On March 19 of this year, Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church passed from this turning of the wheel to the next. Passing away at 84, Phelps left behind a legacy of hate and divisiveness. In some aspects, this was expected. His vocal vitriol against homosexuals and the military (among others) earned him an infamous place in history. Unfortunately, with his passing, he leaves a deeper and blacker root. Across social networks, news sites, and personal conversations, the general consensus is his passing was not soon enough. In addition to this is the solidarity that Phelps soul should burn in the deepest pit of hell.
While I will not pass judgement on Phelps, I will say that to take up the mantle of hate does nothing but continue the cycle and poison the mind. Oddly enough, the Christian mantra of “Love the sinner, hate the sin” which is used so often in dealing with the homosexual community comes to mind. Hate breeds hate. To continue to carry the burden weighs heavily on the shoulders of the living.
Realize, this is not an apology for Phelps’ actions. Hate should be met with the most ardent action. Families and individuals across the country have suffered untold and unknown pain at the hands of this man and his followers. This pain will last well after the name Fred Phelps has passed from the common sphere.
Embrace love. Embrace peace. Embrace harmony. Let the memory of this man die and walk through the world around you watching as Spring erupts into the world.