Everyone of my age loved Mr. Rogers growing up. My age being the same age of watching the Incredible Hulk and MASH on television. Simply, Fred Rogers is one of the greatest and most wonderful men that our nation has ever produced. Although I an atheist and he was a Christian, his Christianity was truly the Christianity that Christians say it is, though hardly ever is in fact.
He was a Christian minister and truly represented the best ideals of that religion. I could not possibly list in this column how great a man he was, because I wouldn't have room. For example, Mr. Rogers did not eat animals because he believed all living things should be treated with the utmost care.
Now, I wish to contrast Mr. Rogers with one most disgusting and hateful human beings that our nation has ever produced, the truly awful Fred Phelps. He is the man whose church is infamous for protesting at funerals that "God hates f-gs". Yeah, that guy. Simply this is a tale of two Freds and two ministers. They represent two completely different wings of Christianity.
Mr. Rogers truly living up to the best ideals in the bible and Phelps, the worst. Some state that Phelps is not a Christian, he is though. He represents the worst parts of the bible. The bible commands the death penalty for gay men (along with others) and Phelps is the closest thing we have in America today to someone who would throw a stone to put a man to death. In fact, he might do so if asked.
Now, how can one religion produce such two vastly different men? Well, partly religion is a representation of the person. If Fred Rogers had never heard of Christianity, he would still have been a great man. If Phelps never heard of Christianity he would likely still have been a horrible man. There is only so much culture can do in producing such widely different personalities.
Now, in one of those weird intersections in life, Fred Phelps protested at the funeral of Fred Rogers. (Yes, a supposedly good and just god took Rogers and not Phelps). He protested because Mr. Rogers was not anti-gay on his show. I don't know if Fred Rogers came to support marriage equality for gays (few people born in 1920 and who died a decade ago did) but he advocated tolerance and respect for gay men and women.
Fred Rogers was even once called evil by Fox News, for his inspiring young boys and girls to have self confidence in themselves by telling them they are unique and special, though I don't think Fox News has ever said anythig about Phelps being evil.
Now, Fred Rogers was ahead of his time and I hope the reader will forgive me for sullying up his name by putting Phelps in the same column. None of us can live up to the standard of Mr. Rogers, we can only hope to do as well as we can.