If you don't know who Fred Phelps is, I won't enlighten you. The dying minister behind the hate spewing Westboro Baptist Church doesn't deserve a biography. What is worth remembering is what this hate monger did to unite a nation against a common evil.
The enemy of my enemy is my friend, and Phelps proved that. However conservative or devout, no conscionable person could ever agree with the statements Phelps brought to funerals and memorial services.
He was a failure as a minister, never attracting a significant following. He was failure as a father, losing children and grandchildren, some who went on to fight for the causes he viscerally protested.
He held the same hostility towards AIDS victims and war heroes. His hatred didn't discriminate, he simply hated everyone. Because of Phelps, we looked beyond divisive politics and saw nothing but grieving families and struggling minorities being persecuted - as equals - by one truly evil man.
Whatever your faith Phelps showed us the devil. His hate proved that everyone else, regardless of our differences, could harness a modicum of compassion for those we dislike or don't understand.
Some have proposed protesting his funeral, but that would only solidify his legacy and historical relevance. He doesn't deserve the acknowledgement. He deserves a sparsely attended memorial service, the legacy of a hateful man despised by the world and loved by no one.
SW 5th Avenue, 1972
2 hours ago