Hating the Haters

Should Fred Phelps’ funeral be a protest site?

Insta-pundits have debated the issue.  With the anti-homosexual founder of the Westboro Baptist Church possibly on death’s door, would it be proper for gay-rights activists to protest at Phelps’ funeral?


Fred Phelps in Action

Phelps attracted the most attention, after all, for his policy of hateful protests at the funerals of US servicemen and –women.  His “God Hates Fags” signs became a byword for extremist fundamentalism.

Should those opposed to Phelps’ awful tactics engage in those tactics?  We think not.

While it might be satisfying to stand with “God Hates Haters” signs, it would only exacerbate the culture of hate.


Leave a comment


  1. It might help his followers feel at home.

  2. As much fun as it would be to picket the funeral just on the legal side of harassment with a sign saying “God hates people who hate fags,” I think the energy is better spent feeling glad that this particular person can’t hurt anyone else ever again.

  3. Ed

     /  March 18, 2014

    I say no for two reasons: First, it’s just plain wrong. I have a policy of never celebrating any human being’s death, no matter how vile. Second, and possibly more important, the WBC would love it if the funeral was protested.

    If we protest, we prove to them that they got to us, that they have rented enough space in our heads that we feel compelled to act. It would make them feel like they matter.

    I don’t know if it’s true that Fred Phelps was excommunicated, and will basically die alone. I just know I’m going to give him the peace he probably wouldn’t afford me.

  4. Leave the final judgment to God. I’m like Ed–I don’t celebrate anyone’s death. Even when Osama bin Laden was killed, I mourned. His was a life lost to hate and terror, and I always looked on him with great pity about how he wasted his life. Killing him was necessary, but not something to cheer about. I feel the same way about Phelps. No one lives forever, and we need to just commend the soul to the mercy of God. I won’t be happy when Phelps dies, but I won’t be sorry, either. It’s his time, period. There will be plenty of his relatives who will be happy to carry on with the hate. Anytime we hear of any evil person dying, we need to be sober and remember that there will always be people willing to step in and continue the evil.


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