An essay in defense of “The Magnetic Poetry of Fred Phelps,” by Josh Garrett-Davis:
… it’s hard not to be drawn in by [Westboro Baptist Church’s] language, both as shocking, stifled-laugh comedy and as fight-picking. I can’t deny the appeal of a line like “For all eternity, Liz Taylor will be tormented with fire and brimstone, everlasting fire, eternal punishment, shame and everlasting contempt, the resurrection of damnation, tribulation, wrath, indignation, anguish…” Or the elegant Calvinist antimetabole of “God does not hate them because they are homosexuals; they are homosexuals because God hates them.” Fred Phelps is Walt Whitman’s evil twin, generating an overflowing word count of hate-filled, exclusionary, overwrought, antique, hyperbolic, unedited provocation. Glenn Beck is a poseur, a Hallmark card, by comparison.
This is the Eagle Scout’s integrity and self-regard, the American bard’s gluttonous, unedited style, and the firebrand’s jaw-dropping rhetoric for which we have such an appetite, all taken to the violent frontier of sanity. I hope Phelps’s oeuvre can be anthologized someday, or put in a museum, so the timber in his eye can reveal the splinters in our own.
It’s a very interesting article that also includes a section on what I find to be the most fascinating aspect of the gay-hating bigot at the helm of the church: he used to be a lawyer who fought for the civil rights of black people. (And a good one at that!)
Why he became crazy, I don’t think I’ll ever comprehend.
(via Killing the Buddha)