family members. More precisely, it consisted of those remaining family members who had not been excommunicated from the church . The claim to fame for the Westboro Baptist Church and Fred Phelps was picketing funerals.

Westboro Baptist and the Phelps family would picket the funerals of well-known people as well as the funerals of military members killed in action. They would use the emotionally raw time to rant about their beliefs that God was punishing America for not renouncing homosexuality.


That is why there will be no funeral for the man whose life was defined by hate. If Phelps were to have a funeral, it would undoubtedly be swamped by those who wanted a little payback for all of the times Phelps and his clan picketed funerals of real Americans.

But that is not what we should do. It is what Fred Phelps would do.

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/

Topeka Kansas was the home base for Fred Phelps and his merry band of picketers. Perhaps some people located near Topeka should organize a proper memorial service for Fred Phelps. Someone should reserve a park some where in Topeka, hopefully on a pleasant spring day.

Let American flags fly. Let gay pride flags fly. Let military flags fly. People should bring signs. The signs should say things like, “We forgive Fred Phelps.” “America forgives Fred Phelps.”

If some relatives of fallen soldiers whose funerals were picketed by Westboro were willing, they should come and simply say they forgive Fred Phelps and Westboro Baptist church for what they did. Some would say this is a noble gesture, calling to our higher angels.

Yes.  It would be that. And yes, nothing could be further from the truth.

The few remaining followers of Westboro Baptist would love nothing more than an angry mob protesting their late leader. They would love nothing more than a final angry clash. A final Götterdämmerung for their little cult.

The truth is, such a memorial would drive them bat guano crazy. It would consign them to the irrelevant and forgotten. That is the kind of memorial that they could not cope with. It is outside their experience and their understanding. Battle hate with love.  Seclusion with inclusion.

Most cults like Westboro Baptist seldom outlive their creator. Fred Phelps is gone and he may be now finding heaven to be a much different place than he expected. He may find it to be a lot warmer than he thought it would be.

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Images courtesy of Sébastien Barré for Flickr – http://www.flickr.com/photos/altuwa/  Images taken @ Albany, New York, US, March 2009.  DigiNews is showing picture of people that promoted love, not the hateful images of the Westboro Church, its founder or followers.

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Judson Phillips is the founder of Tea Party Nation, one of the largest Tea Party Groups in the country and the number one national tea party site on the Internet. A lawyer by profession, Judson has been involved in politics since his teens. “Ronald Reagan inspired me,” he says. Judson became involved in the Tea Party movement in February 2009 after hearing Rick Santelli’s rant on CNBC. “I heard there was going to be a Tea Party in Chicago inspired by Santelli, but didn’t know if anyone was doing a rally in Nashville where I was based. Finally I emailed Michelle Malkin and asked her if there was a Tea Party in Nashville. Malkin sent an email back saying, ‘No, why don’t you organize one?’ I did.” The first Tea Party in Nashville was held late February 2009 which drew a crowd of about 600. Judson then organized the Tax Day Tea Party in Nashville, which drew over 10,000 people into downtown. It was at this time that Tea Party Nation was formed. Later that year, Judson decided to bring activists from across the country together, so he organized the first National Tea Party Convention in February 2010, which featured Alaska’s former Governor and Republican Vice Presidential Nominee, Sarah Palin as it’s keynote speaker. He currently manages the Tea Party Nation website, writes several daily columns and is working on more projects than any one person should. He is a frequent guest on cable and broadcast news shows, including on Fox, MSNBC, CNN and others.
  • michael

    The hate that Phelps embraced is going nowhere. If American Christian conservatives bumped into Jesus somewhere and listened to him for five minutes, they would call him a “lib” and punch him in the face. Phelps’ “church” may have generated mostly hatred for itself, but just as with racists, there are many, many people who, at least quietly, support their agenda of hatred and intolerance. The very existence of groups like Westboro is a symptom of America’s right-wing culture.

    • The problem with hate is that it is not just right-wing, there are more then enough left-wing groups that are pretty hateful. America has brainwashed it’s people in to thinking everything is left or right, red or blue, democrat or republican and it is not. These left and right wing nuts then use their hate for one another and people that do not agree with them to rip this country apart.

      • Marjorie Simmonds

        A smart troll!!!! A country divided is always an advantage to the powerful entities that rule our country….certainly agree!!!

    • NYCMom

      Really? Then explain the KKK? it was around before your boogeyman right wing culture.
      Nice repeat of a Liberal Progressive Anti 1st, 2nd, 4th & 14th Amendment sound bite though. Congrats.

    • Bill Gregg

      “The very existence of groups like Westboro is a symptom of America’s right-wing culture.”

