Should Anyone Plan to ‘Protest’ Fred Phelps’ Funeral?

PIC: I Sasek JR. (PD)

PIC: I Sasek JR. (PD)

National media is running with the story (not that that means anything necessarily) that 84 year-old Phelps has been “excommunicated” from his own church and is very near death. Given the highly litigious history of the church , I’ll refrain from guessing (publicly, at least) what kind of deathbed confession would be shocking enough for the virulently homophobic Westboro Baptist Church to cast out their founder – if it’s true.

I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a WBC Protest, but when they actually show up (they often make a big deal about coming somewhere and then are nowhere to be seen), there’s usually just a couple of them with signs, and they usually get the hell out of Dodge within minutes. When I was in college, exactly ONE of them showed up just off the property of my school with a little sign. She bailed in minutes, staying around just long enough to grab some media coverage.

More recently, the WBC announced that they were going to protest a local soldier’s funeral in my town. Even here in my extremely conservative, very Southern Baptist town, there were mobs of people ready to give them a greeting they would not soon forget. Wisely, they never made their promised appearance. I don’t know if they showed up and saw what was waiting for them and thought better, or just didn’t come in the first place.

Really, though, that’s the problem with people like the Westboro Baptist Church: They want attention. Desperately. Confronting them is emotionally satisfying, but it just gives them more of what they need. The church – and some theorize it’s not any kind of church, and actually the whole thing is just a scam – is funded through lawsuits based on infringements of their civil rights. “Funded” is actually understatement: They make a hefty profit. Many of the church’s members – nearly all of them related by blood to the Phelps clan – are attorneys

I used to think about how much fun it would be to charter a bus to go and protest (and by that I mean publicly “celebrate”) Fred Phelp’s funeral when the time came for him to shuffle off this mortal coil. I have since changed my mind. Indifference will be a far better insult to Phelp’s legacy than any kind of vengeance I could dream up.

For a man unloved and singularly unremarkable save for his hatred, the deafening silence of the public he so hoped in life to enrage will be a most suitable funeral dirge. May his memory be buried in obscurity as deep and as impenetrable as the Earth that will one day – maybe soon, maybe not – cover his physical remains.


42 Comments on "Should Anyone Plan to ‘Protest’ Fred Phelps’ Funeral?"

  1. Anarchy Pony | Mar 16, 2014 at 11:11 pm |

    I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit, it’s the only way to be sure.

  2. Better things to do with life then spending it in protest.

  3. Ha, ha, their founder is a pole smoker. No wonder he was so insanely ant-gay. He was “protesting too much.” Shoulda known . . .

    • Gordon Klock | Mar 17, 2014 at 7:50 pm |

      Actually,there is a rumor that he was molested/raped at a ‘Boystown’ near Kansas City,or Omaha,which would explain a lot.

      • According to the ones who left the “church”, the inciting incident probably happened at West Point.

        • That would explain why his “god” hated America so much.

          Honestly, as a fellow survivor of sexual abuse I want to mourn his awful life and the death of his humanity, as someone who was bashed for years in Catholic schools for supposedly being a “fag” I want shit on his face while he’s on his deathbed, and as someone trying to recover from both of those things I want to spend my energy on bettering myself rather than wasting it on him.

  4. VaudeVillain | Mar 17, 2014 at 12:30 am |

    Wouldn’t the real protest to show up and sincerely mourn for the death of a man?

    In life he has been a bigot, deserving of scorn and condemnation. In death, we are all united in mortality, brothers and sisters in decomposition. We eulogize the dead not for their sake, but for our own, to confront in the death of another our own inevitable end, and to take from a life what goodness and love we can while forgiving the many evils we all commit.

    If you prefer hate, then choose hate, but understand it for the choice it is.

    • New Monkey | Mar 17, 2014 at 5:18 am |

      “Wouldn’t the real protest to show up and sincerely mourn for the death of a man?”
      That is such a beautifully cool thing… I cannot disagree…
      However, the bad part of me would like to see 100 000 placards that all read ‘GOD HATES PHELPS’

      • VaudeVillain | Mar 18, 2014 at 1:14 am |

        Honestly… I’m not entirely on board either.

