Whenever I feel a little bit down about this old world of ours, about the direction things seem to be going in, I turn my thoughts to Fred Phelps and, by golly, I see the beautiful side of life again. His skeletal facial features are hardened by decades of wallowing in the odious, putrid mud of hate and self-loathing. Yet that face always serves as a reminder to me of our society’s amazing ability to resist the pull to meet violence with violence. The emotional and psychological violence inflicted by the Phelps clan has not been successful in eliciting a physically violent response from us. Remarkably he and the other members of Westboro Baptist Church are all able to walk around physically unscathed.
Considering how frequently and how long these people have been thrusting themselves at the rest of us, the fact that they are all apparently unbruised and physically healthy is nothing short of a miracle. To the Phelps family Americans have demonstrated nothing less than Christ-like behavior. We have turned the other cheek time and time again against the battering of Phelps’ fetishistic signage. Just this week the United States Supreme Court found yet another cheek to turn toward the Westboro-ites’ tightly fisted picket signs. The spirits of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the Patriot Guard and others who will not be moved to violence against these hate-fueled people who try so hard to chide and goad us down to their level.
So whenever you find yourself thinking we’re all going to hell in a handcart, consider that this handcart may also have u-turning capabilities. We choose not to sink into Fred Phelps’ hell with its’ lake of fiery hatred, brimstone violence and flaming prejudice.
Thanks, Fred. For showing us how not to behave!