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March 20, 2014 10:18 AM   Subscribe

Westboro church founder Fred Phelps has died. Fred Phelps -- the founding pastor of a Kansas church known for its virulently anti-gay protests at public events, including military funerals -- has died.

Oddly enough, he was also active in the civil rights movement.

Politics makes strange bedfellows.
posted by Ruthless Bunny (282 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
What's the opposite of a .?
posted by inturnaround at 10:19 AM on March 20, 2014


The man loved farts

.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:20 AM on March 20, 2014 [34 favorites]


Yeah, that part of his life story is perplexing. I'd be interesting what happened that turned him to the dark side.
posted by svenni at 10:21 AM on March 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Stitcherbeast, Fred Phelps died, not Fred Weasley.
posted by inturnaround at 10:21 AM on March 20, 2014 [12 favorites]


!.
posted by nerdler at 10:21 AM on March 20, 2014 [5 favorites]


On second thought, maybe he was a modern day Anakin Skywalker.
posted by svenni at 10:22 AM on March 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


Ugh, I can't believe I said the same thing as the headline. Sorry, Ruthless Bunny, I just saw Fred Phelps and I skipped the headline!
posted by inturnaround at 10:22 AM on March 20, 2014


Given that he was excommunicated from his "church", I wonder if they'll be protesting at his funeral?
posted by janey47 at 10:22 AM on March 20, 2014 [4 favorites]


(_!_)
posted by phunniemee at 10:22 AM on March 20, 2014 [23 favorites]


I celebrated his death by not creating an FPP dedicated to it.
posted by goethean at 10:22 AM on March 20, 2014 [62 favorites]


I've heard many people say "I don't wish him pain or death, but..."

No. This is a man who caused pain. There is no reason to wish him anything better than he gave to others. I wouldn't wish him MORE pain and stress than he gave to others, but actions have consequences, and this is his. If he suffered a lot at the end of his life, I don't feel at all bad about that.
posted by swimming naked when the tide goes out at 10:23 AM on March 20, 2014 [4 favorites]


(It's an ass.)
posted by phunniemee at 10:23 AM on March 20, 2014 [8 favorites]


Well, I won't mourn him in the slightest, but I hope nobody out there is stupid enough to be thinking "right, now we'll go and make a big, invasive protest at his funeral and see how his family likes it." Let the sad, hateful man be buried in peace and let his family mourn in private.
posted by yoink at 10:23 AM on March 20, 2014 [23 favorites]


He was a complete asshole who united people of all races and creeds in recognition of his assholery. On balance, that unity probably did more good in the world than he managed to do evil, despite his best efforts.

So yay humanity! Sometimes we get it right.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:23 AM on March 20, 2014 [26 favorites]


There is no reason to wish him anything better than he gave to others.

Um, because we hope we're better people than he is?
posted by yoink at 10:23 AM on March 20, 2014 [37 favorites]


*Hand under armpit duck noise*
posted by oceanjesse at 10:23 AM on March 20, 2014 [5 favorites]


Unlike his timely death, I don't foresee this ending well..
posted by obscurator at 10:24 AM on March 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Hey, it's International Day of Happiness! (And Fred Roger's birthday.) So we don't have Fred Phelps to kick around anymore. It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood and Spring just started!
posted by kozad at 10:24 AM on March 20, 2014 [25 favorites]


RIP. May your memory dim from history but quick. Good night sweet prince of hate.
posted by chainlinkspiral at 10:24 AM on March 20, 2014


oh no, i had him in the pool for saturday.
posted by bruce at 10:24 AM on March 20, 2014 [4 favorites]


In the words of George Takei: "Today, Mr. Phelps may have learned that God, in fact, hates no one. Vicious and hate-filled as he was, may his soul find the kind of peace through death that was so plainly elusive during his life."

.
posted by SollosQ at 10:24 AM on March 20, 2014 [160 favorites]


Phelps: Cleanse them. Cleanse the world of their ignorance and sin. Bathe them in the crimson of...

[pauses]

Phelps: Am I on speakerphone?

Hadley: No, absolutely not. Speakerphone, no, no, I wouldn't do that.

Phelps: Yes I am. I can hear the echo.

Hadley: Oh, my God, you're right. Hang on one second, I'll take you off.

Phelps: That's rude. I don't know who's in the room.

Phelps: Don't take this lightly, boy. It wasn't all by your 'numbers'; the Fool nearly derailed the invocation with his insolence. Your futures are murky; you'd do well to heed my - I'm still on speakerphone, aren't I?

Hadley: No. You're not. I promise.

Phelps: Yes I am! Who is that? Who's laughing?

Sitterson: [pounds head on desk laughing hysterically]
posted by SPrintF at 10:24 AM on March 20, 2014 [25 favorites]


I'm sad that he didn't live to see gay marriage legal in all 50 states.
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:24 AM on March 20, 2014 [47 favorites]


A long life wasted.
posted by jonmc at 10:26 AM on March 20, 2014 [12 favorites]


Ruthless Bunny: "he was also active in the civil rights movement"

From what I've read, this was only true insofar as he was completely willing to make money by taking on civil rights-related cases following the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Supposedly he was just as bigoted about nonwhites as he was about gays -- the difference is that he'd figured out how to make a lot of money off of the former. It's not like he was Atticus Finch or something.
posted by Strange Interlude at 10:26 AM on March 20, 2014 [16 favorites]


Later, hater.
posted by frenetic at 10:26 AM on March 20, 2014 [5 favorites]


Per the post title, I actually like

(.)

a lot.

Because it looks like a breast. While I have never flashed my left tit at someone in a dismissive manner, hey, why the hell not?

(.) you, you fucker.
posted by Sara C. at 10:28 AM on March 20, 2014 [11 favorites]


Why isn't this a double post?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:29 AM on March 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


Condolences to his family. I hope they are able to find peace amongst all the hate. I guess you reap what you sow and Phelps should be pleased that his hatred is finding so much purchase witth his enemies.
posted by three blind mice at 10:29 AM on March 20, 2014


He was a complete asshole who united people of all races and creeds in recognition of his assholery. On balance, that unity probably did more good in the world than he managed to do evil, despite his best efforts.

relevant:
DOCTOR: Just touch these two strands together and the Daleks are finished. Have I that right?
SARAH: To destroy the Daleks? You can't doubt it.
DOCTOR: Well, I do. You see, some things could be better with the Daleks. Many future worlds will become allies just because of their fear of the Daleks.


So, Phelps was a really Dalek-Phelps. I can buy that.
posted by Mad_Carew at 10:29 AM on March 20, 2014 [7 favorites]


Fuck him. I don't believe in the "don't speak ill of the dead" bromide. Shuffling off your mortal coil doesn't grant you a temporary stay of criticism. He lived his life sowing hatred and nastiness. He shat on the grief of thousands, and encouraged others to do the same. He even raised his entire brood to be as nasty, hate-filled, spiteful, and just plain awful as he was. His is a legacy of absolute shittiness, of the worst that the human race has to offer.

Fuck him — and thoroughly.
posted by grubi at 10:30 AM on March 20, 2014 [33 favorites]


To hell with being better than him. I hope he died alone in pain and fear.
posted by Sternmeyer at 10:31 AM on March 20, 2014 [9 favorites]


Not to be confused with Fred Durst.



(right?)
posted by entropone at 10:31 AM on March 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


And definitely not to be confused with Fred Schneider.
posted by Strange Interlude at 10:32 AM on March 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


..'Cos when they finally put you in the ground
They'll stand there laughing and tramp the dirt down.

posted by Cookiebastard at 10:32 AM on March 20, 2014 [6 favorites]


Just think, now he will discover for himself that God really doesn't hate fags, or anyone else for that matter. Now he can relearn the meaning of love.
posted by Lynsey at 10:32 AM on March 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


For once the atheist position gives the most comfort: Fred Phelps is neither in heaven nor in hell. All that's happened is the biochemical and electric activity has ceased in his brain, and his body is slowly rotting away. That's all. No more.

I find that the most fitting revenge.

...and I still want cake.
posted by happyroach at 10:32 AM on March 20, 2014 [33 favorites]


God killed him dead.
posted by philip-random at 10:33 AM on March 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


I wished he didn't exist when he was alive. Wish granted. Feels good.
posted by Zerowensboring at 10:35 AM on March 20, 2014


.

Because every life is worth something.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:35 AM on March 20, 2014 [7 favorites]


I expect his grave will be soaked in the piss of strangers for many years.
posted by Hoopo at 10:35 AM on March 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


I am a bit annoyed at all of the people telling others how to mark his death. This isn't about Fred or showing the world that by being polite we are somehow better than a man who helped create the environment in which LGBT people can be harassed, assaulted and murdered. He may not have wielded the tire iron or the box cutter, but there is blood on his hands. So, sorry if I don't feel like being a nice guy about it.

. (for all the people you helped murder, Fred)
posted by munchingzombie at 10:35 AM on March 20, 2014 [20 favorites]


He owes a boatload of cocks to Asclepius.
posted by perhapses at 10:36 AM on March 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm just super impressed by how real and honest and decent his son is about this whole fiasco, and about his own experiences. I'm sure it took many years of therapy to get to that place. So that was the take-home for me: son of Anakin is indeed Luke Skywalker, so to speak. It's possible to come from hatred and still have a good heart.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 10:36 AM on March 20, 2014 [9 favorites]


It's a better world without him in it.
posted by Legomancer at 10:37 AM on March 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


God hates old people, apparently.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:38 AM on March 20, 2014 [23 favorites]


DOCTOR: Just touch these two strands together and the Daleks are finished. Have I that right?
SARAH: To destroy the Daleks? You can't doubt it.
DOCTOR: Well, I do. You see, some things could be better with the Daleks. Many future worlds will become allies just because of their fear of the Daleks.


