My friend Nate Phelps alerted the world on his Facebook page that his father, Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church, is now under hospice care and his death appears imminent. Unfortunately, he is being denied the opportunity to go see his father one last time.
I’ve learned that my father, Fred Phelps, Sr., pastor of the “God Hates Fags” Westboro Baptist Church, was ex-communicated from the “church” back in August of 2013. He is now on the edge of death at Midland Hospice house in Topeka, Kansas.
I’m not sure how I feel about this. Terribly ironic that his devotion to his god ends this way. Destroyed by the monster he made.
I feel sad for all the hurt he’s caused so many. I feel sad for those who will lose the grandfather and father they loved. And I’m bitterly angry that my family is blocking the family members who left from seeing him, and saying their good-byes.
Ordinarily, I’d be ready to dance on Fred Phelps’ grave because his life has been far more tragic than his death could ever be. But honestly, the only emotion I feel over this is for Nate, who is one of the kindest and most gentle people you could ever meet. And no matter how horrible and hateful his father is, I understand, to whatever extent I really can, how painful this all must be for him. My sadness at Nate’s pain trumps everything I might otherwise feel in this circumstance. I hope that he can find some peace over it.This does not mean, however, that I think anyone who does respond with anger and wants to show up and protest his funeral is wrong. I’d be hard pressed to think of a more vile human being in every possible way and anger is an entirely valid response. I don’t think there’s anything wrong about it. I don’t think it would be “stooping to their level” to do to him what his family has done to so many others. There’s one crucial difference: He deserves it, while none of the people whose funerals he protested did.
So respond however you’d like to respond (within legal limits, of course) and I’m certainly not going to tell you you’re wrong. But at this point, my only concern is for Nate and the other family members who managed to escape that barbaric family.