Does God hate Fred Phelps?

Fred Phelps is dying.

Who is Fred Phelps?  He is the founder of the highly controversial Westboro Baptist Church, a man who is known for protesting high-profile funerals with signs that read “God Hates Fags.”  The church is widely known for its extreme positions against gay marriage and offensive demonstrations interrupting the funerals of dead servicemen.  And as you read these words, he is reported to be lying on his deathbed at a hospice center in Kansas.

And I am wondering how the world feels about his imminent passing.  Okay, on the surface, perhaps that seems a tad bit obvious.  It does not require a stretched imagination to think that many people will not be too entirely sad or disappointed to no longer see him physically be a part of our society, given the number of individuals he placed himself at odds with for one reason or another.  But I am also wondering if there is anyone anywhere who will be able to celebrate his passing not because of his discriminatory and intolerant behaviors here on earth and they will simply being glad to see him go, but because his soul, too, carried gifts and opportunities and remembrances for us all to experience.

How can intolerance be a gift?  How does discrimination provide opportunity?  What remembrances could possibly be had under the guise of hatred?

Fair questions.

It is one thing to say we believe something.  It is another thing entirely to implement those beliefs into a way of living, to actually incorporate them into the day-to-day choices and actions and events of our lives.

I may claim to believe that we are all one.  But am I able to live from that place of believing in the most challenging situations and am I able to apply that way of thinking in the most difficult relationships I find myself involved with?

I may claim to believe in a God who does not judge.  But am I able to afford that same understanding to ALL human beings, even those whose lives create pain and hardship for so many others?

I may declare myself as someone who loves unconditionally.  But am I truly capable of removing the conditions from my loving someone who, from outward appearances, is virtually unlovable?

Just as the little angel in The Little Soul and the Sun agreed to do, perhaps Fred Phelps chose to experience this lifetime as someone who would stand in darkness so that others may stand in the light.

So I am wondering how you feel about the Soul called Fred Phelps as the moment where he takes his last breath on earth draws closer and closer with each passing minute.  What are your thoughts about what his life meant to you and to our world?   Will you be celebrating that moment for one particular reason or another?

(Lisa McCormack is a Feature Editor at The Global Conversation and lives in Orlando, Florida.  To connect with Lisa, please e-mail her at Lisa@TheGlobalConversation.com.)

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  • Michael L

    Beautiful loving questions and article Lisa.
    Folks fight so hard to be “right’. It calms their fears of the unknown.
    But in another article by Neale he recently alluded to. …
    We all can be “right” given our view of the thing.( I call it a big beach ball) life.
    I will celebrate everyones contination, their birth back to the higher vibrational,invisable world. As Neale is fond of saying…even Hitler went to heaven.
    So I say Love what shows up, all of it, even if it’s scary.

    • “So I say Love what shows up, all of it, even if it’s scary.” I love this, Michael! Fred Phelps is about as anti everything I believe in and stand for as you can get. Yet it feels comforting to find a place in my heart to hold a space of compassion open for him. I think to allow ourselves to experience this level of love is an extraordinary gift to ourselves and to all those around us. Thank you for joining in the conversation, Michael!

  • Wendy Quenneville

    This soul must be thinking, ‘This was an interesting experience.’ After it has experienced life with intolerance being it’s “norm”, I wonder what this soul will choose next. If it’s all God learning about all the many ways he/she can experience life on Earth, then we must learn to accept the difference of views. So long as others are not put in harm, as the poor soul that was burned alive in Nigeria for being homosexual, there is no action that we need to take; except love all the different ways that God chooses to manifest him/her self.

    • I love your perspective, Wendy. I, too, wonder what his soul will choose next and hope that I will always choose to “love all the different ways that God chooses to manifest him/her self,” as you so wisely said. That is not always an easy thing to do. I’m glad you are here, Wendy!

  • Christopher Toft

    I do feel sad. It strikes me as an incredibly banal and wasteful way to live out one’s existence, to carry that burden of hate. I wonder why Fred Phelps has chosen to live in such a way. Presumably the guy had his mind filled with horrors and to be honest, i cannot help but wonder if deep down, perhaps he was gay. Just perhaps. Either way his passing is sad because his life was sad.

    • Thank you for contributing your thoughts, Christopher, on what is, as you said, an undeniably sad situation. Given Fred Phelps’ model of the world, I guess he was doing the best he can. The larger opportunity for all of us is to then choose who we are in relation to that. Perhaps people love more deeply and fully in an effort to contrast the darkness of his messages. His antics only made me desire to be more kind, more compassionate, and more accepting. And that feels pretty good. Always good to see you here, Christopher!

  • Debra O’Bryant Haworth

    I feel he set out to teach love and tolerance by expressing the opposite. How can you truly know what one is without the other? Besides, he mobilized more people to love and protect and shield the helpless than he showed hate didn’t he? He was a catalyst for Love. Imagine that.

    • “A catalyst for love” – this is a point of view that many would not share. But boy, if they did, wouldn’t our world be a better place for more people? Thank you for bringing your perspective into the space, Debra. It is refreshing and enlightening!

  • mewabe

    Much of what exists, of what we experience, operates in a paradoxical form. Much of what we see is not what it appears to be…indeed, we often have to head north in order to arrive south, to loose in order to gain, etc.

    The above statements may sound like psycho-spiritual-babble, but we should remember to always look beyond the obvious…all “darkness” has within itself a seed of “light”, and all “light” a seed of “darkness”….extreme “darkness” changes into ‘light”, extreme “light” changes into “darkness”., and the two attract each other. These are just a few Taoist, yin/yang principles that apply to all we experience in the physical world.

    Beyond this, humanity has to manifest and experiment with all of its ideas, in order to see what works and what does not work. It has to play with fire in order to know that it burns. Some souls learn slowly, and embrace messages of hate, going down a certain path all their physical life perhaps, so they may later reflect on the effects their choices had on themselves and others.

    What would be the impacts of his life? How can anyone measure this? Did he foster more love, by reaction, than hatred in those who embraced or were encouraged by his messages of hate? Was his overall influence more positive than negative?

    Whatever the answer, we should understand that he did not create such hate…like others whose messages are of fear and hate, he was merely a catalyst, bringing out what already existed within those he led.

    And indeed there is potential healing in such a process…for all of the negative aspects of human consciousness must be exposed and acknowledged before they can be healed. We cannot heal what we hide in the secret recesses of our mind, what we are not conscious of. To become fully conscious, humanity must face all of its inner demons in the open. Healing is often a painful process.

  • Erin

    Good food for thoughtfulness, Lisa…as always! 🙂
    ‘Little Soul & the Sun’ is by far a favorite on my shelf…It’s story is as first-thought when not sure of how to See a situation. Many healing tears of many adults have fallen in it’s pages…Awesome write, indeed! And a perfect one for steering blessings to anyone’s Life adventure…including Mr. Phelps’.
    Thanks for the re-minder! <3

  • I never gave energy or attention to this. Had I been at say, a funeral where he was protesting with his supporters, I’d just ask people to visualize love & light on him & his followers & let that example be the greater influence on the situation.

  • June Theiamthatiam Glover

    Great thoughts, Lisa…we are unable to experience true, unconditional love without experiencing deep, hatred…i am will rejoice that our world is experiencing a shift of global and personal consciousness…i must admit, he played his part very well and his time is complete.

  • Therese

    Well, he has celebrated his continuation day, and, at a function that members of WBC were doing their usual protests, counter protesters held up a banner that said:

    Sorry for your loss

    That is, for me, the perfect message.