Sidenote: IIRC, none other than the late Sen. Barry Goldwater believed passionately that the world would be a better place if it were under attack from space aliens. He thought that the Cold War would instantly end and that we would all work together for the protection of earth. Goldwater also believed more generally that the US government was covering up evidence of literal space aliens, just as he also believed that the Right's alliance with the Religious Right was a huge mistake, that Jerry Falwell deserved a "kick in the ass", and that it was wrong to exclude gays from the military. He had also been a big supporter of the NAACP in Arizona. And this was the guy who was the right-wing crank of his era. In conclusion, Barry Goldwater is a land of contrasts.

I'm sorry, what were we talking about again? I was thinking about people who are actually sympathetic and interesting, just as a drowning man might dream of an inflatable whale.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:39 AM on March 20, 2014 [25 favorites]


This isn't about Fred or showing the world that by being polite we are somehow better

Yep. Most people are still going to better even if they give some back to him and his family. They have set a very low bar indeed.
posted by Hoopo at 10:39 AM on March 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


The best eulogy to give him is to note how much he's done, however indirectly and inadvertently, to move the civil rights movement forwards in the US. So I'll give him a . just for that:

.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:40 AM on March 20, 2014 [4 favorites]


George Takei's facebook post noted Phelps' death with this: Today, Mr. Phelps may have learned that God, in fact, hates no one. Vicious and hate-filled as he was, may his soul find the kind of peace through death that was so plainly elusive during his life.
posted by theora55 at 10:41 AM on March 20, 2014 [6 favorites]


Sara C.: "While I have never flashed my left tit at someone in a dismissive manner, hey, why the hell not?"

What about the right?
posted by Chrysostom at 10:41 AM on March 20, 2014


To paraphrase Hitchens, speaking about Falwell's death (if I recall correctly):

It's too bad there isn't a hell for him to burn in.
posted by chimaera at 10:42 AM on March 20, 2014 [12 favorites]


I hope we never see someone like him again.
posted by luckynerd at 10:42 AM on March 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


I propose (*). It's an asshole.
posted by Zerowensboring at 10:43 AM on March 20, 2014 [9 favorites]


I'm sorry he didn't live long enough to gain enough perspective to change his mind, if in fact he believed any of that garbage and wasn't just using that as a rallying charge to gain media attention, or to gain enough perspective to show him that hurting others for personal gain is a fool's errand.
posted by janey47 at 10:44 AM on March 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Phelps was indeed horrible, but it's not entirely certain he really cared one way or the other about gays etc. What he discovered, most cynically, was a way to exploit the first amendment to harass people, in the hopes that they would lash out and his church would have someone to sue. Greed is what he was really all about.
posted by fungible at 10:45 AM on March 20, 2014 [18 favorites]


I have a completely clear conscience in being glad that son of a bitch is dead. I hope he died in suffering, questioning everything he'd done, and I hope he found no answers at the end.

There is such a thing as bending over so far to be fair that you fall on your ass, and it seems to me like a whole lot of people are doing just that to show some sort of "turn the other cheek" attitude. I think that's woefully misplaced in this particular instance.

Good fucking riddance to a loathsome human being who did nothing but cause pain.
posted by scrump at 10:45 AM on March 20, 2014 [4 favorites]


svenni: "Yeah, that part of his life story is perplexing. I'd be interesting what happened that turned him to the dark side."

He was a product of abuse who managed to take the cycle to a whole new level. (Read Addicted to Hate, if you haven't already) Here's to hoping his victims within his own family can find a way to break that cycle in their lives.
posted by calamari kid at 10:47 AM on March 20, 2014 [5 favorites]


And then he turns over at his open-casket funeral, pulls out a megaphone, and tells everybody they're homosexuals and to get the hell out of his funeral.
posted by Redfield at 10:48 AM on March 20, 2014 [9 favorites]


Honestly I just hope Westboro Baptist collapses as an organisation before it can indoctrinate or hurt anyone else. That's pretty much the entirety of my feelings on it now.
posted by emmtee at 10:48 AM on March 20, 2014 [10 favorites]


While I'm not the kind that would dance on another person's grave, no matter how terrible they were...I kind of hope that he's going to be cremated and not buried...as wherever he would be buried would be a huge issue for any caretaker or neighboring sites' mourners exposed to the resulting vandalism and/or hijinks around it for years to come. I also hope that caretakers will actively refuse to allow him to be buried alongside what were once good people just for that very reason.

In life, he seemed to be a miserable person with a miserable heart. In death, he is nothing but what is left in our memories. I hope those memories serve us well in the future, as we should hopefully never have to allow such vile hatred as his some day.
posted by samsara at 10:49 AM on March 20, 2014


I recall reading something suggesting he was actually excommunicated from the church he founded before he died. Is there anything else on this? I wonder if he had second thoughts or if it's something more mundane.
posted by Hoopo at 10:49 AM on March 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


I noticed that today is the vernal equinox, the first day of spring. Fred Phelps didn't live to see it.

It feels good that he should be left behind along with the rest of this dark, miserable winter, buried deep in the thawing ground while the country turns towards the sun, watching the trees bud and green slowly return.

Life goes on.
posted by castlebravo at 10:50 AM on March 20, 2014 [14 favorites]


In case anyone missed it, there was also a thread last week. "He is now on the edge of death"
posted by ActingTheGoat at 10:50 AM on March 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


There's a lot to be said and heard about this story (which has likely just ended), but I can't see it belonging anywhere other than among friends, in person, hopefully with a drink in your hand. So since that's the case, the only thing I can think to say is:

Gosh; I wonder if I'll ever meet Fred Phelps.
posted by Poppa Bear at 10:51 AM on March 20, 2014


Holy Fuck, George Takei's response was absolutely, impressively perfect.

Let's hear it for George Takei.
posted by MoxieProxy at 10:51 AM on March 20, 2014 [17 favorites]


Hoopo, there's an article about his reported excommunication here, which I think sums up pretty much everything known outside the church.
posted by emmtee at 10:51 AM on March 20, 2014




We really need to have a giant love protest at his funeral. GOD LOVES FAGS (AND EVERYBODY ELSE TOO) (EVEN FRED PHELPS)
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:56 AM on March 20, 2014 [4 favorites]


Phelps particularly highlights John Calvin's doctrine of unconditional election, the belief that God has elected certain people for salvation before birth, and limited atonement, the belief that Christ only died for the elect, and condemns those who believe otherwise.
posted by stbalbach at 10:57 AM on March 20, 2014 [4 favorites]


* (via Kurt Vonnegut)
posted by h0p3y at 10:58 AM on March 20, 2014 [9 favorites]


I wonder how much he really contributed to the advancement of gay rights in America due to his shining example of intolerance? Thanks Fred!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:59 AM on March 20, 2014 [4 favorites]


10th regiment has the right idea. Drag queens holding God Loves Phelps signs. It would be glorious.
posted by demiurge at 11:00 AM on March 20, 2014 [4 favorites]


My feelings on Dylan are a little mixed and the target is different but the shoe fits.

"And I hope that you die
And your death'll come soon
I will follow your casket
In the pale afternoon
And I'll watch while you're lowered
Down to your deathbed
And I'll stand over your grave
'Til I'm sure that you're dead."
posted by graymouser at 11:00 AM on March 20, 2014 [6 favorites]


No. This is a man who caused pain. There is no reason to wish him anything better than he gave to others. I wouldn't wish him MORE pain and stress than he gave to others, but actions have consequences, and this is his. If he suffered a lot at the end of his life, I don't feel at all bad about that.

"An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth leaves the world toothless and blind"

- Some Dude

I don't see any need to forgive him. I don't see any reason not to be viciously, viscerally angry at the things he did and the attitudes he reinforced.

I do see a need to be better than him, though. Wishing pain and suffering on someone, no matter what they've done, is barbaric and sucks us down to their level. So I said it before and I'll say it again: we should be sad for the potential of an entire life, wasted through hatred and rage.

We should be sad for every one of his victims.

We should be angry for what he did.

We should use that sadness and that anger to make sure nobody like him ever gets a public voice ever again.

As for his funeral? I'd love to see a huge contingent of people--QUILTBAG and straight and everything in between--holding hands with each other. No need for protest signs, no need for "God hates Freds." Just people demonstrating that even in the face of his overwhelming hate, love will win, because love builds while hate destroys.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:02 AM on March 20, 2014 [4 favorites]


10th regiment has the right idea. Drag queens holding God Loves Phelps signs. It would be glorious.

Somehow I don't think giving the Phelps family the chance to say "see, all those people who pretended to think it was outrageous to intrude on families in their time of grief are just hypocrites" is as brilliant a plan as you might think.
posted by yoink at 11:02 AM on March 20, 2014 [7 favorites]


🎻

The world's smallest violin playing just for Fred Phelps.
posted by cazoo at 11:02 AM on March 20, 2014 [8 favorites]


Seems pointless to mark the passing of Fred Phelps by doing unto him what he and his group did unto others.
posted by ZeusHumms at 11:05 AM on March 20, 2014 [4 favorites]


I understand why people will celebrate this, and I would never second guess or judge them for doing so -- especially given that I am not a member of any group targeted by him -- but I can't muster much joy over his death. Just sorrow that he hurt so many people when he was alive. The world is certainly better off without him in it.

It may also be a good thing that other anti-gay bigots won't have him for cover anymore. There are more mainstream Christian conservatives whose beliefs are pretty much indistinguishable from his, but they have been able to say, "We're not *that* bad!" because of how foul his rhetoric and tactics were.
posted by brundlefly at 11:06 AM on March 20, 2014


"There once was a Reverend named Fred,

whose sermons would fill us with dread.

He hated the gays,

but now we'll give praise,

'cause that motherfucker is dead."
posted by leotrotsky at 11:06 AM on March 20, 2014 [28 favorites]


I don't believe Westboro has funerals for us to picket; that was part of their bothering mourners to begin with. I suppose they're going to put what's left of Fred in the city garden waste (if their city has any), or leave him for the county to deal with, miserly wretches.
posted by Dreidl at 11:07 AM on March 20, 2014


Hey, it's International Day of Happiness! (And Fred Roger's birthday.)

This should be proof that Fred Phelps was the Antirogers.
posted by Dr-Baa at 11:07 AM on March 20, 2014 [10 favorites]


Feeling a little immature today and just can't muster the trad MeFi "." Here's my portrait of Fred.

(_)*(_)
posted by Ber at 11:07 AM on March 20, 2014


!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Probably one of the best deep, deep, deep undercover trolls the progressive/atheist wing of American politics has ever produced. Excelsior!!
posted by Renoroc at 11:09 AM on March 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


I think people should and will do whatever they want in reaction to his life & death.
I also think being Fred Phelps or one of his family members was probably a much worse punishment than anything we could visit on them now.
posted by signal at 11:09 AM on March 20, 2014 [4 favorites]


My hope is that the Westboro church is weakened and disbands over this. I've certainly heard Fred was the driving force behind it and family felt they were trapped into supporting him. Hopefully this means they can go free and do other things in their lives. I also hope there isn't some family member that will rise up to take his place and do it more forcibly than even Fred did.
posted by mathowie at 11:09 AM on March 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


Not wanting to protest at his funeral has nothing to do with turning the other cheek, and everything to do with respect for graveyards as places of public mourning and history, respect for the other families and communities who use the same space. That principle should not be set aside lightly to spite grave-side protesters or vandals.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 11:10 AM on March 20, 2014 [10 favorites]


I just wish he'd never existed.
posted by gaspode at 11:11 AM on March 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


Unfortunately, ZeusHumms, given who he was there doesn't seem any way for the funeral to remain private (which I think it really should be; the man was several different flavours of monster, but presumably some people in the family loved him and their grief should be private), so given that assumption I'm holding on to a fantasy where people from all across the sexual spectrum show up quietly, hold hands, and tell members of the family they they are sorry for their loss.

Compassion and kindness always win, imho.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:11 AM on March 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Remember how that they had a hard time finding a cemetery that would permit the burial of that dead Boston Marathon bomber? How they went to cemetery after cemetery, being turned down again and again because of the anguish it could cause to the families of decent people buried nearby?

I hope it's not too much to ask that the same sort of circus surrounds ol' Fred's final resting place.
posted by easily confused at 11:11 AM on March 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


'Tis a far, far better thing he does, than he has ever done. It is a far, far better rest that he goes to than he has ever known.

T-t-t-t-that's all folks!
posted by octobersurprise at 11:11 AM on March 20, 2014


YAAAAAAY!
posted by Our Ship Of The Imagination! at 11:11 AM on March 20, 2014


Greed, hate, delusion... whatever your reason for protesting funerals, you sir, were a sick man... and I hope you find the peace we all deserve as alumni of Earth.

Also, since I prefer my hatemongers to be shouting and waving banners over quietly plotting from behind the scenes, I'll even give you a

.

There are plenty of people, just as sick and just as hateful/greedy, if not more so.. and they're getting away with it because they don't draw attention to themselves.

I prefer my lunatics to be raving and mad, not quiet and calculating.
posted by Debaser626 at 11:13 AM on March 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


Ashes to ashes,
dust to dust;
may your god forgive you,
you sour old cuss.
posted by ApathyGirl at 11:15 AM on March 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


What's the opposite of (.)?

That question has been asked multiple times now. This is a man responsible for protesting gay servicemen returning home, gay marriage and any number of despicable acts that he and his followers disagreed with. Here, I'd bet 98+% disagree with his actions and with those he surrounded him self with. While this guy is almost one that I would make the exception of loving thy neighbor and not doing so - it plays into his hands.

The opposite of (.) in this case is still a . Don't sink to their level.

With that,


.




And good riddance.
posted by Nanukthedog at 11:15 AM on March 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


Dr-Baa: "Hey, it's International Day of Happiness! (And Fred Roger's birthday.)

This should be proof that Fred Phelps was the Antirogers.
"

I think I'd be in favor of a religion that had Fred Rogers as its founding prophet and Fred Phelps as its "devil", for lack of a better term.
posted by Strange Interlude at 11:17 AM on March 20, 2014 [10 favorites]




I think I'd be in favor of a religion that had Fred Rogers as its founding prophet and Fred Phelps as its "devil"

Freddichaeism?
posted by octobersurprise at 11:20 AM on March 20, 2014 [4 favorites]


The world needs:

More love

Less goatse

And I'm a New Reformed Orthodox Rogerite, thanks.

SPLITTERS
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:20 AM on March 20, 2014 [4 favorites]


From what I've read, this was only true insofar as he was completely willing to make money by taking on civil rights-related cases following the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Supposedly he was just as bigoted about nonwhites as he was about gays -- the difference is that he'd figured out how to make a lot of money off of the former. It's not like he was Atticus Finch or something.

That may be true, although he boasted about his Civil Rights work quite a bit; it was something he was genuinely proud of. And whatever his reason, he was respected for his civil rights works, and helped dismantle the Jim Crowe laws in his area.

I've never done anything that good, and my motivations are noble. I will both never be a worse man and never be a better man than Fred Phelps, and that's an odd thing to know.

He left a few legacies. He was the public face of hate for a long time. But I don't think it is worth disregarding that he was also once a champion of justice, for whatever reason. Hell, the best things I have ever done in my life I have done for reasons that are probably best kept to myself.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:22 AM on March 20, 2014 [7 favorites]


Done.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:23 AM on March 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


.
posted by localroger at 11:24 AM on March 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


The man can brighten the World just by leaving it.
posted by Floydd at 11:28 AM on March 20, 2014


Who was it in the previous thread quoting Bette Davis?

I was taught to speak only good of the dead. Fred Phelps is dead. Good.
posted by tyllwin at 11:29 AM on March 20, 2014 [16 favorites]


I neither mourn nor celebrate. The man preached hate; to gloat over what's really an inevitability for us all would just show that his lessons were well taught and well learned.
posted by Spatch at 11:30 AM on March 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Good.
posted by Flunkie at 11:30 AM on March 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


I don't forgive him; I don't mourn him; I take a moment to acknowledge that he has passed, and hope that the hardcore fundamentalist beliefs he espoused are weaker today.
posted by nubs at 11:33 AM on March 20, 2014


An asshole is someone who cuts you off in traffic. Phelps was not an asshole: He was something more complicated.

A bigot is someone who hates for no reason. Phelps was not a bigot: He had reasons.

A charlatan is someone who acts under false pretenses for their own gain. This is perhaps a much better description of the man, but it doesn't encompass the (for lack of a better word) evil he brought to the game.

Here's hoping the cycle of abuse (and hate speech as a mechanism for monetary reward) ends with his death.

Hug someone today and tell them that you love them. That's how we win.
posted by caution live frogs at 11:37 AM on March 20, 2014 [5 favorites]


More than enough keystrokes wasted on the guy already.
posted by kinnakeet at 11:38 AM on March 20, 2014


If nothing else, we should take this as a reminder that we are only on this planet for a very short while. We all have the opportunity to bring positivity to the world. Don't waste your time on things that don't add value to society. It ain't worth it.
posted by zerobyproxy at 11:41 AM on March 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Can you still accuse someone of being sanctimonious, even if they are in the right?

Those saying forgive, forget, don't stoop to his level, all that -- you're right, you're right.

But do you have to be right right this minute?

Let us "fags" who Phelp's god hated soak this in for a moment, if not with glee, at least with a little relief. We're not stupid, someone will take his place soon, but still, for just a moment: a little relief.
posted by MoxieProxy at 11:41 AM on March 20, 2014 [4 favorites]


MoxieProxy: I'm a fag too.

But do you have to be right right this minute?

Well, uh, yeah. That's the point of principles, no?

but still, for just a moment: a little relief.

Speaking as one of the 'don't stoop to his level' people, I never said relief isn't something we should all be feeling. I definitely feel relief that he isn't around to continue the hatred anymore.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:44 AM on March 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


An asshole is someone who cuts you off in traffic. Phelps was not an asshole: He was something more complicated.

A bigot is someone who hates for no reason. Phelps was not a bigot: He had reasons.

A charlatan is someone who acts under false pretenses for their own gain. This is perhaps a much better description of the man, but it doesn't encompass the (for lack of a better word) evil he brought to the game.
Ideas like this always pop up in any discussion of Phelps.

Phelps was an asshole, full stop. He might have been things other than an asshole too, but he was an asshole. And a bigot is not someone who hates for no reason; it's someone who hates in a prejudicial manner. Phelps was that.

As for charlatanry, with the implication "he doesn't really hate, he's just in it for the money", there's always the vague "he does it so he can get someone to punch him and then sue him" thing bandied about, along with a distinct lack of examples of anybody punching him and getting sued.

He was definitely a charlatan in the much-ballyhooed civil rights stuff, though. He saw an opportunity to make money and he took it. Surreptitiously calling his clients "dumb niggers" the whole time.

Seriously, if you think he wasn't an asshole, that he didn't truly hate, that he was (merely) a charlatan, or that some long-gone younger version of him was a champion of civil rights, read Addicted to Hate.

The man did hate. The man was hate.
posted by Flunkie at 11:44 AM on March 20, 2014 [6 favorites]


Oddly enough, he was also active in the civil rights movement.

I'd be interesting what happened that turned him to the dark side.

Just had a black person make an anti-gay remark in front of me yesterday. (Hardly the first time I've heard such, either.) So supporting racial civil rights and being homophobic are not necessarily at odds.
posted by NorthernLite at 11:44 AM on March 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


May God have mercy on his soul.
posted by magstheaxe at 11:45 AM on March 20, 2014 [6 favorites]


Let's not be complacent about this. Fred Phelps may be dead, but Westboro still lives on. Bigotry still lives on.

And much of the damage is perpetuated not by celebrity figure types, but by regular people who don't realise the harm they perpetuate by not being aware of their actions, people who think that because they're not Fred Phelps they're somehow automatically better.

