David Von Drehle wrote an obituary for Fred Phelps, Sr. on March 20, 2014 for Time Magazine. The title of the obituary was Good Riddance, Fred Phelps. The subtitle was He was the kind of person no one wanted to be around. That is not exactly true. He had some avid followers that believed as he did.
The responses following Phelp's death have been fairly subdued. This is a sign of a lesson learned that hatred does not overcome hatred. Perhaps Fred Phelps, Jr. will be somewhat more Christian in leading the church's future activities. Jesus said to love God and love your neighbor as yourself. He didn't exclude anyone.
Fred Phelps, Sr., the founder of the Westboro KS church that carried anti-gay themes to the extremes, passed away on March 20, 2014. Many people are celebrating the departure of a man that caused a lot of pain to families of soldiers and others that experienced protests from Phelps’ church.
It was a twisted piece of logic to tie acceptance of LGBT people in the military to deaths of US soldiers based upon some Biblical scriptures. There was speculation that Phelps had a bad gay experience many years ago. Whatever the reason for Phelps anti-gay tirades, in the end they helped bring LGBT issues to the forefront and further out of the closet.
Two quotes from Phelps help define his view of God and his cynicism for the teachings of other ministers.
"Love? That's a story that 'kissy-poo ministers' tell misguided parishioners so they'll stuff the collection box on Sunday."
“You're not going to get nowhere with that slop that 'God loves you'. That's a diabolical lie from hell without biblical warrant.”
Spiritualists believe that all things that occur work for the Universal good. Many Buddhists believe that there is nothing that is either purely good or purely evil. Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church galvanized people that supported those being picketed. These people included those that gave patriotic support to the fallen soldiers, and LGBT people that were protesting the anti-gay message of Phelps and his church followers.
As a side effect of protesting together, people that might not have taken a strong stand on LGBT issues found that the LGBT people protesting with them were good people, too. The LGBT people found that those that were supporting the soldiers were also honest and caring people. Two diverse groups of people were united by the hatefulness of Phelps and his followers.
Jesus said to love God and love your neighbor as yourself. This statement doesn’t allow for loving people like us, and hating those people of other races, colors, sexual preferences, or religions. There is a growing acceptance by people of all faiths to coexist. This acceptance allows persons of strong and narrow beliefs to continue in their beliefs while those that are more tolerant can ignore their differences and embrace their common humanity.
Fred Phelps, Sr. is now going through his life review. He will experience the emotions of the family members, those that died in the service, and everyone that he encountered. Fred Phelps, Sr. will understand how his hatred also created love and goodness. Spiritualists believe that no person is ever, ever beyond redemption. May he rest in peace. Thank you, Fred Phelps, Sr. for the good things you helped happen. We forgive you for the pain you caused while suffering your own pain on earth. We pray that Fred Phelps, Jr. does not follow so closely in your footsteps.