Fred Phelps: Nice knowing you

In case you hadn’t heard, Fred Phelps, the he-doth-protest-too-much anti-gay minister of the Westboro Baptist Church, met his Maker yesterday. Let’s hope he got more than a stern talking-to.

Remember, this is the guy whose flock, in addition to caterwauling on with its “God Hates Fags” propaganda inside a redneck echo chamber, protested at military funerals, citing the iron-clad logic of the transitive property of hate: God hates fags, God hates fag enablers, therefore God hates America. Hey, you can’t argue with math.

A rant about Phelps’ blackened soul and twisted interpretations of religious teachings would amount to one massive, righteous circle jerk. All of us, even those in the reverend’s tiny congregation, can agree that he was a supremely angry dude. Go to the WBC’s home page — yup, http://www.godhatesfags.com — and you’ll find, among other delights, a running ticker counting the number of “people whom God has cast into hell since you loaded this page.” (Fun fact: My number is up to 1,171.)

I will say, though, that I couldn’t have been more pleased to first read about Phelps’ death at, of all places, BuzzFeed. The story, a newser, plays it straight: no judgment or political agenda. But festooning the page’s border, along the right rail and below, is a spectacular variety of mostly LGBT-themed links, plus some other stuff that just feels … right:

Along with a “Congrats!” on the engagement of a kind of-famous lesbian couple and a breathless critique of the latest “Glee” episode, you’ve got “9 Condom Facts To Wrap Your Head Around,” “13 Things All Women Should Remember About Having Safe Sex With Other Women” and (my favorite) “The 15 Worst Place To Poop.”

I like to think of this as Phelps’ legacy. Because in the end, his off-the-deep-end vitriol did more to create a backlash of tolerance (and, possibly, poop jokes) than it did to stoke hate. Weirdly, the world might be a better place for having known Fred Phelps. Can’t say we’ll miss him, though.

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