Monday, March 17, 2014

I Have Anger Issues About Fred Phelps

It is not actually in my nature to hate people. In general I try to find at least one redeeming quality about a person, and hang on to that. But a huge exception in my life has been hate monger Fred Phelps and his freaky lawyer family. 

Recently Fred's estranged son has let the word out that his father is on his deathbed and has been recently excommunicated from the family church. Such lovely news which has stirred some interesting thoughts in my head of late... mainly how I will celebrate his being wiped from the earth. 

Hate isn’t always simply an emotion or some abstract state of mind. In my reckoning, hate even has an address. In this case, it resides at 3701 SW12th Street in Topeka, Kansas, where it lives with the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) community and its leader, the Reverend Fred Phelps who, along with his (mostly family) congregation, has made headlines around the world for hostile public declarations and incendiary protests against people and causes he considers to be sinful in the eyes of God.

These people have tried my patience in the name of abusing free speech since the late 80's. He first came into my world as he picketed the funerals of friends of mine who were victims of AIDS. His scary group is from Topeka, Kansas and I was living in Wichita, just two hours away... So I was an early witness to his special brand of ape shit crazy. 

In the late 80's and early 90's the gay men who had been smart enough to leave Wichita for gayer pastures were coming home to die. Unknowingly they were the first warriors in the AIDS Crisis. 

After coming back to the homeland with this terrible disease which no one seemed to understand - and Ronnie Regan wouldn't even acknowledge - many of them were shunned by their families and the local hospice care wouldn't even take them in. A group attached to one of the local gay churches started a hospice house and I volunteered. I answered phones, brought food, and gave general assistance to the medical staff who would come by periodically. 

These men were dropping like flies, with most of the scant research money available going to finding easier ways to diagnose and prevent the disease rather than treat it, a diagnosis of HIV-AIDS was a quick death sentence. Many didn't last more than six months after diagnosis. 

I went to more funerals than I care to talk about. Sweet young men taken out in the prime of their lives... and then there was the Phelps clan to remind me again of how many people actually hated us just for being ourselves.  

During those times I took my own vengeance in small ways, some of them we won't talk about here. One moment of inspirational genius came to me in the back pages of the local gay and lesbian magazine. Free samples of mfm porn sent to your home! ;) I even went to the library to get their address (this was a long time before the Internet, kiddies). The irony of the Phelps compound's postal code starting with 666 was not lost on me. 

In those days it was just the gays... Gage City Park in Topeka had been known as a place for gays and lesbians to be together outside of the bars - OK, and some cruising, of course. Phelps and his 13 kids had been picketing that park for years. This hit me personally. When I was underage, I would spend a lot of time hanging out in Wichita's "gay park". It was one place that my friends and I could just be ourselves. I remember very well reading about the picketing in Gage Park and thinking that if the Phelps brand of crazy came near my Oak Park, I could not be responsible for my actions.

But of course they didn't really receive media attention until their protests at Matthew Shepard's funeral. Matthew was the homosexual college student from Laramie, Wyoming who was tortured, beaten and left for dead on a fenceline in rural Wyoming. His death sparked local and national hate crime legislation, but it also brought the Phelps family into the spotlight as the Phelps children picketed Matthew's funeral next to adults holding signs which proclaimed "Thank GOD for AIDS" and other lovely epitaths.  

Since that time they've become infamous for their special brand of crazy protests. Saying that America is doomed, that the wars are GOD's wrath for America's increased acceptance of homosexuals, picketing the funerals of anyone who seems to support gay rights, and yes, even the Jewish community is a target for these silly assholes.

One must remember that all of this seems to have been simply a business to Fred and his family of lawyers and paralegals who used their pretend family church of hate to sue anyone who obstructed their right to free speech.  They twisted the law to their own financial benefit in more ways than can be counted. They were the thorn in the side of the legal world in Topeka and Kansas, spreading into the federal realm as well. It seemed that their modus operandi was to sue a person or a company in the hopes that they would just settle... and many did. 

Although he was eventually disbarred from the legal profession, he caused lots of trouble along the way. Fred even sued a local legal university insisting that it admit his children so that they could study law... on the basis that they were a minority because of his civil rights movement. They sued Sears for $50,000 because of a late TV delivery (they lost). They sued a court reporter who they insisted came late with an important document.  Religion and Christianity had nothing to do with their lawsuit business, it was just a way to finance their own brand of hate.

A FABULOUS moment for the gays was when a house across the street from the WBC compound was taken over and painted with rainbow colors... The Equality House was born. Ah... a constant rainbow presense in their lives, I hope they enjoy it.  

I've had to evaluate how I feel about all of this. Since the story has broken about him being on his death bed I've had mixed emotions. The first one was to picket his damn funeral and dance with gay glee on his grave. OK, so that probably won't happen. I understand that I certainly wouldn't be alone. Think about it, how sad is your life when hordes of people are celebrating your impending death? 

My next thought is that I hope he rots in hell. Funny statement from an Atheist. But if there really is a God and a heaven and hell, I hope this guy gets everything which is coming to him. If NOTHING else, that whole "taking the Lord's name in vain" stuff should get him in hot water. 

In the end what do I really feel? Relief. 
Soon this appaling excuse for a man will be in the ground. 
Also hope that his legacy will simply wither away to nothing now that the figurehead of the family is gone. 

Something else niggling around in my head is the interesting side note that Fred Phelps was excommunicated from his own church in August of 2013, moved into a different house and placed on a suicide watch. Right now I am wondering why. What could he have done to get kicked out? Maybe in the end he finally admitted that the base of his disgusting homophobia is rooted deeply in his own homosexual feelings.

NKP - Never Know Peace Fred Phelps. I hope your hate dies with you. I know that I will breathe easier knowing that you no longer walk this same earth.

Edit 20 March, 2014

Phelps has died. While it pains me to say it, I am happy that this sad little man who has spread hate in so many ways... is worm food. My prediction; the family he leaves behind which has been steeped in hate, will turn on each other. The "church" will change direction. They will go another way in order to remain tax free and continue to use the law to their benefit. His daughter who was the most vocal other than Fred, has already been pushed aside and several male members have taken over. Hopefully they decide to stop spreading their hate so widely and just turn everything within and let it stay there. NKP Fred Phelps.

No comments: