The Phelps Funeral – To Protest, or NOT to Protest?

“Thank God for Dead Soldiers”

“America is Doomed”

“God Hates Fags”

                Such are the words that might’ve assaulted you had you attended a military funeral in the last decade. To us, they are offensive. They are disgusting. They are fightin’ words.

                To a Gold Star mother, they are killing her baby all over again. To a Gold Star wife, they are violently ripping her heart out of her chest for the second time in just as many weeks. To our Gold Star families, these words aren’t just offensive. They aren’t just disgusting, fightin’ words. They are a full on, guns blazing, take no prisoners, assault.

                Today, I have a new phrase for you to read, one I hope signifies the end of the firefight for many.

“Ding dong, the Phelps is dead”

                That’s right, folks, I’ve just found out that Fred Phelps, founder of the self-labeled Westboro Baptist Church, has gone to meet his Maker. I don’t pretend to have any insight into his personal life, but what I do know is that when Fred Phelps died, he had to go meet Jesus and give an accounting for every word he ever spoke and they will either acquit him or condemn him (Matthew 12:36-37) and he will have to give an accounting for his entire life to God (Romans 14:12). I don’t know about you, but I find some solace from the evil empire he created in knowing that right now, he’s standing in the blazing face of the God who made him having to explain his horrific actions.

“To Protest or Not to Protest”

                That is the question. I’ve read at least half a dozen articles about not protesting his funeral. Each comes from someone within the LGBT community, and each says we should be the bigger person and not protest. I am not going to say they are wrong.

                However. I’ve talked to soldiers, Marines, parents and the children and I could not possibly tell them not to protest. When you stand in Sangin and hold your brother in your arms as he bleeds from the gaping wound in his neck and he struggles to choke out the words “take care of my wife” before literally choking on his blood and dying and then you get a letter from his wife two weeks later describing how Fred Phelps protested at your friend’s funeral, shouting “Thank God for Dead Marines!”, you might be inclined to tell the person who tells you not to protest to eff the ever loving eff off.


“What Would Jesus Do?”

                Let me just say, here and now, that the Westboro Baptist Church is not a church and it is not Baptist and, in my honest opinion, it is not a Christian organization what so ever. Christ was about service, WBC is about destruction. Christ was about love, WBC about hate.

                Let me also say that the Bible explicitly says that what Westboro did to us was a sin and was wrong. In Matthew 25, we find this story:

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'”

According to that passage, everything that WBC did to others, they did also to Christ. So they stood and shouted at Him. They stood and ridiculed Him. They stood and cursed Him and called Him vile.

                What does this mean, though? How would Christ handle this, in person? Well, I am not a minister, but I have spent my entire life studying the Bible, and I would have to say with confidence that He would give them every opportunity to repent, and He would go out and continue to do His work. If that meant going off alone to pray or throwing Himself into a multitude of followers to preach, He would continue to do His work. Additionally, I also believe that, instead of protesting Fred Phelps funeral… you know, if Jesus walked among us… He would place Himself among them and minister to them. Jesus was a pretty big fan of hanging out with the worst people, most of His friends were criminals or drunks or prostitutes, and He just kind of took them along for His work, ministering to them as He went. By ministering to them, I mean He taught them right from wrong and literally lived out the way He wanted them to live.


                But that leaves me no closer to an answer about whether we should protest. Let me lay out some interesting pieces of information I gleaned from various reliable news sources like Twitter and Facebook this week.

                Fred Phelps was excommunicated from his church “supposedly” because he recommended a softer approach to the gay and homosexual community.

                Everyone still hates him.

                Really that’s all of the important news I picked up on him this week. You know why? To begin with, his vileness was not worth my time. The people worth my time were the ones being buried behind the walls of bikers protecting them from his disgustingness. He has never been worth my time except for right this second, while I write this editorial article about his death. Additionally, he isn’t worth my energy. I have more important things to do than worry about whether his creepy little self is going to get a crowd. Like clip my toenails.

                You know what the most important thing is running through my head right now concerning Fred Phelps? You know how they say deaths come in three? Like you lose three famous actors or three famous singers or three famous people and the world mourns and it’s all sad and stuff…

                I wonder if it works that way with dirty rotten people, as well. Like, hey there goes Fred Phelps, whose next? Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un?

                Protest, or not?  I still don’t know how I really feel about it.  I do know that I hope this ends the suffering for any future family members laying a service member to rest.  May Fred Phelps’ passing mean those American heroes can truly rest in peace.


photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/etee/4244447843/”>etee</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>


Leave a Comment