Skip to main content

Left to His Own Devices


Fred Phelps, founder of the Westboro Baptist Church, is dead.

To say that Fred Phelps dabbled in hate is akin to saying how a dog is pretty fierce with a bone. The main object of the man's hatred were people like myself: gay people. I'm not sure why. He and his church used the cloak of religion, but there was obviously something else going on there. A few months ago, Phelps was excommunicated from Westboro Baptist, leading some to speculate the reason why. Was he secretly gay? Did he have a change of heart regarding his treatment of people during his 84-year-long life?

Who knows? Honestly, as someone who never knew the man, the reasons for Phelps' excommunication matters not to me. So why am I taking the time write about him? Because, just this once, I'm going to acknowledge his existence, since he chose to acknowledge mine (and others), even if it was in a vile and contemptible way.

Honestly, I just want to say that I forgive Fred Phelps. That's not easy to do, but the struggle of emotions running through my veins since hearing first of his ill-health, and now his death, are mainly those of sadness. The sadness is for him, oddly enough. Yes, it's terrible that he spewed a philosophy of hatred. Yes, I feel terribly for the families and friends of those whose funerals he picketed. But let's be honest: anyone who does that is a sad spectacle of a human being. All is not right with their world.

Some say that it's wrong to feel pity for anyone but, more than anything, I pity Fred Phelps and his ilk. Their lives must be miserable. They attempt to inflict misery onto others, but many people are stronger than he was, and rise above it. This is why I forgive Phelps. He lived (to my estimation) a miserable life, and died a slow, probably painful death in hospice. I don't take any comfort or glee in that and, frankly, neither should anyone else.

I don't believe in a Heaven or Hell. I don't really believe in an afterlife, but if there is one of some sort, I hope that it's a continuing journey, not a final destination where folks are sorted into eternal glory or punishment. My hope is that spirits such as Phelps grow and learn. It would be nice to run into him at some point, and have it be a pleasant experience. He wouldn't have to apologize. Instead, we'd take solace in knowing that he'd become a more loving soul.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

If You Could Read My Mind

Dance clubs are a funny thing. They contain within their walls a life force and vibrancy sometimes unmatched anywhere else. When dusk settles and the lights come on, people will flood the dance floors to gyrate to music with hypnotic beats and songs about love, lust and fun at the disco. At gay bars, this sort of scenario usually increases ten-fold. It isn't for everyone, but for many it is a respite from the harsh realities of the real word. It is a place that isn't just a structure, but a sanctuary where folks -- minorities in their own communities -- can take shelter and unwind with abandon, at least for a few nighttime hours.
As someone who benefited greatly from such an aforementioned gay dance club, you can imagine my dismay at news of the closing of Chester Street Bar. In business for over three decades, gay-owned and operated, there was a time when C-Street (as it was known by most) was the only haven for those in the LGBT community, near and far, to enjoy themselves …

Third Death

My father has had three funerals. The third (though perhaps not final) one, was last night.
In reality, Lewis died in 1997. Cancer. Aged 52. He had a real funeral. I was there. The next two funerals occurred only in my dreams, yet they seemed real at the time, and their impact during the waking hours was keenly felt.
You see, during the intervening nineteen years, Lewis has come back to life in my dreams, many times. It is more than simply having a dream about him. During these nighttime images, it is noted that Lewis shouldn't be there, that he died of cancer and is resting six feet under. How, then, could he be alive and, seemingly, healthy?

Thoughts on an Election

Before I get started on the ruminations of the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election, I'll begin by saying I really have no clue as to who our next president will be. I've always fretted over the outcome of elections, regardless of the polls, and this year is no different. Especially this year. A good case can be made as to why Hillary Clinton will become our 45th president. All one has to do is look at the polls. Clinton has a comfortable lead in many states, enough to make one think that she will win handily on November 8th.
Of course, polls can be wrong. 538 gives Clinton's changes of winning in the low-mid 80 percent range. Several polls would seem to agree. Many Republicans are jumping ship from Trump. The race looks over. But of course, humanity isn't as easily predictable as polling would have us believe. Things happen. People can surprise us. And, for better or worse, I think that Donald Trump may very well become our next president.