People like us.

Let's not just stop here. Don't let his death be in vain - make it a catalyst for change.

It's not over, folks.
posted by divabat at 11:45 AM on March 20, 2014


Let us "fags" who Phelp's god hated soak this in for a moment,

I certainly wouldn't chastise anyone who takes pleasure in this moment. Phelps' behavior was hideous. Just hideous. He deserves whatever scorn he gets. He deserves it all. I am sobered by the fact that he once did good, but not so sobered as to not be glad that he is gone, and to know that his legacy will be defined by his hate, and, since it so completely dominated the majority of his life, should be.

If people are reenacting the "Thank you very much" scene from Scrooge over his coffin just now, they are entitled, and it's his own damn fault.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:47 AM on March 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


Everyone should just do that anyway, Bunny Ultramod, 'cause it's a great musical number!
posted by Atom Eyes at 11:55 AM on March 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Phelps' behavior was hideous. Just hideous. He deserves whatever scorn he gets. He deserves it all.

Couldn't agree more. That said, hate doesn't stop until hate stops, even (perhaps especially) the hate we feel is justified. That the poor bastard didn't take the time to learn that is one more reason to feel sorry for him.

I hope the people he harmed can have some peace.
posted by Mooski at 11:56 AM on March 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


What do you call a dead Fred Phelps?

A good start.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:56 AM on March 20, 2014 [2 favorites]




I'm just sad he existed in the first place.
posted by feralscientist at 12:02 PM on March 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


*

I'm pretty sure Kurt Vonnegut would have joined me in placing a * instead of a .
posted by OHenryPacey at 12:02 PM on March 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


♪┏(・o・)┛♪

May anyone who mourns his passing choke on their tears. Or at least cough and sputter uncomfortably, like when you accidentally inhale while taking a quick sip of water and get some moisture down the wrong pipe.
posted by b1tr0t at 12:06 PM on March 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


Good riddance.
posted by Quiplash at 12:07 PM on March 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


And I'm a New Reformed Orthodox Rogerite, thanks.

I can't help but think that our eucharist is a Mineo's Pizza and a cold Iron City.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:09 PM on March 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


hate doesn't stop until hate stops, even (perhaps especially) the hate we feel is justified.

Anger and scorn for a jackass who led a crusade on behalf of jackasses isn't "hate", and it's not what has to be stopped.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 12:11 PM on March 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


The incorrigible contrarian within me wants to suggest that Phelps was a bodhisattva who volunteered for the thankless task of being a hated bad example for us to run from, so many of us not being sufficiently motivated by the good examples we are supposed to follow.

But then I realize that if that was the case we probably aren't supposed to ever know, so whatever.
posted by localroger at 12:13 PM on March 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


Came here to put a * in, like I did for Chuck Colson, but I see OHenryPacey beat me to it.

I do not take joy at the death of a fellow human, but I do recognize the amount of pain he caused in the world.
posted by Hactar at 12:14 PM on March 20, 2014


Love can conquer Hate but sometimes Death has to help out.
posted by tommasz at 12:17 PM on March 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


*
posted by JoJoPotato at 12:17 PM on March 20, 2014


Hey, it's International Day of Happiness!

Well, we did open a new theme park today. So that's kind of neat. The BBQ is to die for!
posted by Welcome to Hell, Fred at 12:18 PM on March 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


-.
posted by mazola at 12:20 PM on March 20, 2014


Phelps practiced hate because it drew an income from suing people who violated their first amendment rights. He trained his family and church members well so they could sue anyone who tried to stop their protests. (As a digression, I'm always a little reminded of John Africa and the MOVE movement in Philadelphia running through mock trails to prepare their members for the courtroom, though the ultimate purpose and methods of each are wildly different.) I think it's only fitting that Fred Phelps' funeral, if the (evil, yet) pragmatic Westboro church members even have one for him, invite so much protest that you'd think an angry rainbow gathering was taking place there.

I suspect they'll cremate him and keep the location of his ashes secret. Good riddance to bad rubbish.
posted by Catblack at 12:28 PM on March 20, 2014


I really liked * for memorializing Vonnegut, but am not as big on it for anyone else, because Vonnegut was unique and special and is the only artist I know of who is known as one of the greatest Americans of his time in part because (and not in spite) of his Picture Of An Asshole.

That aside, I've started every conversation today by throwing my hands in the air in glee and saying "GUESS WHO'S DEAD??"
posted by NoraReed at 12:28 PM on March 20, 2014


I've started every conversation today by throwing my hands in the air in glee and saying "GUESS WHO'S DEAD??"

Generalissimo Francisco Franco?
Bela Lugosi?
James Brown?
posted by Foosnark at 12:33 PM on March 20, 2014 [5 favorites]


I hope he finds peace, and I'm glad he can't harm anyone anymore. But, in true Debbie Downer style, I have to say that his death won't make a dent in the efforts of his church. He's barely been in the picture for quite some time. Meanwhile, Shirley Phelps-Roper marches on as loudly as ever. Her daughters' very public exit probably did more good than their grandfather's passing.
posted by Gee, June! at 12:36 PM on March 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


The good are always taken from us too young....
posted by sourwookie at 12:38 PM on March 20, 2014


I don't think it is worth disregarding that he was also once a champion of justice, for whatever reason.

From the previous thread:
Nate Phelps says the perception in some circles that his father was once this champion of civil rights, railing against discrimination, is laughable. “We would all call black people ‘DNs’ at home. It stood for Dumb Niggers and was our private language,” he says. “We thought it was clever to call them that in front of them. He was deeply prejudiced, and he believed the Bible said they were cursed.”

Nate says Fred Phelps saw an opportunity with the passing of the Civil Rights Act to cash in. “There was a lot of money, and a lot of opportunity,” he says. “And suddenly my father was the man to go to.”
Let this bullshit "At least he fought for some civil rights!" meme die with him.
posted by Zozo at 12:39 PM on March 20, 2014 [18 favorites]


Fred's dead, baby. Fred's dead.
posted by dlugoczaj at 12:46 PM on March 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Bela Lugosi's Dead.
posted by Sophie1 at 12:46 PM on March 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Didn't we just piss on Phelps' grave four days ago?

Or was that the limbering up piss before this real, earnest piss?
posted by notyou at 12:50 PM on March 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


There's a scene in Neil Gaiman's "Sandman" where the title character is conversing with a friend who's just lost a loved one to a drunk driver. This friend knows the Sandman to be immortal, and possessed of some kind of supernatural power, so he asks if the driver can be made to suffer some kind of terrible physical pain in retribution, and Morpheus replies that he won't do that, not even for a friend.

Then the friend asks if the driver can be made to know, right down in the center of his being, who the person that he killed was. What she was like, what she wanted from her life, how she felt at her happiest moments and at her lowest, what she meant to the people who knew and loved her, and how her consciousness was just as real as the driver's own. Could the driver be made to know all of that, and unable to ignore or forget it? And Morpheus says, "Done."

I've no idea what, if anything, happens to our consciousness after death. I'm certain it's not anything like what Fred Phelps believed it to be. But if anything happens at all, I hope that the result is to make certain that he knows right down to his core the extent of the pain that he caused in the world, and the humanity of those who were made to bear it. I hope that if he still exists he is not able to ignore, or to forget.
posted by Ipsifendus at 12:51 PM on March 20, 2014 [12 favorites]


The Onion, coming through with their obit.
posted by gaspode at 12:53 PM on March 20, 2014 [22 favorites]


Fred Phelps called my Grandmother a "buttfucker." Right to her face at a Pride parade in Lawrence, Kansas, as she was there to support her daughter.

So add that to your algebra regarding this issue.
posted by NedKoppel at 12:55 PM on March 20, 2014 [35 favorites]


what, if anything, happens to our consciousness after death

It's quite a bit like our consciousness before birth.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:55 PM on March 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


Last month one of their church members Tweeted that they "don't worship the dead, so there'd be no public memorial or funeral to picket if any member died." (This was before it was known that Fred was about to croak.)

So, I guess don't hold your breath waiting for a funeral to picket.
posted by dnash at 12:57 PM on March 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


roomthreeseventeen: "Why isn't this a double post?"

Because "It is appointed unto man to die once, and after that, The Judgement."

I still believe we need to make Fred Phelps' Memorial Gay Orgies become a thing, nationwide. We really don't even have to make it gay, hell, it doesn't even have to be just Sodomy. it can just be a lot of hardcore fucking all over the place. What a tribute, I say!
posted by symbioid at 1:05 PM on March 20, 2014



posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:07 PM on March 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


A truly great asshole. He will be missed by assholes everywhere.

.
posted by nowhere man at 1:12 PM on March 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Today I will be listening to Lyle Lovett singing "God Will." Over and over. With relish.
posted by bakerina at 1:14 PM on March 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


I just noticed the ground feels warmer.. is something going on down there?
posted by crapmatic at 1:15 PM on March 20, 2014


Fred Phelps called my Grandmother a "buttfucker."

Come on, that's pretty awesome. A goddamn badge of honor.
posted by ColdChef at 1:18 PM on March 20, 2014 [19 favorites]




Fred Phelps picketed Fred Rogers's Funeral.

...and the mourners sang to them.

Such is the power of Mr. Rogers.
posted by Mooski at 1:28 PM on March 20, 2014 [40 favorites]


Come on, that's pretty awesome. A goddamn badge of honor.

Something for the résumé.
posted by brundlefly at 1:31 PM on March 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Asshole one-upmanship was exactly the WBC/Phelps stock in trade and lifework.

It's amusing to see people choose to continue in his example rather than finding the only thing that can eliminate it: indifference.
posted by rhizome at 1:32 PM on March 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


I still believe we need to make Fred Phelps' Memorial Gay Orgies become a thing, nationwide.

I am a fan of lady parts myself, but get a couple of drinks in me and I'm willing to help celebrate the cause.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 1:33 PM on March 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


Asshole one-upmanship was exactly the WBC/Phelps stock in trade and lifework.