        It’s taken me a long time to realize embracing love and beauty is a conscious effort… but as flawed and lazy as I am, the first step is always to try.

    • Baconator96 | Mar 17, 2014 at 7:03 am |

      So if you had the chance, you’d show up to Hitler’s funeral and mourn him?

      • VaudeVillain | Mar 18, 2014 at 1:09 am |

        I don’t know. He’d been dead for about 40 years when I was born, so I can’t even pretend to have an appropriate perspective on him.

        I do know that however awful you believe Fred Phelps to be, he certainly was not responsible for the murder of millions of people for reasons of ethnic cleansing. He was, at worst, guilty of saying things that made people angry.

        • Thurlow Weed | Mar 18, 2014 at 1:45 am |

          The things that Phelps and WBC said publicly encouraged violence against homosexuals and supporters of civil rights. That’s different than simply “saying things that made people angry.”

          • VaudeVillain | Mar 18, 2014 at 1:53 am |

            You’re right: they said, and continue to say, stupid, hurtful things that make people angry. Some get angry at them, others get angry at others, but everyone gets angry.

            Like I said, if you want to be angry, then feel angry. I’m not going to think any less of you for feeling whatever you need to. That’s just part of being human, a part we all need to deal with. I only encourage you to view that feeling as a choice, albeit a difficult one, and to understand that all choices have consequences for yourself and others.

          • Thurlow Weed | Mar 18, 2014 at 2:03 am |

            “You’re right: they said, and continue to say, stupid, hurtful things that make people angry. ”

            No, I’m right because Phelps and WBC advocate the extermination of homosexuals.

          • VaudeVillain | Mar 18, 2014 at 3:08 am |

            And yet they refuse to actually pursue that end.

            Let’s just assume that you wish for them to fail in their advocacy: given that, what is your plan? Do you think you can (or should) silence them? Do you think they ought to be reasoned, or argued with? Do you think this is a problem best resolved with violence? My way is to replace their hate and anger with love and compassion. If that isn’t your way, so be it, I wish you luck in finding something more suitable.

    • Thurlow Weed | Mar 17, 2014 at 10:40 am |

      Bullshit. No self-respecting intellectual need give a rat’s ass. Idiots, however, there is no accounting for.

      • VaudeVillain | Mar 18, 2014 at 1:11 am |

        In terms of pure self-respecting intellectualism… I call bullshit on you. The dead have no say in how we interpret their lives. If his actions are to spread evil after his passing, then it is only because we make it so.

        Only idiots think that Truth is purely objective.

    • Jonas Planck | Mar 17, 2014 at 9:39 pm |

      I’ve seen a few of these since the news broke… people appealing to man’s better nature, saying we shouldn’t lower ourselves to his level and all that, and though it’s a beautiful sentiment that I agree with, I’m afraid that for my own part, after publicly making fun of Phillip Seymour Hoffman and that Fast and Furious guy for killing themselves through their own irresponsibility, I’m kind of obligated this time… If I abstained from mockery in this instance, I’d be missing out on a golden opportunity to speak ill of the dead while still maintaining the semblance of holding some moral high ground. How can I pass that up?

      • VaudeVillain | Mar 18, 2014 at 1:26 am |

        I know right? If this had happened a few months ago, hell maybe a few weeks, I’d be right there.

        Between my annual reminder that my age keeps increasing and a coincidental(?) spike in the number of lives starting and ending around me recently, I’ve been a bit reflective lately. One of the more unexpected side-effects is that I’m just too worn out for proper hate to feel right anymore: it used to get me pumped up and feisty, but now I just feel sad and disappointed.

        Anyway, it just seems like a lot of wasted effort to work up outrage for a scrub like Phelps… if I’m going to put in that kind of work, I might as well try to make myself a better worldview while I’m at it.

  5. Another dinosaur bites the dust and other news that isn’t. My protest to him would be to put flowers, arranged by a gay florist, on his grave.

