Queer Christian Response to News About Fred Phelps Sr’s Health

How should the LGBT community respond to the (eventual) death of Fred Phelps?



William S. Burnett writes:

We’ll leave aside the question of the relationship between God and the “fags.” Using people’s funerals is a horrible way to communicate your beliefs to a wider audience. I don’t personally think that’s what was meant by “freedom of speech” or “freedom of assembly” in our Constitution. But I’m neither a Constitutional lawyer nor a judge, so I’ll leave that alone. I’ll just say that the expression of their hate knew no boundaries! In the Catholic community, we would call that “pastoral insensitivity” at the least; but I think “pastoral insensitivity” is a big understatement!

Over the years, I had been incredibly incensed by Fred Phelps, Sr. and his clan, both as a queer and as a Christian. As a queer, I was incensed because I was the primary target of their vehemence; and, because in their hate, they were trying to project an ugly, evil image of me that was far removed from who I was. As a Christian, I was incensed because they made Christianity look hateful and vile. In the process, they were trying to force a wedge between who I am and what I believe.

I read a lot of celebratory commentary on the internet, today, in response to the news of Fred Phelps’ demise; and I read calls to picket Phelps’ funeral when that day comes, just so they can see what it feels like to have your funeral protested. That disheartens me, and I say, “no!”  I know they were heartless when they protested people’s funerals. But are we really like them? Are we heartless too? The Phelps family will be grieving. Let them grieve privately. It’s the humane thing to do. We’ll have plenty of chances to get back at them later.

My response comes as both a Christian and as a queer. As a Christian, I had consistently made, over the years, the observation that the Phelps’ family were not correctly representing Christianity. We were called to love and to evangelize, not to hate. If I were truly called by Jesus Christ, then I was called to live and to love in the way Christ called me to. I’m still called that way now. Would Christ act in angry spite at someone’s funeral? I hardly think so. Neither should I. This is our opportunity to have the truly Christian compassion for the Phelps family that the Phelps family did not have for others.

As a queer, I have read assertions, over the years, that the hate spewed by the Phelps’ family and their Westboro Baptist Church was proof that Christians are not the loving humanitarians they try to present themselves as being; and that queers  know better how to love, empathize and honor people in their vulnerability. In other words, being an honest-to-goodness humanitarian is better than being a Christian. To my fellow members of the LGBT community, I would say now is the perfect time to prove that. Do you really want to reinforce the ugly claims the Westboro Baptist Church has made about you or do you want to take this opportunity to show you’re better?

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8 Comments on "Queer Christian Response to News About Fred Phelps Sr’s Health"

  1. Thurlow Weed | Mar 18, 2014 at 11:20 pm |

    William S. Burnett needs to be deprogrammed, Christianity has got its hooks in him deep, and he likes it. You get one shot at showing up at Phelps funeral with your signs and message. Don’t blow it thinking that turning the other cheek inspires anyone to do more that flock together as sheep. Show up with a big day-glo color sign that says GOD LOVES PHELPS DESPITE HIS HATE, if you need to be all meek and Christian-like, but show up and do your job cause it’s likely Fred isn’t rising from the grave again.

    • Damien Quinn | Mar 19, 2014 at 10:42 am |

      On the other hand, Phelps won’t suddenly become a lesser cunt because Billy Burnett crawls down to his level and protests a funeral.

      • True. Phelps will be a much lesser cunt once he dies.

        • Damien Quinn | Mar 20, 2014 at 6:18 am |

          I’m sure his legacy will live on, self-rightous hatred is always popular.

          • It’s looking like the monster he created destroyed him–apparently his daughter was ousted by a group of male elders and then he was excommunicated for advocating “kindness” among church members in response. It’ll be interesting to see if the WBC implodes completely or becomes even more virulent. I wouldn’t be too surprised if they commit acts of violence in the future.

    • That’s a good one. I think “GOD PITIES PHELPS” would be even better.

  2. I am Donald Duck, I don’t give fuck! Honestly, I am tired of hearing of the guy.


  3. BuzzCoastin | Mar 19, 2014 at 2:52 am |

    what a queer response to Phelps for a Christian
    way to turn the other cheeks

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