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#462969 - 03/22/14 10:07 AM Re: Fred Phelps is Dead [Re: Chase Eric]
don64 Offline

Registered: 10/09/13
Posts: 1106
Hi Rustam,

I always become extremely concerned when anyone tells me what obeying God's Law is. It seems to me that the Bible and God's law are continuously re-interpreted by human beings.

I do agree that tolerance and respect is a healthy way to live, and I do my best to translate tolerance and respect in every aspect of my life. But you, Rustam, make statements about "all people of faith," "obeying gods law." And, you also make mention of Phelp's "interpretation of scripture." My experience is people and religions interpret scripture quite differently. The point of this to me is this is a forum devoted specifically to Gay, Bi, Trans issues, and it feels insensitive to me that you are preaching here about respecting the perspective of a man who has spread terrible hatred for me as a gay man. Maybe you believe hatred has something to do with God, but I don't. And, I don't believe that makes either of us right or wrong. It's how I am experiencing myself at this time. I grow, change, evolve. My perspective changes as I mature.

Saying "he was as sincere a christian and man of god as anyone can claim to be" feels to me as if you are making decisions about who is a sincere man of god and christian and implying that the posters in this forum need to learn to think as you do. I understand that you are the only one who can bring into focus your beliefs and understandings about yourself, but to make proclamations about how other people need to think and believe is rather scary to me. It implies that you have some special right to dispense truth. I think the way I think. Period. It would never occur to me to tell you how to think.

For me, your comments are appropriate in the Spirituality forum, and in that forum I would not give this a second thought. But, here, it feels extremely insensitive.

Divine Law is not judgment or denial of self truths. Divine Law is honoring harmony that comes from a peaceful mind, an open heart, a true tongue, a light step, a forgiving nature, and a love of all living creatures. Jamie Sams & David Carson, Medicine Cards

#462972 - 03/22/14 02:37 PM -a poem about the preacher of persecution [Re: Chase Eric]
WriterKeith Offline

Registered: 12/30/10
Posts: 980
Poor Mean Fred.
Fred is dead.
Like H.H. Holmes, he made his bed.

He hated everyone alike,
From soldiers and veterans of the Middle East strike,
To Christians, homosexuals, reporters, Jews,
Or any subculture one could choose;

They did not like Fred in the North
Where he would picket back and forth;

They did not like Fred in the South
Where he would run his nasty mouth;

They did not like him in the East
They did not like him in the least;

Fred was not welcome in the West
Where he would hold his hate protest;

Will mean Fred be in Heaven fair?”
‘Cause Fred’s not welcome anywhere.

St. Peter, shut the gates and shout,
“Mean Fred, you’re a soul we ALL can do without!”

#462977 - 03/22/14 05:23 PM Re: Fred Phelps is Dead [Re: Rustam]
ThisMan Offline

Registered: 01/23/13
Posts: 778
Loc: upper south
I also appreciate your comments, Rustam. I was going to respond yesterday, but thought I would give some time to think about some of your comments. And in the process, I read some more articles regarding Phelps.

I will just use my experience as my base, that way all will understand it is my perspective and nothing else. No judgement, no argument, just me. …cool? Cool.

When a group of people put out press releases or gather on the street to celebrate the death of soldiers and the death of children (as they did with the Arizona shootings and the Sandy Hook shootings) all we can gather from that is that they are a small hate group. (I intentionally left out their celebrations of the death of gays).

When they use vile language (profanity on both their placards and their lips), they are speaking in a manner God does not condone. I could go on but I won't. There are others who can speak more deliberately than me and I easily concede to them.

But as far as giving legitimacy to such hate filled beliefs- no. It has happened so many times in so many places throughout the world that to give such credence is to condone the mass murders and genocide of yesteryear and today. And make no doubt, if the articles and information are true, Phelps would have been the first to place the noose around a gay man's neck (that's my neck-). He wanted death for gay people. So, wishing death on someone who is no different than you (other than they privately love or sleep with someone of the same sex- or not-) is not biblical. It just isn't.

