Okay, the day is stunningly gorgeous, my mood is buoyant, I feel amazing, Spring may finally be sprung, and everyone and everything seems to be exploding with happiness. All around me people are laughing and smiling, the trees are putting out flowers, the sun is punching through, I need to take my jacket off finally, and then I look at the news… Fred Phelps is dead. The whole world seems to be celebrating, whether aware of this or not. Just his parting from this space-time dimension has finally allowed light back into the world… It’s rather like when the Ice Queen leaves Narnia!! Bye Fred – you missed a lovely day.
Ding dong, the troll is dead! Which old troll? The hateful troll! Let them know the hateful troll is dead! (Note: The ding dong reference is purposeful.)
Someone on Twitter came out to me today as an atheist. It was as if Fred took some portion of religiosity from the world when his little candle snuffed out. People are distancing themselves more and more from world views like Fred’s. Soon all that will be left of the little candle that was Fred Phelps will be a tendril of smoke that will leave no trace of itself. Perhaps a faint scent of burning for a bit, but his world view will go extinct soon. It cannot happen fast enough… Anyway, I thanked this guy for feeling he could share something like that with me. I’m not sure people appreciate the extent to which atheists get abused, but many of them don’t come out for fear of retribution from religious people. I don’t have religious beliefs per se. I have a sense of general spirituality that I express through the language of Paganism. His reply was that he is practicing Cockism. All hail The Dick!
It doesn’t occur to me to get upset that someone believes something different from me. I certainly would never think to use that difference as a weapon. It just doesn’t matter that much to me. To be frank, if you’re so easily enraged when someone disagrees with you, it implies your faith wasn’t very strong to begin with. Just saying: It looks like overcompensation.
But that is why Fred Phelps made me sick: He used his “faith” as a weapon. Even his name irritates me. His horrible face. The sound of his voice… It’s like fingernails on a chalk board. And then using that voice to spread messages like “God Hates Fags?” What is particularly reprehensible is that straight people didn’t get upset about Fred until he started showing up at the funerals of dead soldiers. Did you know Fred ran for office several times and once came in second for the Democratic nomination to be the US Senator for Kansas? And this was long after he had started being the ranting, homophobic shithead he was. So, to me, that means that he didn’t lose mainstream credibility until he started throwing the fag bomb at straight people during their process of mourning. If he hadn’t done that, he could conceivably have kept enough popular support to eventually get elected and turn into the Kansas version of Jesse Helms… God forbid (pun intended).
I read recently that we should forgive, not because they deserve forgiveness, but because we deserve peace. I agree. But I am still going to celebrate for a little while. I hope people protest his funeral. Some people try to be all superior and say, “I hope no one goes at all.” How fucking noble of you, but I disagree. This twisted man created a “church” full of his own children and grandchildren, physically and emotionally terrorized them into his own image, and then set them loose on the world just to be confrontational. Look at his daughter, Shirley: Every time she goes on a TV interview it’s like watching a 24-car pile-up on the interstate. So I will forgive in a few moments, but for now I’m not going to be noble. The afterlife is God’s domain, so whatever. But I hope he suffered a long, excruciating death. I’m a little disappointed to hear that he was comfortable. I hope it’s true that he was excommunicated, and that he was alone and sequestered from his base of support. Other gays can be gracious if they want, but I will hold onto my indignation for just a few more minutes. That motherfucker should be dragged through the streets until his corpse disintegrates into ground meat to be eaten by the rats, crows, and dogs.
Also, I’m just wondering how many more limpid, polite, bullshit comments about Fred Phelps being at peace and sending condolences to his grotesque family are going to come out of the LGBT press. Really??? I certainly hope someone in the LGBT media universe will have the balls to be righteously smug and celebratory. Don’t be a wimp on this, people. He was as bad as Jesse Helms, and people in the community openly celebrated that goon’s death. I almost wish I believed in Hell, so that I could imagine Fred being there. And no, I couldn’t give less of a damn about any suffering or pain his family is experiencing right now either, because I don’t think they’re capable of feeling it, whether I wish they could or not.
Okay, so now that I got all that off my chest I suppose it’s time to end on a note that is optimistic and hopeful? I think what encourages me most about the death of Fred Phelps is the way in which his beliefs and tactics have been widely dismissed, rejected, and abhorred. What I find to be good in all this is that rabid evangelism has finally lost support, and that people no longer cling to these types of attitudes about Jews, blacks, and gays (though there is much work to be done about attitudes concerning Muslims, foreigners, and immigrants, all of whom were also targets of Fred Phelps). What I am most happy about is not that Fred Phelps is dead (though I am happy he is dead), but that his ideas are dead. There’s no more traction. The irony is that the Utopia that was supposed to created by Christian love is really most likely to come about if it is absent. Tolerance of plurality isn’t enough. True acceptance is what is needed to bridge cultures together, and that will never be possible when dogmatic “leaders” of “churches” preach division, conquest, conversion, repudiation, and hatred. I hope I live to see the day when all these fanatics have lost their strangle hold on our politics, culture, and social evolution. I suppose the USA would finally look like Canada, which grew to become the nation the USA was supposed to be.