(No photo this week on the grounds that I couldn’t find a suitable quality photo of today’s subject NOT holding a sign with a homophobic slur and I refuse to post something like that. My apologies.)
On Wednesday of last week, former head of the Westboro Baptist Church Fred Phelps Sr. was announced dead.
Phelps’ reputation as one of the most hateful and bigoted people in American history responsible for creating what one BBC documentary dubbed ‘The Most Hated Family in America‘ can’t be ignored. Phelps’ legacy will be remembered by many for its lack of morals and its cruel anger.
That being said, it would be wrong to openly curse the dead. All souls and lives are precious; even ones as misguided as Phelps. It’s very easy to forget that stepping up on a public forum and crying ‘good riddance to bad rubbish’ would be just as tactless as the hate-filled slogans that his church uses when you are blinded by your own anger for ones past misdeeds.
Honestly, I – like the majority of people, I’m sure – was fully prepared to cheer for Phelps’ passing. But it took a man much better then me to remind me that hate breeds hate.
It was the words of great actor and gay rights figure George Takei that served as a guiding voice to set me straight when I read them in an article from Communities Digital News. His words were as follows:
“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.”
In the end, if there is a Heaven and Hell, I honestly hope as Takei does that Fred Phelps Sr.’s raging soul finds peace and enlightenment in the afterlife. I also hope that, unlikely as it my be given their recent activities, the surviving members of the church use this moment to see the error of their ways and learn to co-exist with all people of all walks of life.
As for the rest of us, regardless of your faith, let us act in a godly manner and forgive this soul for his crimes against a world that he hated so and pray for his family.
May we all finally learn, as Mr. Takei noted, “…God, in fact, hates no one.”