I am not pro-Westboro Baptist Church by any stretch of the imagination. I completely agree that Westboro Baptist and all it stands for—namely, its incredibly hateful anti-gay agenda—is the worst of the worst, the scum of the earth, the most terrible representation of anything that has the audacity to call itself “religion.”
But when I learned that the founder of this hateful religious group, Rev. Fred Phelps Sr., was dying, I felt nothing but sadness and compassion for him.
According to the Washington Post:
Phelps, 84, is being cared for in a Shawnee County facility, Westboro Baptist Church spokesman Steve Drain said Sunday. Drain would not identify the facility.
Westboro Baptist Church is described as:
Members of the Westboro church, based in Topeka, frequently protest at the funerals of soldiers. They carry signs with messages such as “Thank God for dead soldiers” and “Thank God for 9/11,” and they say the deaths are God’s punishment for American immorality and tolerance of homosexuality and abortion.
Everything that the Westboro Baptist Church stands for is disgusting, and I’m sad that they bring God into the equation. I think people are smart enough to know that this is an outrageous hate group that shouldn’t be confused with mainstream Christianity.
That being said, when I heard that Rev. Phelps was at the end of his life, my first reaction wasn’t: HA, he got what he deserved. My reaction was: How sad that this man has spent his entire life making himself and other people miserable and sorely misrepresenting God.
I think Fred Phelps’ entire existence is truly pathetic. Hearing what he and his “church” have done upsets me, but it doesn’t make me hate him and believe that he should be burned at the stake. You may believe in God or not, but I also don’t think it is fair to say that “God will punish him.” That doesn’t make us any better than him in his hateful judgment of everyone he encounters.
Fred Phelps is dying, and evidenced by his life, he is a very unhappy man. To add insult to injury, his estranged son reveals that his father was also excommunicated from his own church in August 2013. This man is alone and completely hated at the end of his life. He has done unspeakable, unforgivable things, but I feel nothing but compassion for him.