Fred Phelps, the founder of the Westboro Baptist Church, is dead.
Almost the first question out of people’s mouths has been “I wonder if people will picket his funeral.” And understandably so. The Westboro Baptist Church has become infamous for picketing the funerals of soldiers and victims of disasters, among others.
Adding fuel to an already raging fire is their proclamation that gay people are to blame: Disasters, war and death are the Godly consequences of America’s tolerance of gay people.
With such rhetoric and disrespect for the dead, who wouldn’t be first in line to give the Westboro Baptist Church a taste of their own medicine?
I feel sympathy for members of the Phelps family who have renounced the church and were forbidden by church leaders from seeing their father one last time before he passed away.
For those still within the church though, there’s something to keep in mind: Picketers are exactly what the Westboro Baptist Church expects. They live in a world where they are the good guys — the only good guys. The world is wicked and, being wicked, lashes out at God’s chosen people, especially in their most vulnerable moments.
For the Westboro Baptist Church, having protesters picket Fred Phelps funeral would be vindication: proof of their righteousness.
Imagine how chilling it would be if no one showed up and none of their expectations or beliefs were validated? No noise. No confrontation. Just silence and an empty cemetery.
If we can prove we are the better people and not relegate ourselves to the level that Phelps and his church did so many times, then in the end the church and Phelps die alone, ultimately forgotten and not worth a second breath.