Westboro Baptist Church Leader Dead – End of an Era
Fred Phelps leader of the Westboro Baptist Cult, excuse me…church passed away earlier this week. Phelps founded Westboro Baptist Church back in 1955 in Topeka, Kansas and over the years transformed it into a notoriously vilified group that promoted an agenda of hate speech and doomsday prophecies. The group proudly boasts that they have picketed around 53,000 events ranging from pop concerts to deceased US soldiers funerals and is made up almost entirely of one twisted family that are related to each other either through blood or marriage.
Easily the most controversial church in America the group started to gain national fame soon after the Iraq war for picketing soldiers funerals as a protest against the country for tolerating homosexuality. Positioning themselves outside of events the group has taken full advantage of their constitutional right to free speech, shouting slurs and waving around their highly offensive signs that often read colorful messages such as “Pray for more dead soldiers”, “You’re going to hell” and their infamous “God hates fags.”
The church released a statement yesterday scolding the media for “gleefully anticipating Phelps death.” I find this more than a little amusing and ironic as the church has gained national exposure and infamy from taking their own gleeful delight in the death of anyone not fitting into the narrow construct of their belief system.
Fred Phelps And A Legacy Of Hate
The Westboro Baptist Church under Fred Phelps guidance has been a hard group to ignore as they have long employed tactics of boisterous, in your face aggression that requires a response from even the most politically passive among us. They have certainly captured my attention over the years, almost like an eccentric family member during the holidays. You know, in that “uh oh, what did crazy uncle Marty do this time” kind of a way. Although incredibly offensive, to me it’s also a little bit entertaining to see people so proudly spewing their ignorant beliefs around town. It is this crazy entertainment value that has spurred the ear of many national and international media outlets, which have taken an interest in what the church has to say over the years.
To me the whole thing just seems incredibly exhausting to dedicate your ever-waking moment to preaching hate speech to the masses. Making signs, plotting out events to picket, choreographing elaborate dancing and singing satires to the tune of pop songs, where does the time go?! We all have things we don’t like or disagree with, I for example I’m not a huge fan of baseball. It’s a completely nonsensical and personal belief I hold, but you don’t see me standing outside of Chase Field in downtown Phoenix picketing the games with signs that read “God hates the Diamondbacks!”
However fascinating and entertaining this small sect of extremists may be to rational thinking people of the country, the blunt fact of the matter is that the world is a better place with people like Fred Phelps gone. Phelp’s mission in life was to spread fear and hate as he interpreted and twisted the Bibles fire and brimstone prophecies to his justify his worldview. As we live in a world already burdened with uncertainty, disaster, and tragedy I find it hard to imagine many people outside Fred Phelp’s congregation will be sad to see him go.
What do you think? We’d love to hear you sound off with your thoughts in the comments below!