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the girl with violets in her lap [userpic]

March 17th, 2014 (03:04 pm)

Fred Phelps, founder of the Westboro Baptist Church, is dying. Please please please don't picket his funeral.

Let's remember why all the funeral pickets were awful: because they made the funerals hell for those who were grieving. Picketing a funeral does nothing to the dead. But the people who grieve for Phelps are not all terrible. Many of his children have left the church,* but that doesn't mean that in some complicated way they may not still love their father, and whether they do or not, they deserve closure. A funeral can provide that. But not if it takes place with hatred being shouted in the background.

And above all: Phelps's protests were based in hate. LGBTQ activism is based in love, not hate.

Please don't picket Phelps's funeral.

_______________________


*Incidentally, VERY weird detail in that article: Phelps himself was excommunicated from the church in the middle of last year. No one outside the WBC knows the reason. Some are theorizing he had a change of heart, but that seems improbable to me, after a lifetime of fiercely determined hatred. Very interesting though.

Comments

Posted by: nelc (nelc)
Posted at: March 17th, 2014 07:23 pm (UTC)

I've been told that the Westboro-ites believe that anybody who dies before the Apocalypse is condemned by God to Hell. Since Phelps was dying and the world (apparently) isn't due to end before he dies, that means he's lost favour with God, and therefore had to be deposed as head of the church and excommunicated. Because the WBC is just assholes all the way down.

Posted by: the girl with violets in her lap (slammerkinbabe)
Posted at: March 17th, 2014 07:43 pm (UTC)

Wait, seriously? They excommunicate all dying members? That's insane. Then again, they're insane.

Posted by: nelc (nelc)
Posted at: March 17th, 2014 10:57 pm (UTC)

I don't know enough about them, but it's possible that as the founder, Phelps is the oldest member, or at least, the first to suffer a drawn-out fatal illness. Others may have died more suddenly.

Posted by: Nathaniel Wolfthorn (ganimede)
Posted at: March 17th, 2014 09:11 pm (UTC)

At the end of the day, he's still someone's son and father and friend etc. Funerals aren't for the dead anyway, are they, they're really for those mourning their loss. And it's not their fault he was consumed by such hatred.

Posted by: the girl with violets in her lap (slammerkinbabe)
Posted at: March 18th, 2014 02:35 am (UTC)

Yeah, I agree. For people who abhor him and want to picket - that's not doing anything to *him*...

Posted by: Nathaniel Wolfthorn (ganimede)
Posted at: March 18th, 2014 08:11 pm (UTC)

Indeed. It wouldn't send a good message about the LGBT community either, it would just show that we'd sunk down to his level and become exactly the same as he is.

Posted by: Tasha Rebekah Martin (lietya)
Posted at: March 18th, 2014 01:47 am (UTC)
Jenny

I have seen occasional people suggesting that the funeral be picketed with *loving* messages, as a way of taking the high road. I have to admit, I kind of like that idea. I don't want to see anyone returning the hate he dished out so readily, but it might make a real impression to react by turning the other cheek (even, perhaps especially, from those who don't identify as Christian).

Posted by: the girl with violets in her lap (slammerkinbabe)
Posted at: March 18th, 2014 02:34 am (UTC)

Oh, I love that idea. It's perfect -- people who want to picket to say how wrong he was could do it that way. I feel like that would have a lot of power. I hope it happens!

Posted by: Tasha Rebekah Martin (lietya)
Posted at: March 18th, 2014 03:01 pm (UTC)
Jenny

I do too. :)

Posted by: electric misfit love machine (eyelid)
Posted at: March 18th, 2014 03:59 pm (UTC)

Eh, I still think it is catty. People wouldn't be doing it to be loving. G-d sees your intention.

His grieving family should just be left alone.

Posted by: electric misfit love machine (eyelid)
Posted at: March 18th, 2014 04:00 pm (UTC)

I should add that to comfort a mourner is a very important mitzvah.

Posted by: the girl with violets in her lap (slammerkinbabe)
Posted at: March 18th, 2014 04:07 pm (UTC)

Oops, the anon comment is from me.

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: March 18th, 2014 04:05 pm (UTC)

I suppose that's not untrue. I was thinking a little about it later, how members of his church aren't going to perceive love in those protests. I think it's way way better than "God hates Fred" or whatever, but probably still not the best idea. I hope not all the people suggesting that idea are being catty though. I didn't feel catty when I liked it, anyway. I think showing love for those most people would shun is a good, powerful gesture in itself -- just not the best idea in this case for the family's sake.

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