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OpEd: Fred Phelps preached hate, but his death is no reason to celebrate

The passing of Fred Phelps was heralded across the internet as a day of rejoice, and in this writer's opinion, that was the wrong reaction we all should have had. Regardless of religious values, celebrating the death of a man who preached his interpretation of the word of God with his family is a morally repugnant action.

The Westboro Baptist Church, of which, Fred was key founder, has for a long time now picketed the funerals of fallen soldiers, amid other atrocities I don't think need to be mentioned to be remembered. Over the years, their actions have cost them the respect of the rest of the world, and created a barrier between themselves and common society. As social pariah, they never missed a step in chanting their hatred, but is it okay to retaliate now that the opportunity has so-called, presented itself?

Phelps and his family aren't without blame for what they've done, and what they will likely continue to do for generations if they don't change their perspective and try to adopt a system of beliefs that's more inherent of love and tolerance. However, if you really truly are against what they've done, then you know that the celebration of the death of anyone, even someone you deem "evil," is to become exactly the thing you claim to be against.

As George Takei put it when news reached his ears:

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."

The family in mourning perhaps has not earned a quiet end to the church's founder. Maybe it is justified to retaliate and "give them a taste of their own medicine," so-to-speak. But it would mean spreading more hatred in the world rather than trying to spread harmony.

In short, you must pay for everything in this life, and the Phelps family must realize there will be no condolences from the world at large for the passing of Fred Phelps, but before we take to the streets protesting his funeral, tracking them down to chant the same hatred they've sprung on the world, and attacking them the way they've attacked the rest of the world, we should take a moment to remember there is no justification for hatred. In these times, especially when the temptation to bring the people who've personally harmed us to see the error in their ways, we have a responsibility to be more morally upstanding in the wake of their death then they were in life, not less.

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