His "church" should not even be considered a church. It is a part of a dysfunctional family's compound with approximately 20 members at the present time. Most sociologists consider it equivalent to a "clan family", in that they function within their own small, small world of twisted reality. At times venturing out to spew their hatred just to make themselves that much more righteous than the rest of us and to declare that they are the only church.

I would definitely hesitate to consider him a sincere Christian and man of God. At least by Biblical standards.

Anyway, to show that this line of thought causes death to many innocent people, we only need to think of the Salem Witch Trials of 1692-93. Same wonderful principle of biblical scholarship and self-righteousness and hate still applies.

You know a man by the fruit he bears. What fruit did Phelps offer to help feed a hungry world? He is dead. The world is hopefully a far better place for not only gay people but for the families of dead soldiers, dead children, tornado victims and so it goes.

Maybe the family compound will disappear into the earth as the family cottage did in the movie "Carrie". Just maybe.

And mods- this response can be deleted at anytime if deemed inappropriate. I just needed to say hate is hate is hate. And innocent people are harmed and die from such.

Edited by ThisMan (03/22/14 05:28 PM)
Edit Reason: to clarify thoughts
For now we see through a glass, darkly.

#462978 - 03/22/14 06:00 PM Re: Fred Phelps is Dead [Re: Chase Eric]
Rustam Offline

Registered: 10/27/04
Posts: 474
Loc: UK
I am sorry guys, I am a gay atheist, I completely failed to make my point. The point I was trying to make is that his horrific theology is as legitimate as that of anyone else, yes it is horrific but it is based on his faith and his interpretation of the bible. He may be an embarrassment to more enlightened christians but a christian he was, I watched enough of him to know he knew his bible inside out. He had the same right as anyone else to his version of gods work as he saw it. There is no objective evidence to say his theology is less reasonable or legitimate than that of any religious leader of any faith. An ideology based on a book believed to be the word of god can lead anywhere. If faith based morality deserves respect, there is as much evidence for his version of gods will as there is for any ayatollah, rabbi, pope, pastor or anyone else who through faith and a holy book decides what gods will is. Respect for faith has to cover all faiths however mad, bad or repulsive they are.
Hope I have made myself clear now, I am really sorry for being so clumsy, I wrote this in a hurry to try and clear up my mistake.

#462979 - 03/22/14 06:39 PM Re: Fred Phelps is Dead [Re: Chase Eric]
Chase Eric Offline

Registered: 10/25/10
Posts: 2955
Hi, Rustam -

There is room for open-minded thought on this. I appreciate your perspectives, and respect your attempts at a reasoned discussion. You are gay, yet can speak with eloquence about a group that would hate you. You are an atheist, yet speak respectfully of biblical scholars. So you have a remarkable potential for unbiased, balanced thought. However, I believe the precepts of your arguments are fundamentally flawed. Have you looked carefully at Westboro?

Calling parishioners in the Westboro Baptist Church just another religion is like calling Nazis in a 1940's Munich beer hall just another political party, or like calling the guy who molested me my first boyfriend. Hate groups and criminals often are wolves in sheep's clothing. As far as I know, Westboro has never been accepted as a denomination of any established church. It has, however, been identified as a hate group by established civil rights organizations.

Please visit and look carefully. Go to the other linked Westboro sites, many of which have "hate" in the url. Look at the picture galleries of church members holding signs saying things like "Pray for More Dead Soldiers." Then explain how a biblical scholar can build a church on "hate" when the bible carries the word "love" ten times more.

#462980 - 03/22/14 07:12 PM Re: Fred Phelps is Dead [Re: Chase Eric]
SoccerStar Offline

Registered: 10/15/12
Posts: 929
If faith based morality deserves respect

And what if it doesn't?

Anybody can believe anything, so you should only respect people based on their behavior - "Faith without works is dead."

Or as a great speechwriter once put it: "We are not deceived by their pretenses to piety. We have seen their kind before."

