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Mar 20 2014

Fred’s dead, baby, Fred’s dead

Yep, that old bigot Fred Phelps has waved his last “God Hates Fags” sign.

Am I celebrating? In a way. How? Well, I donated $30 to The Trevor Project. In Fred’s honor, naturally.

Seemed the best way to make sure all his life’s work wasn’t in vain.

39 comments

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  1. 1
    unfogged

    I’m sure his death is heartbreaking for those close to him but the world just got a chance at being a little bit better with him gone. Now we just wait and see if the WBC continues or breaks up without his controlling influence. If it does break up, how many new little hate groups will start from the pieces? My fear would be that some of them would manage to tone down the rhetoric and actually bring in more moderate Christians that just can’t bring themselves now to be as odious as Phelps was. My hope is that they lose their drive and fade into the obscurity that they deserve.

    By the way, now I’m wishing his name had been Zed. I’ll have to watch Pulp Fiction again soon as that scene will now have a different meaning.

    1. 1.1
      Martin Wagner

      I have heard it persuasively argued that WBC has been one of the best things ever for turning the opinions of the general public around towards favoring LGBT equality, because their hate is so poisonously over-the-top that it’s repelled the average person, and forced them to rethink their own views on gays and question their prejudices. I would like to think that’s true.

      1. Muz

        It’s possible. But I also think their shift from grotesque oddities to being actually reviled by everyone only really happened once they went after dead soldiers.
        Which itself was I suspect a reaction them noticing that they weren’t pissing off enough people to the desired degree.
        So, yes, maybe their drive for greater offensiveness actually cast a favourable light on everything they were against.

        1. Martin Wagner

          While I certainly don’t think WBC can take all the credit for public support of marriage equality jumping from 32% in 2003 to 53% in 2013, I do think part of the reason for the jump was the way the most virulent of hate groups like WBC always kept popping up like prairie dogs when the topic came up. First, non-crazy people realized, “Hmm, I may be a little squicked out over gay marriage, but I’m not exactly wild about being on the same side as those people.” From there it was a simple step to “Well, I really like my co-worker Bill, who’s gay. What’s wrong with him marrying his boyfriend?” So, baby steps, with the Phelpses unwittingly nudging people along towards, rather than away from, their basic humanity.

      2. Shatterface

        That’s only true in the sense that the beating of Rodney King was a ‘good thing’ because it exposed police racism.

        I don’t buy the idea that these fucks did good in spite of themselves because ‘mildly’ homophobic bigots felt the need to distance themselves by becoming less homophobic; I think ‘mildly’ homophobic a bigots used them as a foil by claiming they couldn’t be homophobic themselves because they weren’t like these fucks.

        1. Martin Wagner

          That may have happened as well, yes.

        2. Narf

          I think an important distinction there is that they didn’t do good, but that they are good for …
          You can be a key component of a causal chain that results in things being more positive, in spite of your intentions.
          That’s the way that I took Martin’s comment.

          1. AhmNee

            In the same way as dropping the A-Bomb on Japan made it much less likely that anyone would want to unleash that horror upon the world again.

          2. Narf

            Somewhat, yeah. What if we had never used one on a civilian population but had only tested them, and now without those cautionary examples, now with thousands of the damned things in existence …
            Could have been much, much worse.

    2. 1.2
      Narf

      I’m sure his death is heartbreaking for those close to him …

      I dunno. I’ve heard a lot of stories about how he treated his kids. I think they probably felt respect for him, inspired by fear, but I don’t know if I would say it was heartbreaking for them.

      1. Sir Real

        Actually he was kicked out of the church, which goes to show that you can’t trust any bigot including their god who is an irresponsible, lying, hypocritical bigot. I hope that the rest of his prejudice party all meet the same fate and the sooner the better. I have more respect for a dog turd then I would have for them
        GOOD BYE FRED PHELPS YOU CERTAINLY WON’T BE MISSED BY ME!!!

        1. Narf

          You mean Nate Phelps? He wasn’t kicked out; he ran like hell, the day he turned 18.

          1. barnestormer

            Fred Phelps, Sr., seems to have been kicked out of Westboro Baptist Church shortly before he died. I don’t know the details.

          2. Narf

            Huh? Well, that’s … odd.

          3. AhmNee

            He recanted on his deathbed.

          4. ClaireT

            Fred Phelps was excommunicated in August, 2013, according to Nate Phelps, from what he learned from his sources in the cult. It’s some kind of power play by the people looking to take over the leadership. Also, Marjorie Phelps was chastised for speaking out too much — you know, women should be seen and not heard. She’s been a lot less vocal since.

            Not only did they excommunicate the old buzzard, but they moved him and his wife out of their living quarters that they’ve occupied since 1955. Fred was apparently so discouraged, he basically stopped eating. Nate Phelps says that before the family stopped people from visiting Fred in the hospice, a couple of grand-daughters who had fled the compound snuck in to see Fred, and that Fred appeared soft-spoken and conciliatory and chastened. Maybe he had some remorse at the end.

          5. Narf

            Did he come out of the closet?

          6. Sir Real

            He didn’t have to come out of the closet, now he’s with his true love Jesus.

