So apparently Fred Phelps Sr., founder and pastor of the westboro baptist church, is at deaths door. He’s reported to be dying in a hospice in Kansas, presumably not far from his home and church in Topeka.
I do honestly wish I could say I felt bad for him and his family, but considering the amount of pain and emotional damage he and his family has caused to so many, I can’t muster much sympathy for them. That being said, I wish him no pain. At the end of the day he is still human, despite the harm he has caused. I may not take sympathy on him as he’s dying but I’m not going to take pleasure in another’s pain or demise, I’m a better person than that. And I would like to think most people are.
I’ve seen a lot of atheists who seem to be taking some kind of perverse pleasure in the news that Phelps, horrible as he was, is dying. I find this to be very disheartening. Are we really “good without god” if so many are happy to take pleasure in the suffering of another, regardless of what he may have done? In my view taking pleasure in the pain of this man doesn’t make you a whole lot better than him or his family.
I’ve also seen calls for members of the LGBT community to picket his funeral when the inevitable occurs and Phelps dies. I’d like to make me feelings on that suggestion very clear, it’s a bad idea. To do that lowers you to the same level as Phelps and his church, and that’s not something we should strive to do. Show the world that the very people the WBC has spent years demonizing and condemning are better people than the members of WBC. Prove that the LGBT community is better than him and his family, allow them the opportunity to mourn him in peace.
Phelps may not have been a good person, but he was still a person. His family may be bad people, but they are people. Show you’re better than them, treat them the way you want to be treated and not the way they have treated you. Subscribing to the “an eye for an eye” mentality won’t do anyone any good.
Don’t take pleasure in his death or his family’s pain, don’t picket his funeral. Allow his family mourn the father and grandfather they are about to lose. It’s the decent thing to do, even if it’s not what WBC would do.