    Did you hear the one about the “White Man March”? No one showed up.

  6. Mr Willow | Mar 17, 2014 at 2:00 am |

    Absolutely not. Give it no recognition. The greatest insult is to be ignored and forgotten.

  7. Ivan Cunningham | Mar 17, 2014 at 5:56 am |

    “and they usually get the hell out of Dodge within minutes” is funny, because Dodge City is in KS…

    weird/interesting fact about their litigiousness- fred was a civil rights lawyer in the 60s, championing the rights of black/african-american peeps. funny how times change.

    • According to his son Nate, that had nothing whatsoever to do with helping black people. Fred saw a goldmine and dug in. He insulted his clients to their faces, calling them DN’s – “dumb n****rs” – and laughing about it. He was never interested in helping anyone, only himself.

      • James Preston Thomas | Mar 18, 2014 at 6:05 pm |

        Both polarities to this totally pointless thread are masochistic! Love, hate, they’re in all of us, and those that think they aren’t, are the worst, they are liars!

  8. BuzzCoastin | Mar 17, 2014 at 12:59 pm |

    Should Anyone Plan to ‘Protest’ Fred Phelps’ Funeral?

    when you flush a turd down the commode
    do you have friends attend the flushing?

  9. Virtually Yours | Mar 17, 2014 at 4:28 pm |

    Instead of throwing flowers on his grave, how about drag queens squatting over his casket and shitting out glow-in-the-dark dildos! May every last second of his miserable existence be as painful and excruciating as all of the suffering which he has championed…

  10. Jonathan Gauthier | Mar 17, 2014 at 5:07 pm |

    No matter how horrible a human being is in life and how many funerals they protested, what they did wasn’t right and it doesn’t make it anymore right for anyone else to do it to them. Reality is there will be family and friends present there to mourn his passing and what right does anyone else have to darken that day anymore than it is already. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

    • Thurlow Weed | Mar 18, 2014 at 2:13 am |

      “…what right does anyone else have…”

      Plenty. Phelps darkened many days for millions throughout his career. Anyone who loved this monstrous psychotic has no right to expect consideration from them.

  11. Jonas Planck | Mar 17, 2014 at 9:42 pm |

    No protests here. Just a scathing, hate-filled eulogy that will be lifted word for word from the exact same eulogy he gave George Carlin, with the name changed to his. Karma demands it.

  12. Jeb Morningside | Mar 18, 2014 at 9:25 pm |

    Hating the WBC is like, soooo mainstream.

  13. tibby trillz | Mar 19, 2014 at 8:09 pm |

    looks like another pink mass is in order

  14. Tadeyev T | Mar 20, 2014 at 1:46 pm |

    Why on earth do all these discussions concern only his hatefulness to gays?
    Have you all forgotten about the many people who suffered from this man?

    The entire US Army, Air Force and Marines should show up in protest !
    The entire population of Newtown should show up !
    And many, many others…..

    He and his so called church should be paid in kind, in a big way as far as I am concerned!

    This man and his family are a disgrace to humanity and the embodiment of evil.
    They need to be taught a firm hard lesson that their actions will no longer be tolerated by society.

  15. Matt Staggs | Mar 20, 2014 at 2:56 pm |

    I loath Phelps and his clan, but I won’t let that make me lower myself to their level.

  16. I’d consider pissing on his grave if I were already in the vicinity, but I’d wait until after the funeral.

  17. I have said it once but it bears repeating: The world of comedy will never be the same. With the determination of a well seasoned method actor and a dedication to character that makes Andy Kaufman look like a bumbling amateur, alternative comic and gay rights activist Fred Phelps fooled the world with an immersive, long-form performance piece that managed to beguile the media, the internet and and westboro church leaders in equal measure. Comedy has lost a true genius. I for one look forward to Sasha Baron Cohen playing him in the inevitable biopic…

  18. Noah_Nine | Mar 25, 2014 at 3:39 am |

    i’m sure there will be plenty of dancing on his grave…. and weird magickal rites too, like the notorious “pink” mass from last year…

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