          7. Narf

            Kinky.

  2. 2
    busterggi

    It hasn’t been three days yet – let’s see if he stays dead.

    1. 2.1
      Narf

      I’ll keep my eyes open for the bunny.

  3. 3
    Al Dente

    Ding dong the Fred is dead!

    I made a donation to True Colors in Nathan Phelpls’ name.

  4. 4
    Herman Nietzche

    Kansas has and probably will continue to spawn some of the looniest tunes ever known, perhaps even more than Ohio. Oh lord, there is no end to them? Watch out, here comes Alaska!

  5. 5
    No One

    Fuck Fred.

    He beat his kids with a baseball bat. He ate like a king while his kids starved. He put them out on the street selling candy for his church. He physically and emotional abused the members of his family. And then he set upon spreading his shit to the rest of the world.

    Fucking asshole…

    Fuck Fred.

  6. 6
    Robert, not Bob

    To anyone who’d be tempted to dance metaphorically or literally on his grave, I think a much more mature response would be to let him go fade into oblivion.

    1. 6.1
      Narf

      Who wants them (and churches as hateful as them) to fade away? I kind of like having those people there as a demonstration of what’s actually in the “good book”. The WBC is far more true to the Bible than damned near any other modern church.

      The more insane churches we have in the spotlight, the more people are driven out of the pews. It’s going to take another decade or two for it to really be felt, but the current teenagers and twenty-somethings are very non-religious. I would love to have religion become something that “those lunatics over there” do, until they reduce themselves to 10% or 15% of the population, with no electoral clout.

      1. Robert, not Bob

        Well, as long as Christianity and the Bible exist, groups like that will spontaneously form, so the bad examples will always be around.

      2. chris lowe

        I see a doubling down and an entrenchment, not to mention an active recruitment for xtian fundamentalists, especially in the red states. One can only hope that this is just a shrill response to those trends you see in your young Americans. So far they’ve proven very effective in keeping at bay “liberal” enlightened viewpoints from gaining much traction either socially or (especially) politically in their “territory”. I wish I could share your optimism for a reversal on this, but they are determined not to be tuned out. If it wasn’t for your deist and agnostic founding fathers your country would be a theocratic dictatorship by now.

        1. chris lowe

          How “Iranic”

  7. 7
    michaelasbury

    Martin that would mean they studied law for nothing.

  8. 8
    forestdragon

    The title to this entry made me think of the theme playing over the end of Nightmare On Elm Street: Freddy’s Dead.

    I heard there was, or is to be, no funeral. [sarcasm mode] well, gee, I wonder why?[/sarcasm mode]

    I was a bit disappointed in my favorite web forum which has Phelps and his abortion of a church under the list of Forbidden Topics has not lifted the ban upon his death. Too bad. I think gravedancing would be very theraputic, and the mental image of a chorus line of fully made-up drag queens and kings doing the Stonewall Stomp on his grave amuses me greatly.

  9. 9
    Matt Gerrans

    Phelps is a good example of why childhood indoctrination should be illegal and considered child abuse. Notice that the only “members” of his church were all family members (perhaps there were a few exceptions, I read about it a long while ago). This sort of merciless coercion is only allowed to be performed on children, who are the most vulnerable members of society. It is really a crime against humanity. People like Phelps should not be allowed to breed, much less have children.

    1. 9.1
      chris lowe

      It hit me in the gut to see and hear the homophobic vitriol coming out of these very young mouths on youtube.

  10. 10
    StonedRanger

    I kind of got a giggle when I found out there would be no funeral for fred. Chickenshits.

  11. 11
    Ruben Laane

    Remember that even though his behaviour was despicable, there are others like him. The ‘battle’ of sanity and respect is not over, but it’s more like page has been turned in a book and a chapter has been finished.
    Let’s hope that other homofoobs like him demonstrate in a more civilised manner and can be reasoned with. That would be a giant lep forward compared to Fred Phelps. The news actually made me sad as some family members are being kept away from his funeral and they can’t even say goodbye to him. Just think how it would be like if you cannot say goodbye to your own mother, brother or cousin because some lunatics keep you from it.
    When you break everything down, there are only losers in the battle that Fred Phelps kept going and that is both despicable and sad at the same time. Let’s hope we can learn from that, because I do not think there are that many examples of how to do things worse.

  12. 12
    chris lowe

    It is too bad there is no possible way to achieve an afterlife so as to have him realize how fucked up an odious an existence he had. Good riddance anyway.

    1. 12.1
      chris lowe

      “and” odious

      There should be a gentle reminder here that there still is a significant number of people that have a somewhat less rabid version of the same views and outlook as Mr. Phelps. They are the fundies of the world.

  13. 13
    John Pender

    Damn, I forgot the show was being pre-empted this week. I think old Fred croaked on purpose this week just to piss off AE fans.

  14. 14
    rodney

    Steve Drain is the new leader, perhaps even worse than Fred Phelps. From what I’ve read, he alternated between being an atheist and a fundamentalist christian. He set out to make an anti documentary about the Westboro Church, and ended up converting after talking with them. But according to his kids, he’s easily swayed, he forced different ideologies on them almost at whim.

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