Westboro Baptist Church founder Fred Phelps made a life of calling his followers to hate and thought it was perfectly Christian to show up and picket funerals for war veterans and members of the LGBT community while holding signs that read, "God Hates Fags."
News that the father of hate is now in hospice has the internets abuz and some us looking in the mirror asking "Well, what about Phelps' funeral?" Phelps and his church have their own haters, understandably, but any call to picket Phelps' funeral is being tempered and perhaps his estranged son Nathan Phelps' recent Facebook post on his father's alleged ex-communication from the church has something to do with it:
March 15 at 9:15pm near Chestermere, Canada · .
I've learned that my father, Fred Phelps, Sr., pastor of the "God Hates Fags" Westboro Baptist Church, was ex-communicated from the "church" back in August of 2013. He is now on the edge of death at Midland Hospice house in Topeka, Kansas.
I'm not sure how I feel about this. Terribly ironic that his devotion to his god ends this way. Destroyed by the monster he made.
I feel sad for all the hurt he's caused so many. I feel sad for those who will lose the grandfather and father they loved. And I'm bitterly angry that my family is blocking the family members who left from seeing him, and saying their good-byes.
However, in the blog, The Gay Christian, discussion of Phelps' ex-communication really doesn't matter. Right now, perhaps what matters in the end is "What would a real Christian do?," because that just might be what we can agree on—Phelps' brand of Christianity in a new world of More Light or LGBT-welcoming churches couple with more and more states passing marriage equality laws was something we all knew from the start, it wasn't Christianity after all:
It would certainly be understandable if there were members of the LGBT community, as well as so many others, who felt inclined to picket the funeral of Fred Phelps. Though the weight of his actions and pickets has dissipated over the years, there was a time when his actions and leadership cause a tremendous amount of grief for an awful lot of people. It is my hope, however, that no one will descend to the level of hatred and pettiness that seemed to fuel the last decades of his life. We would only be harming our own souls, to carry out such a callous, immoral and emotionally void action. It is my prayer that in the last moments of his life, the Reverend is able to find peace and love, as he prepares to be humbled before his maker. The time for the hurt is ending. It is time to let the healing begin. Truly, the best way to avenge hurt inflicted by our enemies is to simply forgive them, and not allow them to have a stronghold in our hearts.
Rest in peace, Fred. I forgive you.