It's amusing to see people choose to continue in his example rather than finding the only thing that can eliminate it: indifference.
Who exactly is one-upping Fred Phelps? How exactly are they doing so?

As for indifference being the only possible thing that can help, that seems both trite and baseless.
posted by Flunkie at 1:36 PM on March 20, 2014 [6 favorites]


Time for Louis Theroux to visit the family again, I think.
posted by 0127661 at 1:37 PM on March 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Man sometimes I wish hell was real.
posted by glaucon at 1:37 PM on March 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


Fred Phelps picketed Fred Rogers's Funeral.
posted by ColdChef at 4:24 PM on March 20


It is Fred Rogers birthday today. I'm going to choose to remember the better Fred.
posted by glaucon at 1:38 PM on March 20, 2014 [7 favorites]


If there's a funeral, everyone should turn up dressed flamboyantly and then proceed to celebrate & eulogize Fred Rogers. And hug the hell out of Phelps wretched family, just to freak them out.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:41 PM on March 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Good Riddance, Fred Phelps (the Time.com obit)
posted by donovan at 1:43 PM on March 20, 2014 [4 favorites]


Man sometimes I wish hell was real.

Don't worry. The guest of honor has arrived. We're throwing him a Fryers Club Roast.
posted by Welcome to Hell, Fred at 1:44 PM on March 20, 2014 [5 favorites]


Catblack : Phelps practiced hate because it drew an income from suing people who violated their first amendment rights. He trained his family and church members well so they could sue anyone who tried to stop their protests.

This is actually the thing I despised most about him and his family; the frank cynicism inherent in this tactic. I actually hated them because they weren't honest about their bigotry: I understand bigots; I don't agree with them, but I understand how someone who grew up not interacting with other cultures or sexual orientations might be frightened and other a group of people. Humans seem hardwired to mistrust those that they didn't grow up with, so I get that.

But the thing is, I've seen quite a few bigots change their beliefs once they had extended exposure to the people that they hated. It doesn't happen every day, and I'd guess that for most forms of bigotry, it's a lifelong belief, but for some people, it does go away.

But this church traded in bullshit; being very public about their "hatreds" was just a ploy to make money off of litigation. And unlike bigots who reform, I've never seen a charlatan change their ways when money is being made.

That they unintentionally gave voice to other bigots, and made it harder for them to get past their preconceived notions is just the cherry on the asshole cake that is the Westboro church.

I'm glad their number is one less today.
posted by quin at 1:46 PM on March 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


Something for the résumé.

I should put "got yelled at by WBC members" and "WBC members threatened to sue me for assaulting them" on mine.
posted by NoraReed at 1:47 PM on March 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Onion Obit
posted by Cookiebastard at 1:51 PM on March 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


Or was that the limbering up piss before this real, earnest piss?

No. That was rubbing our hands together and chortling in anticipation.
posted by tyllwin at 1:59 PM on March 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


.
posted by dogwalker at 2:02 PM on March 20, 2014


symbioid: "roomthreeseventeen: "Why isn't this a double post?""

I think a fitting tribute to this man would be a Metafilter mod deleting the obit FPP and saying "just toss it into the open Fred Phelps thread"
posted by chavenet at 2:09 PM on March 20, 2014


Don't smile because it's over. Cry because it happened.

(And then stop crying, move forward, and make it better.)
posted by ilana at 2:14 PM on March 20, 2014 [2 favorites]




As I said earlier on Twitter, the first thing I ever wrote about me being gay for public consumption was for an article for a creative non-fiction class about watching Fred Phelps on Ricki Lake which lead into a general background piece on the WBC and other like-minded groups, which keeping in mind it was 1994 was slightly harder than just typing in "asshole hate filled guy from Ricki Lake" into a search engine.

The positive response I got from it is what made me decide to be an English major, so if you've ever enjoyed anything I wrote or was even just glad I didn't end up being a math/comp sci major or a lawyer, you owe it to Fred Phelps.

I mean, fuck everything he stood for, but there's that.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 2:24 PM on March 20, 2014 [6 favorites]


Fred Phelps picketed Fred Rogers's Funeral.
posted by ColdChef at 4:24 PM on March 20


The paragraph on the WBC children sickened me. Imagine what it would be like to be forced into being in that picket, again and again, being confronted with disgust and hostility every time and knowing that this is something your own care-givers are seeking out.

Whether they were sixteen or six, they looked to be already exhausted, already depleted, with greasy hair, dirty faces, and circles under their eyes that had already hardened into purplish dents.

And all that is because of this motherfucker! Damn him.
posted by topynate at 2:29 PM on March 20, 2014


I'm gonna have a same-sex kiss today, and I propose everyone else do the same. You know, to get some good ol' same-sex-kiss karma out there today!
posted by mudpuppie at 2:33 PM on March 20, 2014


The Phelps' are a hate addiction cult. They shoulda eaten shrooms instead.
posted by planetesimal at 2:43 PM on March 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Wouldn't it be cool if the Westboro Baptist Church picketed their own founder's funeral? Now that would show real commitment to whatever the fuck it is they think they are doing.
posted by w0mbat at 3:10 PM on March 20, 2014 [8 favorites]


My wife used to get threatening faxes from Westboro Baptist on a regular basis. They stopped a number of months ago.

Saw a WBC protest a few years ago in Greenwich. Little kids holding signs that said the most vile things.

I'll shed no tears for that shit-filled intolerant racist asshole bigot Fred Phelps. Worth noting his positive effects (clearly the very opposite of what he intended) on the gay rights / equality and tolerance movements.

But may he rot in hell for teaching children to hate. And may he burn for eternity for the fear and pain he caused so many innocents.
posted by zarq at 3:18 PM on March 20, 2014


Bye haters
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:27 PM on March 20, 2014


:D
posted by EatTheWeak at 3:30 PM on March 20, 2014 [1 favorite]




A New Face in Hell
posted by Zerowensboring at 3:35 PM on March 20, 2014


No hate. Glad it is over. Move on. The smaller the footnote, the better.
posted by shockingbluamp at 3:49 PM on March 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


I feel sorry for someone who was so corroded by irrational hatred that he would go out of his way to harass and taunt grieving families. I am glad that he is now at peace.

Most importantly, though, I hope the people he misled and especially the people he targeted continue to heal, thrive, and flourish.
posted by en forme de poire at 4:02 PM on March 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


I hope the church dies soon too, but I'm not optimistic that it would represent very much progress in the fight against homophobia in our society. Westboro members have been incredible hurtful, to put it mildly, but their hate isn't infectious. Their behaviour is despicable to all decent people. Unfortunately, some mainstream religious communities teach decent and loving people to be homophobic. And that is the real sinister and poisonous stuff that is harder to discount and combat than Westboro.

Not to diminish the hurt that Phelps and his church have caused. It will be a glorious day when we hear nothing more from goddamn Westboro.
posted by beau jackson at 4:17 PM on March 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


God hates old people, apparently.

He is not alone in this, apparently.
posted by y2karl at 4:29 PM on March 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


It'd be awesome if everyone just ignored his funeral. No demonstrators, no media. No one but his followers. Like an unmemorial.
posted by mullacc at 4:30 PM on March 20, 2014


"Like an unmemorial"

Amnesiorial?
posted by bz at 4:36 PM on March 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


The family has stated that they don't believe in holding funerals anyway.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:36 PM on March 20, 2014


Oh! I thought of the opposite of .

\o/
posted by NoraReed at 4:55 PM on March 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


I am glad that Fred Phelps will never hurt anyone again, although I bet at least some members of his family will go to their graves nursing the hate he implanted in them.

His was a monstrous life, and his death is a relief to us all.

Oh, and if you want to celebrate, I can't think of a better way to do so than by checking out the video of Michael Moore's encounter with Fred Phelps.
posted by orange swan at 5:07 PM on March 20, 2014


Because every life is worth something.

In this case, a negative amount.
posted by John Cohen at 5:18 PM on March 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


Against my better thinking...I will post Louis Theroux America's Most Hated Family in Crisis..(SLYT) a human face on a family....that IS a family. A hateful bunch to be sure...but...you gotta think....they PUT IT OUT THERE...unlike some who hate on the inside and by passive aggressive means, further the dogma. So there.
posted by shockingbluamp at 5:28 PM on March 20, 2014


grubi: "Fuck him — and thoroughly."

Don't forget sideways!
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 5:28 PM on March 20, 2014


Asshole one-upmanship was exactly the WBC/Phelps stock in trade and lifework.

It's amusing to see people choose to continue in his example rather than finding the only thing that can eliminate it: indifference.


I wish it was as amusing to read people's sanctimonious reaction to Fred Phelps being treated as unworthy of mourning. To be repeatedly informed that this abusive, hate-filled man was still a part of humanity and therefore deserving of even a modicum of respect, or sorrow, or even just indifference rather than having any form of emotional reaction.

But no, to react as if the world got slightly better with his death or to even acknowledge that one of the most vocal, despicable bigots of our time not being around to spread hate anymore might actually be a good thing - that's feeling things wrong.

Perhaps if those of us who feel any happiness, or relief, or any positive emotional reaction to someone who was one of the worst humans around were to acknowledge that we are clearly not as emotionally mature or above the fray as the paragons of humanity and empathy such as yourself, we could get on with the thread without quite so much condescension.

But I don't find it amusing, because I actually find it quite insulting that personal reactions to his death that state how and why he was a terrible person - no exaggerations, all truths - are being compared to the hatred he and the WBC continually expressed.
posted by gadge emeritus at 5:43 PM on March 20, 2014 [10 favorites]


Here's hoping his afterlife is spent in an eternal happy hour in the campiest, most besequined everlasting drag bar. And that when he blinked into awareness in that place, the first sound he heard was the gentle wooshing of the yard-long faux lashes glued to his own eyelids as he peered down at the fabulous evening gown wrapped around his soul.

