Fred Phelps was not a nice man. He did some terrible, awful, horrible things during his lifetime. He single-handedly created a hate spewing machine and inserted it into the very personal grief of those left behind at the deaths of thousands of people. He perverted social functions, concerts, media events and any other incident he could think of, the twisted them until they became a platform for his special kind of hatred.
I am not now, nor will I ever, defend what this man said or did.
I am not not, nor will I ever, defend the actions taken by the group he called a church, but which resembles no church I've ever known.
He was not a good man. He was flawed and cruel.
And now he is dead.
He will have to face the music now, stand before the God he claimed to serve.
In the days leading up to his death and in the hours since, hypocrisy is so rampant that I wonder if those celebrating his death understand the significance of what they are doing. I wonder if they can see that they are using this event, the end of the life of a person they have never met, to state their opinions about him, his beliefs, his future in heaven or hell.
I wonder if they can see that in too many ways it makes them no different than he was.
It hurts my heart a bit every time I see another post float by.
I understand the anger, the frustration with this man and all he stood for. I know that he has inflicted pain upon so very many people for no reason other than his own agenda. I know that everything he did was unjustified and wrong.
When his death is used as a platform to condemn him, though, those doing so are just as he was, albeit without the insults and signs and protests.
I am not a religious person, I've admitted as such before, but I understand the healing power of forgiveness. I understand that we are not nearly as equipped to judge others as we so often believe that we are. I know that I will not sacrifice my morals or integrity to make a point. I know that I will not be drug down to someone else's level out of spite, out of anger, out of frustration.
Don't be what he was.
Be better than he was.
Let him die without comment. Let his family mourn without interruption. Allow them what they have denied others.
Not because he deserves it or because they deserve it, but because you deserve to allow it and because you are better than he was.
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