RIP: Fred Phelps
I have an RIP this week. I'm going to mention this only because I know I'll be expected to.
The notorious and gross bigot Fred Phelps, the founder of the notoriously and grossly bigoted Westboro Baptist Church, which isn't part of any Baptist convention and isn't really a church but more like a family cult, has died at the age of 84.
There has been a lot of reaction both harsh - although not as harsh as his not-a-church was about those people its members hated so deeply that it's hard to imagine actually living that way, in that constant state of rage and fear - but there has been reaction both harsh and forgiving.
One example of the forgiveness was when after Phelps' death the not-a-church picketed a concert by New Zealand singer Lorde and some folks counter-protested with a sign reading simply "sorry for your loss."
I never have celebrated the death of a human being and I will not start now, not even in the case of someone as deeply loathsome as Fred Phelps, but I have to admit I can't muster that sort of compassion for those who remain devoted to his despicable legacy - especially when their own compassion seems utterly absent.
Y'see, in response to that sign, one of the not-a-church picketers said "I have no idea what they're talking about." Apparently, his death was not a loss for them. Perhaps that was because he was excommunicated from the church last August when he called for "kinder treatment of fellow church members" in the wake of an internal power struggle. He was already dead to them.
So I leave it to others to say "forgive and forget." Because I can't forgive, at least not yet. I do, however, find Fred Phelps eminently forgettable.