Fred Phelps, founder of the Westboro Church, died today at 84 years old. I hope he finds the peace in death that he was obviously deprived of in life. If he hadn’t been, he wouldn’t have felt the need to project his unrest and misery on the world.
I pray for Phelps’s soul in hopes that he won’t be as doomed in his next life.
We’re all connected. Gay and straight. Lovers and haters. That is something Phelps never understood. A part of ourselves has died today, one of our own, an emblem of how lost the human soul can be. Instead of celebrating the end of his crimes against humanity, we should be mourning a world that produced such a wasted existence with determination to do better going forward. We are responsible for Fred Phelps and his distorted world view. And we are responsible for making sure no one sees things quite so ominously ever again.
We can achieve this by not degrading ourselves to his level of depravity and shame. He inflicted a lot of pain by organizing protests at funerals of people he felt deserved to die. There is no excuse for this, except that hurt people hurt people. Fred Phelps hurt so many members of the LGBT community, families of soldiers and others, but I hope we drop the boomerang, break the cycle and end the hurt here.
This world has had quite enough of it.