A reader writes:
We are waiting for your hateful celebratory diatribe on the death of Phyllis Schlafly.
When I was in fourth grade, I was watching the Twilight Zone one evening. It was the episode where the plane flies back in time to Jurassic period and the pilot has to figure out how to return to the 20th century. Suddenly, there was a bulletin announcing that somebody named “Martin Luther King, Jr.” had been shot to death in Memphis.
I had not one clue who he was, but I could tell from my mother’s worried face that this was bad.
Next day, I went my fourth grade class and the teacher asked us if we had heard the news. About half the class cheered, mimicking, of course, whatever they had been told at home.
I still had no idea who King was, but my mama had taught me that you do not cheer when somebody dies. I was not raised in a religious household, but I was raised with the bred in the bone conviction that you do not mock the dead. In death, what is exposed is simply and solely the fact that we are pathetic creatures in need of the mercy of God. It is, if I had to put words to it, the worst and ugliest form of bullying to kick a dead person, the weakest and most helpless of us all. Whatever a person’s merits or sins–and we all have them–to mock them in death is, I deem, the lowest form of cowardice and a dare to the face of Almighty God to inflict on me, in death, all the judgment I, in my hubris, am inflicting on the dead now. I absolutely detest a political culture that heaps hatred and mockery on its political enemies.
So: God Almighty, have mercy on the soul of your beloved daughter Phyllis Schlafly, born again in baptism and now born to eternal life through the grace of Christ our Lord. Let her merits bring her glory and let her sins be forgiven. Let her enter into the everlasting ecstasy of the saints as my elder sister in Christ. And may her soul and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace through Christ our Lord. Amen. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
And, gentle reader, if you feel some ungovernable compulsion to speak ill of Phyllis Schlafly in death, please know that I will have have an even more ungovernable compulsion to ban and delete you from my combox as a person I can do without, who never will be missed. Show some elementary decency. Please.