Fred Phelps is dead. This is nothing to celebrate and nothing to protest. Yes, he headed one of the most homophobic churches of our time. His family is one of the most hated in America; possibly the world.
We could picket Phelps’ funeral as suggested by many. Or we could take the higher road and do nothing.
I am friends with Nate Phelps and understand part of his anguish. My own father died a few weeks back. It is different with him. Too many people were hurt by his father and, like Nate, I understand why people are wanting to “return the favor.” From the Facebook pages that have cropped up to videos on YouTube, many are calling for a protest of Phelps’ funeral. I say no.
As citizens of this great nation, we saw what religious fanaticism can do. We will see other churches strike out against the LGBT community in their own ways. The death of one leader does not prevent the rise of another and someone will take Phelps’ place. We can continue Fred Phelps’ legacy of anger and hatred or we can let it die a natural death with his burial.
You know that the Westboro Baptist Church will not die with Fred’s death. They excommunicated Fred because he wanted to be more “loving” towards other church members. They are becoming more radical and should be the focus of our fight for equality.
I am asking you to apply your energy to something positive, to the advancement of marriage equality for the LGBT community. To advocate for the continued removal of laws and state constitution amendments that the court have said are a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment and, most probably, the First.
Let’s show that peace and love can win over conflict and hatred. Let Fred Phelps rest in peace and work diligently to undo the wrong he and the Westboro Baptist Church inflicted on the land.