(_*_)
posted by CKmtl at 5:52 PM on March 20, 2014


I'd just like to state for posterity that if anyone wants to dance on my grave when I die, or otherwise be gleeful and express happiness that I'm dead, I'm totally okay with that because I will fucking be dead and be incapable of caring (or, if you like, have more important things on my mind).

You should avoid being personally a dick about my death to the people who love me that I leave behind, because all things being equal, mocking other people's emotional pain is an asshole move.

But, generally, when evil men die, all the world should dance a jig. Maybe we might mourn the person they were before they were evil, but that person probably passed a long time ago. The person who just died made the world a better place with their death, and that's a good thing, worth celebrating.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 5:57 PM on March 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


I find it difficult to celebrate anyone's death. I think being a good person is its own reward, and Phelps, by not being one, deprived himself of the true joy of life. I am sad that he was unable to look beyond his own petty, local perspective, and in so doing basically wasted his time here.
posted by JHarris at 6:01 PM on March 20, 2014 [6 favorites]


Have you noticed the "don't fight fire with fire" "hate begets hate" and shit is almost always something told to marginalized people and is always a method to police how they respond to the vitriol slung against them?

I mean, shit, the world can be goddamn terrible sometimes, especially to LGBTQ folks, and some small part of how fucked up the world is can be attributed to this jackass. If grave-dancing brings you joy, dance the fucking night away. I mean, be careful where you step, since from what I'm reading his grave is gonna be some kind of excrement-soaked open-air latrine, so maybe dance with care, or dance somewhere else, for your own health and the longevity of your dancin' shoes.
posted by NoraReed at 6:06 PM on March 20, 2014 [16 favorites]


Let the sad, hateful man be buried in peace and let his family mourn in private.

lol no. If people aren't having a chilli cookout and a massive gay rave right at graveside, then America has failed.
posted by turbid dahlia at 6:22 PM on March 20, 2014 [12 favorites]


Have you noticed the "don't fight fire with fire" "hate begets hate" and shit is almost always something told to marginalized people and is always a method to police how they respond to the vitriol slung against them?

I've honestly never looked at it that way, and I suppose being told to turn the other cheek sounds like self-serving bullshit from someone who isn't constantly being slapped.

I personally don't want to control or police you or anyone else. I've just spent a significant part of my life being very, very angry, and I can tell you that letting go of it is an absolutely fucking awesome feeling if you can manage it. It's so awesome that I honestly wish every single person on the planet could spend their days feeling that sensation.
posted by Mooski at 6:22 PM on March 20, 2014 [4 favorites]


The man was so twisted with hate that they will have to screw him into the ground.
posted by double block and bleed at 6:24 PM on March 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


"I've just spent a significant part of my life being very, very angry, and I can tell you that letting go of it is an absolutely fucking awesome feeling if you can manage it."

That is very, very true but it's really a different sort of thing than telling people that they're making things worse by being happy that someone has died or that it's inherently wrong. If you're offering advice to someone for their own benefit, because you believe that they'll be happier, more content people when they don't spend as much time hating and being angry, then you'll offer that advice with that focus on them and your concern for them. Not, you know, being censorious "for their own good".

Also, it's worth noting that not everyone else who is angry at something/someone has spent their entire life being generally angry. In which case, your advice doesn't really apply to them, either.

I do agree that all things being equal, hate makes the world a worse place. But all things are rarely equal. And my own rule is that I'm very certain that hatred of groups of people, hatred that vilifies and dehumanizes them, is very definitely something that makes the world a worse place and so I work very hard to reduce that in myself. But hatred of a particular individual, who has demonstrably harmed others and made the world a worse place and, as it happens, someone who has vilified and cultivated a hatred of groups of people? That's either rational and justified, or a very small thing by comparison.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 6:57 PM on March 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


I can't say I disagree with much of what you have to say, Ivan. I guess the best I can respond with is something borrowed from someone else: Hatred is like swallowing poison and expecting the other person to die.

The man's honestly not worth it, you know?
posted by Mooski at 7:03 PM on March 20, 2014 [4 favorites]


Afterwards it occured to me that all this reminded me of one of my favorite scenes in Angels In America.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:04 PM on March 20, 2014


As per the comments regarding Rev. Fred Phelps picketing Rev. Fred Rogers funeral, perhaps it would be appropriate to descend on the Phelps funeral en masse singing "It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood…".
posted by TedW at 7:14 PM on March 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


.
posted by lester at 7:15 PM on March 20, 2014


I don't think it's completely fair to condemn him for his hateful conduct. Unfortunately, he had an extreme case of the God delusion: "If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them." Leviticus 20:13. Someday we'll have a cure.
posted by wmoskowi at 7:31 PM on March 20, 2014


Have you noticed the "don't fight fire with fire" "hate begets hate" and shit is almost always something told to marginalized people and is always a method to police how they respond to the vitriol slung against them?

This is not accurate. It can certainly be put by the powerful to that use, but some of the greatest men in history, themselves marginalized, have taught us to be forgiving, and been right, and still won.

And when oppressors say it, it never comes out right. It tends to sound hilarious.
posted by JHarris at 7:32 PM on March 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


Really? I'm glad you find it funny. Even if I did too, it'd be a fucking old joke by now, because I can't seem to go a day without seeing one of the people I follow get accused of being "heterophobic" or "misanderist" or "reverse racist".
posted by NoraReed at 8:01 PM on March 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


Have you noticed the "don't fight fire with fire" "hate begets hate" and shit is almost always something told to marginalized people and is always a method to police how they respond to the vitriol slung against them?

No. True morality lies in the superiority of ideas - there's some limited use for sluggin' away at the social and the physical level, but only ever to make space for the ideas to have space to grow and prove their worth. E.g.: Gandhi.
posted by Sebmojo at 8:04 PM on March 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


Hey, wandering back off topic just for funsies...

"none other than the late Sen. Barry Goldwater believed passionately that the world would be a better place if it were under attack from space aliens. He thought that the Cold War would instantly end and that we would all work together for the protection of earth. Goldwater also believed more generally that the US government was covering up evidence of literal space aliens,"


Did he ever hook up with Edgar Mitchell? Man, I love that guy, he's a freaking hippie spaceman.

But that said: I like the idea, Barry, but in the end, I think we'd just slaughter the shit out of space aliens, because enough of our population still can't handle people with slightly different skin colors or sexual preferences or anything else slightly different from others. If we can't handle that, we sure as fuck can't handle the visiting tentacle people. Well, maybe the Japanese could... So, aliens, should you ever read this, please stay away from us. We're still not up to handling you yet. Especially when we're waiting for all the guys like this to die off.

BROUGHT IT BACK ON TOPIC, BOOYAH.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:07 PM on March 20, 2014


The powerful love to praise Gandhi because he's the exception to the rule that usually folk like him are summarily executed. He's a great role model if you want to protect the status quo.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:08 PM on March 20, 2014 [4 favorites]


Really? I'm glad you find it funny.

...what?

I cannot connect your statement with what I was replying to. I would suggest that directing your anger at me is probably misplaced.

But anyway yes, people calling others heterophobes, that's the stuff of satire, even if it actually happens in the real world. One valid response to it is to laugh, to ridicule and mock. It's not the only one, but it beats getting depressed about it.
posted by JHarris at 8:10 PM on March 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm not usually angry about shit like this. I'm frequently disappointed. And while I'm glad mocking this shit works for you, I don't think anyone here asked for advice on how to feel about Phelps' death or anything else, and so generally coming in and saying "you shouldn't be angry", "you shouldn't be joyful", "you shouldn't be hateful" will come off as patronizing at best.

I think it's pretty easy to say that any group that's full of shit is the "stuff of satire" from a distance, but when they're in your face all the fucking time, that changes, whether you're dealing with MRAs, anti-vaxxers, creationists, homophobes or some other group of misinformed assholes.
posted by NoraReed at 8:29 PM on March 20, 2014 [4 favorites]


The powerful love to praise Gandhi because he's the exception to the rule that usually folk like him are summarily executed. He's a great role model if you want to protect the status quo.

That's pretty nonsensical, Ivan. He beat the British Empire which was a pretty big status quo. And he's not the exception to the rule, he's a different rule.

Regimes can't keep summarily executing people and keep their legitimacy. And even crazy old N Korea cares a little bit about legitimacy, otherwise it wouldn't fake its elections with such childish care.
posted by Sebmojo at 8:31 PM on March 20, 2014


Saw this in the newsfeeds and I gave it no more than a casual glance because my opinion matters not one whit to the world but if I had a chance to have my thoughts put out in the open they would be along the lines of,

"Adios fuckhead."
posted by RolandOfEld at 8:32 PM on March 20, 2014


You know the great thing about tomorrow is?

Phelps will still be dead, dead, dead.

And that's the start of a pretty good day.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:37 PM on March 20, 2014 [7 favorites]


Looking forward to the Bugle's fuckeulogy on Phelps. Good riddance.

Hug someone today and tell them that you love them. That's how we win.
This. A thousand, million times.
posted by arcticseal at 8:47 PM on March 20, 2014


I hope we never see someone like him again.

Wouldn't that be wonderful. Unfortunately we all effectively live in a world much like Westeros, in this case Westboros, so we know we'll see plenty of his like again and again.

DOCTOR: Just touch these two strands together and the Daleks are finished. Have I that right?
SARAH: To destroy the Daleks? You can't doubt it.
DOCTOR: Well, I do. You see, some things could be better with the Daleks. Many future worlds will become allies just because of their fear of the Daleks.


If this was done new Who style there would be a lot more dialogue, a lot more action, and a lot more dramatic music to ensure that you, the viewer, get how unfathmonably and infinitely huge this moment and this decision is, and how hard it is to make the decision and, of course, how dramatic it is, how very, very, mindboggingly, unbelievably dramatic it is because just a few words are not enough for we, the viewers, to get what's happening.
posted by juiceCake at 8:55 PM on March 20, 2014


This is not accurate. It can certainly be put by the powerful to that use, but some of the greatest men in history, themselves marginalized, have taught us to be forgiving, and been right, and still won.

