Fred Phelps: GOOD RIDDANCE!
By Kent Manthie
Well, finally, someone most people wanted to see go, went. While too often we read in the newspaper or see on TV, that so-and-so has died and it’s usually some brilliant mind who has all-too-tragically, died, usually far too young, not to say that it’s a shame when we lose any great person who’s work or presence has filled many with pleasure, pedantry, glamour, great music and many other wonderful qualities.
But on Thursday, March 20, it was a different story. Fred Phelps, a guy whose name you may not instantly recognize was a particularly awful, disgusting useless person who is only known to many due to his hate-filled work with an organization he called “Westboro Baptist Church” died. He was 84.
It may be hard to believe but this monster actually had a law degree he got in 1964 from Washburn University, in Topeka, Kansas, where he settled in 1955. After doing some silly missionary work, Phelps settled down in Kansas and practiced law, focusing on civil rights!!! According to ABC News, in 1979, “the Kansas Supreme Court stripped him of his license to practice in state courts, concluding he’d made false statements in court documents and “showed little regard” for professional ethics. He called the court corrupt and insisted he saw its action as a badge of honor. He later agreed to stop practicing in federal court, too.” The so-called church, Westboro, has remained a small, far-out sect, with only about 100 members – mostly related to Phelps, the father of 13.
So, why is such great news that this evil swine is dead? Well, Westboro “Baptist Church” is the group that’s been going around to funerals of recently deceased gay men, purposely targeting soldiers from the military, having been killed in either the war in Iraq or the one in Afghanistan. This group of bigots and tiny minds, would show up at the dead, gay, young men’s funerals and disrupt them by standing just outside the cemetery gates with handmade placards that read “God Hates Fags!” and similarly vile slurs.
One wonders why it is that, even though these bastards had the right to say what they wanted and to have these demonstrations as is mandated in the first amendment to our US Constitution; something which I would never for a minute want changed for any reason. I mean, that is what “free speech” is all about – the freedom to say the most unpopular and the most seemingly outrageous things. That’s why it was constitutional for the “American Nazi Party” to have their march in Skokie, IL some years ago, why the internet abounds with all the crazy, nutty things on it.
I’m sure that many people who drove by these fanatics when they were smearing the recently deceased soldiers who happened to be gay, had the inclination to throw rocks at them or get a gun and shoot as many as possible – especially the old skeletal, human scarecrow, Phelps. But of course, that wouldn’t have gotten them very far. With all the police presence that would obviously be there, anyone who did that would be arrested right away and while the majority of people in the country would cheer this person on, they would still, most likely, be convicted of assault or murder.
Westboro “Baptist” Church (if any other actual Baptist churches felt any sympathy for these scum then they, equally, deserve our scorn). Anyone who thinks that Phelps and his crew of goons represented anything close to Christianity obviously doesn’t know the first thing about it. Any “Christ-like” figure would never have approved of this type of behavior. Wasn’t one of Jesus’s famous sayings “love thine enemies” – well, Phelps & co. never even knew the innocent dead people they maligned and viciously attacked with their hateful slogans, so technically they weren’t “enemies”, therefore this “Church” was is about as far from Christianity as one can get.
They first gained notoriety back in 1998, when Matthew Shepard was murdered in Wyoming, for what many, for a long time, until relatively recently, thought was a “hate crime”, that he was killed for being gay, when, in fact, contrary to what his killer, Aaron McKinney claimed at his trial, he and Shepard were well acquainted. The other boy who was involved did not actually know Shepard, but McKinney & Shepard had a history of using and selling methamphetamine and apparently, the two had even had “intimate relations” of their own. So Aaron McKinney lied through his teeth when he said he killed Matthew because Shepard had “made advances” toward him either at the bar were they met that night he was killed or in McKinney’s truck on the ride, after they left the bar. The real reason that Matthew Shepard was murdered had nothing to do with his being gay – he was killed because he, allegedly, had about six ounces of meth on him at the time he met up with McKinney and Russell Henderson, the other guy who was convicted of murder, but who claims to have not done anything but drive – he never tried to stop McKinney either and in a situation such as that, a person in Henderson’s position is, in most states, guilty of murder just as much as the one who dealt the fatal blow. Anyway, McKinney and Henderson’s plan was to rob Shepard of the six ounces of speed he had, which would’ve been a great windfall for them. All of this new information is detailed in a recently published book, entitled The Book of Matt. It is an astonishingly well-researched and heavily detailed book about the events in question as well as the booming methamphetamine scene in both Laramie, WY as well as Denver, CO, where Shepard had lived before coming to Laramie.
But I digress. Getting back to these assholes who call themselves “Christians” when they have absolutely nothing to do with anything about Christianity, nor, I assume, do they even know what Christianity is. If there was such a thing as “hell”, that is exactly where Fred Phelps would be burning right now. It’s too bad there isn’t and that as soon as this thing expired, he just ceased to exist, but at least he won’t be around to run his cult of bigots.
I’ve also read, in the Washington Post, for instance, that all the crazy antics that Fred and his cult pulled off, were actually, in some backward way, something that ended up helping the cause of gay rights in the end. Why? Because when the average, unbigoted, American, with an open-mind saw this kind of stuff going on, besides inspiring revulsion and antipathy towards Westboro, would push people who might be on the fence when it came to gay rights, or better put, were not against gays but weren’t “activists” in any way, to support those who were gay rights activists and be more open to get educated on the idea that tolerance is what America is supposed to stand for.
So, one could say that the extremely vile antics of this circus which posed as a Christian church helped to galvanize the gay rights movement in this country and to get it to where it is today.
Either way – good riddance, Fred Phelps. You won’t be missed (by anyone that matters)!!!! -KM.