I want very badly to let Fred Phelps’ death pass unremarked upon, mostly because of how I imagine it would aggravate the crotchety old attention whore. But he spent so much of his energy foisting himself onto the queer consciousness, I feel like saying my piece will help me send his bullshit karmically packing along with the rest of him.
If the frightened and tight-hearted bigots of Westboro have taught us anything, it is that not every death is a tragedy. The passing of Fred Phelps is not a loss to the American Community, the Brotherhood of Man, nor even, according to what I have read, to most of his family — a legacy, it is tempting to speculate, on which he might have hoped to improve. He chose the burden of hate that he lugged through this life, and he can take it with him when he goes — he neither needs nor, frankly, warrants any from me. I wish him a more forgiving god than he would ever have wished for any of us, though still I hope he planned ahead and packed mostly for exceptionally warm weather.
It seems that Westboro doesn’t believe in funerals for its members, which I find a hilariously convenient tenet of their “faith.” I’m annoyed that there won’t be a funeral for the most famous funeral-crasher since Harold and Maude, but not for the reason you might expect (or for that matter that I would have expected of myself). The only thing that was ever sacred to this man, his megalomaniacal family, or their quasi-political fund-raising-organization-masquerading-as-church was media attention, and the most fitting send-off I can imagine would be for the number of vociferous, sign-waving picketers at his own going away party — be they from military families or the gay community or families or victims of the numerous tragedies he sought to exploit or just the fair-minded community at large — to total Zero. Continue reading