I'm not even saying "forgive." I'm saying that the desecration of community spaces that we fought hard to be included into is at the heart of why I object to the WBC's graveside protests. Funeral homes refusing to work with gay and bisexual men, families riven because loved ones were unworthy of being memorialized with them, and celebrants facing censure and excommunication for performing services all happened in my lifetime. The WBC's protests are an attack on the principle that we should be memorialized with dignity and respect. I call that evil, a banal evil to be sure, but an evil nevertheless. This is not a moral and religious principle tangential to my queerness, and I have few objections to calling any attempted graveside protest evil.

But I think most of this advocated hooliganism is just lip anyway.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 9:04 PM on March 20, 2014


Who. Fucking. Cares?

Didn't we just have a Fred Phelps is dying post? Like 3 days ago? This is totally a double post, ironically about someone who doesn't deserve any attention at all, ever again.

Just because it's fun to hate on the guy seems a poor excuse for the redundancy.
posted by spitbull at 9:04 PM on March 20, 2014 [2 favorites]




NoraReed: I think it's pretty easy to say that any group that's full of shit is the "stuff of satire" from a distance, but when they're in your face all the fucking time, that changes, whether you're dealing with MRAs, anti-vaxxers, creationists, homophobes or some other group of misinformed assholes.

I live in rural Georgia. I have a closer view of this kind of thing than you might think, much closer than I would like. I'm not saying you "should" do anything. I am trying to offer a perspective, take or leave, but one that has helped me stay sane. You don't have to bite my head off.
posted by JHarris at 10:48 PM on March 20, 2014


Only the good die young.
posted by sexyrobot at 11:07 PM on March 20, 2014


My dear old gramma was 92 when she passed. You besmirch her honour. Pistols at dawn, sexyrobot.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:40 AM on March 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


I propose (*). It's an asshole.

No that clearly is an Heinleinian tit (.) whose nipple went spung (*).
posted by MartinWisse at 12:56 AM on March 21, 2014


Regimes can't keep summarily executing people and keep their legitimacy.

Is the US losing its legitimacy? Are the local police forces that keep shooting people of color? I mean, you could make an argument that they are losing legitimacy as a result of that, I suppose. They aren't really doing a good job of finding and targeting people that they find to be dangerous nonviolent organizers, they're pretty much just killing people, but it doesn't seem to be causing massive destabilization of the US government.

On a totally different note: I don't think there's any virtue in not expressing anger at the dead. I think the idea that we shouldn't express anger at the dead hurts a lot of people, both on a macro scale, as is the case with celebrity deaths like Phelps, and at a micro scale, where people's reactions to the deaths of people around them is policed for appropriateness.

I also think that the narrative that "hate begets hate" often conflates hate with completely justified anger, and tends to be disproportionately applied to marginalized people. This is often done by showing examples of nonviolent activists, who often have had their stories painted over with a whitewashed, nonaggressive, more status quo friendly version.

And I have issues with that as a queer American because the tide of LGBT activism didn't turn because of someone like Ghandi. It turned because of Stonewall.

I've stood in front of the Westboro Baptist Church's protest of my local University. I was sixteen. I wore angel wings; we did the whole Romaine Patterson nine yards. They screamed their throats out and threatened to sue us for assault when the wind caught one of our wings and it brushed against them.

I've stood up around the anti-gay preachers that aren't with the WBC but operate out of a similar rulebook (albeit one with somewhat wordier and less elegant sign design) with a "Love = Love" sign at that university. I've laughed at these people, because I don't want to give them the satisfaction of doing otherwise.

Away from them I've been angry. I've been scared.

And all of those things are valid. Because they are emotions being held and expressed by a human being.

Since I became a feminist I became a lot more aware of how policing people's emotions works because I started to see it through the gendered lens, but that started opening it up in other ways too, and humans do it to each other all the time. The idea that it's not valid to take joy in someone's death. To express anger at someone who has caused us pain, because that "feeds the troll" or "plays into his hands".

Maybe forgiving him will help some of you, for spiritual reasons or otherwise. To you, I say that I hope you find closure and healing in that, and I hope it makes it easier for you to deal with homophobia in the future.

For those of us who find power in our anger: may your fire keep us warm and burn those who deserve it. May it lend us eloquence and vivacity. And if the rest of you want to come to our graveside party, we'll pour you a drink.
posted by NoraReed at 1:11 AM on March 21, 2014 [11 favorites]


Time magazine has an obituary.

By bringing his family along, he gave the impression of numbers, and by calling this vile façade a “church,” he tapped into poisonous millennia of religious conflict to turbocharge his egomania. A man waving a sign that says “I Hate Fags” is pathetic; a man waving a sign that says “God Hates Fags” is news.
posted by epo at 1:20 AM on March 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


chaplainjesuslady (blog of a hospital chaplain, very thoughtful): Two Freds (and me)
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:22 AM on March 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


I am glad I lived to see this. Good riddance to bad rubbish. He was a bigot; moreover, he was an abuser who cajoled his family and his children into a radical cult. The world is better without him in it and I hope his "church" falls apart in his wake.
posted by one of these days at 5:34 AM on March 21, 2014


NoraReed, your anger is misplaced.

Nobody here is saying that he should be forgiven. Some of us are saying that hate begets hate.

And before you start, I'm gay.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 5:51 AM on March 21, 2014


Who. Fucking. Cares?

You know, my friend, if nothing else, obituaries remind us (or me, they remind me) that thus also will it come to you (or to me, in this case). If I found myself writing this sentiment a lot, I think I'd reevaluate how I was spending my leisure time.

Some of us are saying that hate begets hate.

And this is true, but aren't there degrees here? Obsessively disrupting people at their most grief-stricken is different from heckling someone to their face which is different from writing a few wry or mocking remarks at an internet forum. Collapse those distinctions and it starts to become hard to even say what "hate" is. Now I agree: it's mostly pointless to hate or even be annoyed by the likes of Phelps and dwelling on him is even worse, but polite indifference needn't be the only proper reaction. My own rule for speaking ill of the dead is "Keep in mind the gravity of occasion and try to be funny."
posted by octobersurprise at 6:48 AM on March 21, 2014




I hope he finds the peace in his next that he was so obviously unable to find in this life.
posted by kalessin at 8:12 AM on March 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


WTF is with this pathetic need to police others' emotions? Look after your own: they're the only ones you've any right to moderate.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:33 AM on March 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


feckless fecal fear mongering: "Some of us are saying that hate begets hate."

Yes, it most certainly can.

My family was targeted by that asshole and his cult of vicious bigots.

Hatred is a mild term for what I feel for them.
posted by zarq at 8:36 AM on March 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


There's room for and should be room for the full spectrum of responses to the news of this man's passing. I just hope we don't end up alienating each other over his passing because boy would he love that.
posted by kalessin at 8:41 AM on March 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


kalessin: " I just hope we don't end up alienating each other over his passing because boy would he love that."

I think any time a controversial figure dies, people are going to suggest that it would be better if we rose above their legacy. Which isn't a bad thing.

I'm less comfortable with telling people they shouldn't be angry. Feeling fury, resentment, anger, conflicted and/or other emotions should be acceptable, too.
posted by zarq at 8:48 AM on March 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


There is no way that Phelps didn't have a positive sum effect on the world. If Phelps whole mega-troll persona wasn't a false flag operation,* it was indistinguishable in its consequences: it was one kook and his small family posing as a "church," (as if four people are somehow equivalent to 'Lutheran' or 'Mormon') inserting themselves in the spotlight to espouse shocking vitriol, allowing the media to consistently use Phelps as a foil for religious right sentiment. In reality, his shtick was offensive to everyone, as it was calculated to be. And this kind of larger media guilt by association has been highly effective in changing the zeitgeist: 30 years ago polls show almost everyone believing homosexuality immoral; this has very rapidly become a minority view, and it is now declasse to express this opinion in most social situations.

Phelps directly and measurably made life better for African-Americans. He did not directly make life better for gays, but his hateful persona pushed more people away from homophobia than drew people in, so he indirectly made the world a better place for gay people too.

Phelps had a more positive impact on the world than most people, and certainly more so than anyone in this thread: (.)


* and the whole Civil Rights Warrior background doesn't cast much doubt on this being a possibility. It also aligns rather nicely with the U.S. pattern of liberal students and faculty consistently doing things like painting swastikas around campuses to 'heighten the contradictions' and drum up campaigns against racism. Where right-wing extremists don't exist, they need to be invented to galvanize the forces. This proves that people like Phelps are actually needed, wanted by, and useful to progressives.
posted by dgaicun at 9:14 AM on March 21, 2014


There is no way that Phelps didn't have a positive sum effect on the world.

No, it's the people reacting to Phelps who had the positive effect on the world; Phelps doesn't get credit for that. It's like giving Osama bin Laden credit for they beauty of the new World Trade Center.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:36 AM on March 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


This is horrible, but seems germane and interesting as an artifact: Hatemongers, Steve Drain's extremely hagiographic, rather poor-quality documentary about the church that he joined.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:40 AM on March 21, 2014


In other news, the US invaded Iraq not for their oil or hypothetical WMDs, but to show the world just how evil war actually is.
posted by b1tr0t at 9:41 AM on March 21, 2014


There is no way that Phelps didn't have a positive sum effect on the world.

I'm serious, you should pitch "Fred Phelps, gay rights champion in disguise" to Slate, just to see if they'd run with it.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:45 AM on March 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


I'm less comfortable with telling people they shouldn't be angry

Good thing I never told anyone that, then.

In fact:
I don't see any need to forgive him. I don't see any reason not to be viciously, viscerally angry at the things he did and the attitudes he reinforced.

