Fred Phelps, founder of the controversial Westboro Baptist Church, died on Wednesday night at the age of 84. As the Washington Post noted, not many will shed tears for him ("Dry eyes for Fred Phelps").
His 59-year-old Westboro Baptist Church, populated mostly by relatives and in-laws, gained notoriety -- nay, national infamy, when it picked the funerals of military personnel, saying that their deaths were the result of the U.S. treating homosexual people "too well." They also picketed, or threatened to picket, funerals of others, including Steve Jobs and nine-year-old girl, Christina-Taylor Green, whose death Phelps applauded in a YouTube video where he thanked God for the shootings.
Among the signs often seen at WBC picketing events, and these can be seen on their website, as well, are such things as “God hates f*gs.” “God is your enemy.” “God hates you.” “USA = f*g nation.” “F*gs die God laughs.” “Thank God for maimed soldiers.” “Pray for more dead soldiers.” “Thank God for dead soldiers.” “Thank God for IEDs.” “God killed your sons.”
The hate won't extend into his own funeral, it appears. At least not from George Takei, who played Sulu on "Star Trek" and is openly gay. On his Facebook page, he posted:
Today, Mr. Phelps may have learned that God, in fact, hates no one. Vicious and hate-filled as he was, may his soul find the kind of peace through death that was so plainly elusive during his life.
In a separate post, Takei added:
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.