It’s over. Fred Phelps has passed.
Uncle George (Takei) is a wise man. He’s so very right. Death is nothing to celebrate. Acting as Fred Phelps and the other members of Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) doesn’t mean that “paybacks” are achieved but rather that we have lowered ourselves to the behavior we condemned the WBC for. It makes one a hypocrite.
I found out the other day that Fred Phelps used to be a civil rights attorney. Yep, that one took me a minute too. When I think of civil rights attorneys, I think of those fighting for the underdog who’s not getting his due.
He was disbarred and then started this hateful nonsense that spiraled out of control only to be excommunicated by those who followed him for wanting to take a “less severe” approach. I wonder what happened to him to turn him into the person he became?
His own son has been estranged from him for 37 years and has been and LGBT rights advocate which I can only imagine cause great suffering for both of them.
While it’s tempting to channel every ounce of anger and rage that’s been inspired in you by the acts of the members of the Westboro Baptist Church, I encourage you – Christian or not – to turn the other cheek and respond in love.
If you wish to be “spiteful” and need to channel that anger then do so with positivity and love in mind – donate to your favorite LGBT charity or one that supports the families of soldiers that have passed away.
Remember that he is just one member, there are still others. We must not become hypocrites and act as they have but rather set the example of love and fellowship.
Buddhist teaching states that we give thanks to the good AND to the bad, for they have set the most striking examples and teach the most.
While I cannot endorse a single act by the WBC, I do thank them…
- I thank them for setting such an extreme example that forced people who were on the fence with certain issues to stop and say “no, this path is wrong”.
- I thank them for causing people who would not otherwise give someone else the time of day to get out and defend a stranger.
- I thank them for bringing people together, even though they were opponents, in solidarity against hate and prejudice.
- There are less than 50 members of WBC but there are literally thousands that have stood up to them and acted against them. For this I say thanks.
Though it was not your intent, you’ve managed to bring all these people together in peace, fellowship and love. Not an easy feat during this very polarized time in our history.
Wherever your path may lead from here Fred Phelps, I hope the pain that caused you such anguish in your life does not follow you. Whether it’s karma or judgement, may you see the error of your ways and still the good it created and may you choose the latter path always.
Namaste, I wish you all peace on your journey.