My story

"Don't think it hasn't been a little slice of Heaven just because it hasn't!" --Bugs Bunny

#462981 - 03/22/14 07:18 PM Re: Fred Phelps is Dead [Re: Chase Eric]
Rusty563 Offline

Registered: 02/26/11
Posts: 209
Loc: Anywhere, USA
Hi guys,

I wanna chime in. My father is a Baptist preacher whom I do respect as a "man of God" only because I never witnessed him abuse scripture to suit his own agenda. That said, our relationship sucked unless I was singin' for Jesus. Long story there and contradictory to being Christ-like.

Anyway, he once made a point about Christians who cherry pick scripture and how you can use it to create a whole religious movement. To paraphrase, he said "Judas hung himself" and "go thou and do likewise." Two different scriptures contorted and used out of context to suit a demented religious campaign.

I've seen so much hate and vile abuse hurled at people under the banner of God (remember Jerry Falwell and his Moral Majority?) that my own heart has changed towards those who have been made the targets of God's alleged wrath. My love and compassion has deepened. I believe that people who call themselves Christians and ignore Christ's first call are liars. There is a scripture that says (paraphrased), "if you say you love God and hate your brother then you are a liar and the truth is not in you."

Okay, Sunday School lesson over. Turn to to page 444 in your hymnal and sing along!

Love, Rusty
There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you - Maya Angelous
Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed - Martin Luther King

#462982 - 03/22/14 07:37 PM Re: Fred Phelps is Dead [Re: Rusty563]
Chase Eric Offline

Registered: 10/25/10
Posts: 2955
@Rusty -

+1 - thanks for sharing that. I think your father's perspective is a wise one. I am a very secular person, and never go to services or read the bible. My partner doesn't go to services either, but does read the bible. He once had me - a Jewish boy - read the Gospels, and I was at points in tears with it's beauty and simplicity. Seeing the heartbreaking actions at Westboro also bring me to tears - but more like dirty socks would do.

@Rustam -

It is important to say that we are all here for each other, and there is room for disagreement. I take no offense with what you say and am happy you can feel safe enough here to express your perspectives. I respect them, but I question them never-the-less.

#462992 - 03/23/14 02:34 AM Re: Fred Phelps is Dead [Re: Chase Eric]
Jude Offline

Registered: 08/09/12
Posts: 1633
Loc: New England
Okay, so we've pushed two of our hottest buttons: sexuality and religion, both of which are very personal, and for many, self-defining. Tempers flared and now seem to have calmed. Now we can agree on just a few things we can share.
  • Gratitude to live in a country where the right to express even the most vile, hateful views are protected.
  • Gratitude to live in a country where the right to express our spiituality (or not) as we see fit is protected.
  • Gratitude to live in a country that is finally begining to accept variances in sexuality that were once deemed unacceptable.
  • Gratitude that while there will always be evil in the world, as long as good people do not stay silent, the evil will not prevail

Be well,

I will remember you
Will you remember me?
Don't let your life pass you by
Weep not for the memories
Sarah McLachlan

#462996 - 03/23/14 03:44 AM Re: Fred Phelps is Dead [Re: Jude]
Chase Eric Offline

Registered: 10/25/10
Posts: 2955
@Jude - Amen. I thought I would add, however, that I did not perceive much in the way of flaring tempers. Strong opinions, perhaps, but I thought it was a civil discussion on a hot topic, and congratulate everyone here for keeping it balanced. I learned a lot reading the comments here.

I even learned something from Fred Phelps - in his extremes of hatred, he showed where darkness leads. We all have darkness to some extent. And while it must have been rough to be on the receiving end of his vitriol, I cannot imagine the torture of being him and living a life pickled in hatred. But he's gone now, and I should probably heed the advice of Thomas Jefferson: When the Lord puts His hand on a man's shoulder, I take mine off. If there was any final judgment on old Fred Phelps, I suspect it has been done.

And maybe Keith can put this in Seussian prose similar to his great post here, but if there is reincarnation, maybe Fred will come back as a gentle house cat.

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