I do see a need to be better than him, though.
is what I said.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:51 AM on March 21, 2014


I'm serious, you should pitch "Fred Phelps, gay rights champion in disguise" to Slate, just to see if they'd run with it.

I'm sure they already have something in the works along the lines of:
"Turns Out: God Actually Does Hate Fags. And Why That's The Best Thing To Happen To Gay People Since Disco."
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:54 AM on March 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


On a somewhat related and fascinating note, Emmet Byrne, the Design Director of the Walker Art Center interviewed the media director for WBC a few years ago about their sign production. Turns out that they used Boulder, a ripoff of Kabel Black.
posted by Sreiny at 10:23 AM on March 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


O mighty God pls have mercy on his little fart huffing soul xthxbai!
posted by Meatbomb at 10:35 AM on March 21, 2014


You know the great thing about tomorrow is? Phelps will still be dead, dead, dead.

It's the gift that never stops giving!
posted by five fresh fish at 10:41 AM on March 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


feckless fecal fear mongering: "Good thing I never told anyone that, then. "

OK. Well, then let's break it down. What exactly did you mean when you told NoraReed "your anger is misplaced"?
posted by zarq at 10:54 AM on March 21, 2014


The anger she was expressing at people in this thread.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:12 AM on March 21, 2014


I'm curious about how others a reacting to this man's passing, but how about everybody stops telling everybody else how to feel and behave, and whether or not their emotions are correct? There isn't some one correct answer that we're supposed to figure out.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:44 AM on March 21, 2014


feckless fecal fear mongering: "The anger she was expressing at people in this thread."

I see. That wasn't clear to me.

I stand by the sentiment of what I said. But I misinterpreted your meaning. For that, I apologize.
posted by zarq at 12:01 PM on March 21, 2014




From the Topeka Journal-Sentinel (just to get the local coverage): Infamous preacher Fred Phelps dead at age 84
posted by Going To Maine at 1:15 PM on March 21, 2014


But of course to me you were always my Gramps. My kind, sweet, adoring Gramps.. Who beat the everliving shit out of his wife and children.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:20 PM on March 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


But of course to me you were always my Gramps. My kind, sweet, adoring Gramps.. Who beat the everliving shit out of his wife and children.

Love is complicated.
posted by Going To Maine at 1:31 PM on March 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


Love is blind.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:40 PM on March 21, 2014


Are we working on that series of propositions that end with up Ray Charles being God?
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 1:43 PM on March 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


If only I could find the Ray Charles / Michael O'Donoghue skit from SNL.
posted by Sticherbeast at 1:46 PM on March 21, 2014


I wish Time would correct the mistake in their article where they credit the Patriot Guard with starting the human wall strategy. That was Romaine Patterson.

Anyway, I'm not angry at y'all here, I'm angry at the WBC for being fuckdingnuts
posted by NoraReed at 2:42 PM on March 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


Why, yes, I will have another cappuccino! And one of those dainty snack sandwiches!
posted by zaelic at 1:24 AM on March 22, 2014


Well, on the latest The Bugle, John Oliver decided that he didn't even deserve a fuckeulogy, so I'm going to go along with that.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:22 AM on March 22, 2014 [1 favorite]




I came here to post that, tonycpsu.

It seems to me that there's not necessarily a need to fight the WBC. They have no influence on anyone and no effect on anything. Everyone hates them. Even the freaking KKK has denounced them and mounted counter protests to keep them from disrupting military funerals. The U.S. government has done what it could to minimize their activities by enacting laws to limit protests at funerals. The Canadian government has refused to allow members of the WBC to cross the border, and the UK government has also refused to allow them entry. They're going to continue to be a thorn in the side of American society, but there's nothing we can do about that except wait for the group to break apart of its own accord. They're a tough-minded and litigious gang and nothing we say or do will hasten that day, but there are internal forces that will bring them down in the end, such as internal strife and dwindling membership.

Really, the only task that remains to us is figuring out how to deal with the emotions such a hateful, horrible group generates in us. I'm not about to tell anyone how to do that. But I will say that I very much enjoy it when others respond with humour and creativity. I damn near died laughing when someone bought the house across the street from WBC, painted it to look like a big rainbow flag, and turned it into a gay rights headquarters. Michael Moore's Gay Team and Sodomobile stunts were hysterical. I've also loved it when people have formed counter protests or human walls outside funerals to keep the WBC from getting near it, or set up donation tables across the street from WBC protests to give onlookers a productive channel for the anger they felt. I've also enjoyed the discussion here for its wit and insight. So to me it looks like the best thing to do is feel the way I feel (which let me tell you does involve rage), and then try to act in whatever positive, productive way suggests itself, whether that's writing about it or donating money to a related cause or simply thinking about something else, because that's what the people I admire are doing.
posted by orange swan at 2:29 PM on March 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


I damn near died laughing when someone bought the house across the street from WBC, painted it to look like a big rainbow flag, and turned it into a gay rights headquarters.

The Westboro Equality House, part of a larger group called Planting Peace, recently announced a campaign called Uganda Underground designed to help lgtb Ugandans find safe housing and start over. It's asking for donations to "provide internally displaced people a safe haven from persecution to start over with shelter, electricity, and water." More:

In response to this crisis, Planting Peace has created Uganda Underground, a safe-housing project with sites positioned throughout the African nation. Modeled in part after the historic American abolitionist movement, the Underground Railroad, Uganda Underground and its homes will provide shelter and refuge for those attempting to protect themselves from such widespread prejudice and institutionalized violence. Our goal is to create safe places that serve as starting places for those who have been robbed of their dignity and are seeking to start their lives again in Uganda.

Why underground? The Ugandan government does not allow non-profits who are working on LGBTQ issues to operate within its borders. So our operation must remain underground, with the places of residence kept absolutely secret, in order to protect those in our care.


I'm not vouching for it, since I have no idea how serious and/or realistic the plan is, or how much of the $150/month donation they're asking for goes to overhead, etc. Just seemed worth mentioning.
posted by mediareport at 4:28 PM on March 22, 2014


or set up donation tables across the street from WBC protests to give onlookers a productive channel for the anger they felt

I say, that's brilliant.
posted by JHarris at 6:23 PM on March 22, 2014


I think any time a controversial figure dies, people are going to suggest that it would be better if we rose above their legacy.

Phelps is controversial? Really? Do you know any two people who have different opinions about him?
posted by John Cohen at 8:54 PM on March 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


John Cohen: "Phelps is controversial?"

In the sense that he sparked an ongoing nationwide debate (and a case that was ruled on by the SCOTUS, Snyder v. Phelps,) over whether and where a line should be drawn limiting free speech in this country when it came to expressions of hatred, yes. Free speech groups such as the ACLU supported the WBC during Snyder v. Phelps. People haven't forgotten it, either.. After SCOTUS ruled that the WBC's protests were protected speech, several states wound up changing their laws regarding where and how funeral protests are allowed to take place.

Being a controversial figure doesn't simply mean "Someone people disagree with." It can also mean, "Someone whose actions sparked debate / disagreement." Phelps most certainly did that.
posted by zarq at 9:55 PM on March 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


That counter-protest, wow.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:02 PM on March 22, 2014


Zarq, that doesn't make him controversial. The legal issue is controversial. It's controversial whether neo-Nazis should be allowed to march with swastika flags. The neo-Nazis themselves are not controversial.
posted by John Cohen at 10:21 PM on March 22, 2014


A good joke, JC, but a poor topic for debate. Pedantry is boring.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:13 AM on March 23, 2014


Zarq, that doesn't make him controversial.

We disagree.
posted by zarq at 4:20 AM on March 23, 2014


Amusingly enough, that makes us two people who have different opinions about the man (and his legacy.)
posted by zarq at 4:23 AM on March 23, 2014


No, it doesn't. You're making a tangential legal point, we don't disagree about Phelps at all. No one is disagreeing about Phelps. He is uncontroversially horrible.
posted by John Cohen at 10:26 AM on March 23, 2014


And five fresh fish, I am so sorry to bore you. I'll try to be more exciting in the future.
posted by John Cohen at 10:36 AM on March 23, 2014


Phelps is controversial? Really? Do you know any two people who have different opinions about him?

Phelps himself was "given to controversy", so yes, by definition Phelps was controversial. It doesn't matter if people agreed with him or not, in fact that they did not made him even more counter or contrary to the direction everyone else was going, or in Latin, CONTRA-VERSUS.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 9:05 AM on March 24, 2014 [1 favorite]




I think there may be a small clue to his mindset in his having attended West Point military academy: I suspect he hated it there and had a lasting dislike of the military, which partly explains the picketing of funerals.

This is surprisingly sloppy of Theroux - Phelps was admitted to West Point but never attended.
posted by Going To Maine at 3:17 PM on March 24, 2014


When my youngest daughter was 13 she tearfully disclosed to me she is a lesbian
She was concerned because two other queer friends of hers had been disowned by their parents.

I felt glad in my heart when I told her that she was not wrong or weird or fuckedup,
that I love her like nothing else in this world
that our home is a fortress
and any stupid bullshit stops at the sidewalk.

She said, "You can't protect me from everything."
No, I can't. And I can't imagine how what an ordeal it was for her.

That was a while ago. But for all of the laws passed since that day about marriage equality and non-discrimination, being queer is still difficult as it ever was.

Several years later my little motorcycle club was invited to join a praetorian guard for a military funeral where the Westboro people announced they would 'protest'.
It was a beautiful sight: veterans, womyn, small clubs and several loners riding in slow precision, all of us flying our colors.

We could have dismounted, beat the living shit out of the 'protestors' and made crosses for their graves from their signs.

We did not.

We dismounted and stood shoulder to shoulder in a phalanx, our backs turned against their hatred.
They were silent as the funeral proceeded. The single mother who lost her son received her flag.

There wasn't a dry eye among us.
posted by Pudhoho at 1:49 PM on April 12, 2014 [5 favorites]


Fred Phelps is gone.

Hatred isn't.
posted by Pudhoho at 1:58 PM on April 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


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