Friday, March 21, 2014

Lucifer, Fallen?

So, this Fred Phelps character died last Wednesday night. If he was indeed evil, he certainly seems to have accomplished what he wanted to. People's reactions to his death prove it.

The guy did nothing to promote affection from any rationally-thinking person and he helped to solidify the ever-strengthening stereotype of the judgemental, irrational Christian. However, fittingly, Phelps died on the Catholic Feast of St. Joseph -- a day on which the Church readings include the story of Joseph's example: when he decided not to publicly judge Mary for her pregnancy by (as far as he knew at that point) some other guy. I'm not one to go overboard with "signs" and stuff, but, you have to love the poetic coolness of this...

But -- the reactions? He has brought out of people the same angry, vicious judgement that he promoted himself. I won't even repeat some of the things I have heard on Facebook or Twitter. Does he deserve to be hated? Maybe -- but, he sure sowed some seeds here and I would hate to see them grow...

I'm not going to preach, but when righteous anger (of any kind and from any side) takes the form of hate-speech, the Devil wins -- whether you see the Devil as the dark side of human nature or as Lucifer, fallen.

I'm glad that one horrible, violent, angry source of negativity has left our world, but I'm not going to start on a "burn in Hell" rant. That's would be me, losing. That would be me joining the Church of Judgement.


  1. George Takei comments on his passing in his usual classy way:

    "I take no solace or joy in this man’s passing. We will not dance upon his grave, nor stand vigil at his funeral holding “God Hates Freds” signs, tempting as it may be.

    He was a tormented soul, who tormented so many. Hate never wins out in the end. It instead goes always to its lonely, dusty end"

    Tux from Calgary, AB

    1. Welcome, Tux -- and thanks for commenting. And you're right: Mr. Takei is always a gentleman. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I'll freely admit that when I received word of his passing, I was silently celebrating to myself. Perhaps my bias as an "agnostic atheist" plays a role in that.

    I'd never stand firmly on the ground below me and try to somehow justify being happy over an individual's death; however, when there comes a time that thousands of people are tormented by this single group, and that group is being led by this single individual, I could justify those thousands' joy in feeling that their harassment may come to an end, or at least slow down.

    Commenter Tux is right, though. He was a tormented soul as well. We shouldn't forget that.

    1. Sadly, Alexis, I'm willing to bet someone will take up his cause... Maybe that tempers my own, personal sense of relief...

    2. Yes—that's what I find shortsighted about celebrating this jerk's death. People seem to want to believe that he was some sort of aberration, a member of a different species than us, and that his death rids the world of the hate he embodied. The truth is, we all have the potential for that sort of hate, and we all disfigure ourselves with smaller and more subtle versions of it every day.

      (On a more mundane note, shame on the media for giving so much attention to a largely inconsequential person and his couple dozen followers.)

    3. Not to prolong any type of discourse, simply to clarify, I should have placed more emphasis on "feeling." I fully acknowledge that Pastor Phelps's death will not bring an end to all hate, or even hate from his group. I can simply sympathize with people who feel that some of their harassment may slow down with his passing. My sincerest apologies if I didn't make that clear -- I find no solace in the pastor's death.

    4. On a medfia note, in response to Jeff's last statement, now we will be fed a steady diet of his son's accounts of growing up in the heinous Phelps household. People will cheer the son for walking away and we will gape at the Westboro Baptist car wreck for the next few months.