Fred Phelps: Satan's servant
By Cal Thomas
My parents taught me never to speak ill of the dead, but in the case of Fred Phelps, who died last week at the age of 84, I think they would have made an exception.
The man, who will be referred to in this column without the modifier "reverend," because there was nothing reverent about him, defined the word "odious."
He and some of his family members constituted the entire membership of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan.
It was BINO, Baptist in name only.
Phelps and some members of his family (though not all) picketed military funerals with signs that read,
"G0D hates fags,"
"G0D hates Jews," and
"thank G0D for dead soldiers."
Phelps was an equal opportunity bigot.
The father of one dead service member went to court seeking to outlaw picketing outside churches where military funerals were held. He lost because the behavior, though deplorable, was regarded as an exercise in free speech protected by the First Amendment.
The media played a major role in promoting Phelps and his cult-like family.
The outrageous, the bizarre, the twisted, especially if these things can be tied to religion, are favorite subjects of broadcast networks and newspapers.
Too bad those practicing true religion do not get the kind of coverage Phelps did.
Some years ago I was the object of Phelps' wrath. I was the speaker at the Kansas Prayer Breakfast. It was the first time I had encountered Phelps and his bigotry.
I mentioned my surprise at pickets outside a prayer breakfast to then-Governor Kathleen Sibelius, who was seated next to me.
She told me not to take it seriously because "they picket everybody."
Phelps claimed to be serving G0D with his diatribes against people he claimed were G0D's enemies.
But instead of directing hatred toward people, no less a figure than Jesus of Nazareth said, "love your enemies."
Real Baptist preachers will tell you it is Satan who hates and G0D who loves.
They will tell you that Satan is a masquerader, a fraud and a liar. Does that sound like Phelps?
If Fred Phelps were a dollar bill, the Secret Service would have arrested him for being counterfeit.
His is a counterfeit religion, which bears no resemblance to true faith.
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