      As a Democrat, Phelps ran for Governor in the 1990, 1994, and 1998 primaries, and for the U.S. Senate in 1992. He supported Al Gore during the 1988 primaries, and even hosted a fund-raiser for Gore at the Phelps’ home.

    • danapointdad

      oh my goodness, you are the epitome of the whole problem….

      divisiveness, and lunacy is your stock in trade… your post is senseless and hateful.

    • Guest

      And a sign of things to come that Revelations reveals will happen at the end.

    • Sharon

      Right-wing culture? You know nothing…totally freakin’ clueless!
      Please read some history before you assume anything.

    • manuel

      you are obviously an idiot. if i know what right wing is supposed to be(nazis – kkk ) it’s numbers are so small in the u.s. that they are insignificant.

  • Cog

    Just another hate filled democrat.

    • and how is that different then the hate filled republicans that support his views?

      • William Fuzi

        no one supported his views.

        • gay marriage bans, kind of sums that one up…

          • William Fuzi

            Nice absolutes, and generalizations. Could have never seen that coming. Here let me try a generalization; all Liberals are communists. How’s that?

          • yeah and no one supported his views, love to be able to see the world though your eyes…. nice and foggy.

      • danapointdad

        same post for you, what the hell does politics have to do with this particular lunacy???

        • You obviously missed the point, that is why I asked him what I did. There was no point to his comment. Trolls like him come in and say the most hateful thing their small minds can come up with. Right now it is two of the same coin, the ones who cry democrats/liberals/left-wingers/etc. suck and the ones that cry republicans/conservatives/right-wingers/etc. suck but it is this kind of blindness BS that both spew to keep people blind to that fact that being totally right or totally left in the end is closed minded and those in the middle are not undecided or fence sitters but are in the middle because they are open minded to both liberal and conservative views.

    • NYCMom

      There is hate and intolerance on both sides Del….and that kind of rhetoric is just plain unhelpful. I will give an Amen that Phelps is dead and an Hallelujiah and I will say a prayer for his soul because I prefer to really follow the teachings of Christ and love one another as Christ loved us. I Hope he found salvation…I won’t be following his example as I seek it. Somehow I don’t trust his methods…they just seem so anti-Christ.

    • danapointdad

      what the hell does politics have to do with this particular lunacy???

  • Marjorie Simmonds

    Hate is hate and it doesn’t exclude any particular group…as humans we are all capable of such things….The article of forgiveness is refreshing and certainly the best way to handle such hatred.

  • Cheryle Dean

    Kill them with kindness….

  • ski

    I wouldn’t call it hate, but a strong belief of what was right and wrong.
    His methods were on the fringes of common decent behavior and most of us disagree with it, but that was his right.
    To me I was very happy with the demonstrations at the funerals and his disrespect of the family and the dead.

  • Kim Howell Hargrove

    It is not for us to judge but show forgiveness when wronged. “Vengeance is mine”, saith the Lord. And it is true that the people left of the Westboro Baptist would not know how to handle kindness, forgiveness, and caring shown by people who truly know the Lord. Who knows maybe a few of them could actually find their way back to the right path if that happened. I will say I hope this means the meanness and degrading pickets especially at our fallen soldiers funerals will finally stop!

    • Justmeinmaryland

      It won’t stop with Fred’s death. His daughter, Shirley Phelps-Roper is the leader now. She has been since Freds been sick. She has just as much hatred in her heart as her father did. It will continue until the last… the very last of the Phelps’ are gone. And that won’t be for a long, long time. 🙁

      • Kim Howell Hargrove

        Yeah but giving her father the opposite of what he and she gave and gives will go a long way to getting to them. It may make the hatred grow but in the end it will be her loss. If everyone wronged goes and does the same to his memorial then they or we are stooping to their level. Rise above that and show them that their hatred only makes our love and goodness grow. That they are not making a dent in how the real world feels all they are doing is making themselves look slightly stupid and beneath the people they are hurting, And as Jesus said, “Father them forgive them for they know not what they do”

  • Michael Superczynski

    And now he’s got some explaining to do. May God forgive him.

  • irri

    The whole group is a cowardice in death as he was in life! I hope they cremated him and someone can set him in a dresser in the spare bedroom, cuz there are those who’d dig his body up and drag it through the streets naked. Sadly no one would cry! What a pathetic old son of Satan!

  • fromthemomma

    Jesus said, “Father forgive them, they don’t know what they do.” If we claim to follow Him we should be asking Him the same thing. I’ve been to a few picketed funerals, I ride with the Patriot Guard and the families are already in enough pain.

  • Drew

    I’m sorry but its a little late to forgive…. Saint Paul denied his reservation at the pearly gates… Owell they say hell is the same temp all year around.

  • George Vreeland Hill

    Time to forget the man.
    He is not worth remembering.

    George Vreeland Hill