Religion

Fred Phelps Is Dead. Gay America Lives On.

Let's stop being obsessed about his increasingly irrelevant church

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If there are gay people in heaven, will he picket the pearly gates?
Credit: Westboro Baptist Church

When I was in college in the 1990s in St. Louis, I remember getting a bunch of bizarre anti-abortion fliers faxed to our student newspaper office. That was my introduction to Fred Phelps, his family, and the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas (and also, to a lesser degree, the frequent experience as a journalist of being sent strange screeds). If I recall correctly, they were in town picketing something, so it was part of their effort to scrounge up some press. They were still crafting their image as far-right extreme religious conservatives, blaming all of America's ills on homosexuality and abortion and other things they defined as non-Christian. I remember seeing Fred Phelps sometimes showing up on daytime talk shows (anybody remember Ricki Lake?), but the Westboro Baptist Church was not yet a household name.

They most certainly are now, and today a family member has revealed that former patriarch Fred Phelps died last night at the age of 84. Fred Phelps had been out of the public eye for some time now, and over the weekend, a son who had broken away from the family said the man was in bad physical shape and had been moved into a care facility. He also, allegedly, had been excommunicated from the church during a power struggle over leadership.

I encountered the Phelps family and Westboro Baptist Church members in person in 1999 as attention on them started ramping up. I was covering a meeting between a group of gay Christians and Jerry Falwell's followers at Liberty University in Virginia. By agreeing to meet with the gay Christians, Falwell was deemed not anti-gay enough, so Westboro Baptist (and another extremely anti-gay church) showed up to picket Falwell. I decided to acknowledge their appearance in my reporting (for an alt-weekly I was working at and for a freelance piece for the gay magazine The Advocate) but I declined actually trying to interview them. Even back then, their shtick was well-worn, at least to the audience I was writing for. They had nothing new to say. Other journalists couldn't wait to get some crazy, nasty quote for them.

They had been picketing the funerals of people who had died of AIDS for years, but after 9/11 they started picketing funerals of soldiers, blaming their deaths on America's failure to believe the same things that the Phelps family believed. Well, now that they were being bipartisan in their cruelty, the coverage took off. Even as they started getting more and more attention, and people across the spectrum started getting repulsed, I found it easier and easier to tune them out. I always wondered why it was such a struggle for others. The federal government passed a law blocking protests near military funerals (and only military funerals, again showing what people were really upset about). The church won a Supreme Court verdict in 2011 that they couldn't be sued for monetary damages by the family of a slain soldier they picketed.

Given that Fred Phelps has already apparently been purged from the church, it's unlikely that his death will change the family's behavior in any recognizable way. On a fundamental level, Fred Phelps is not really responsible for the family's fame—we are. The Westboro Baptist Church is a scab we keep picking at. Americans have grown more and more accepting of gay people, and the church's actions grow more and more desperate to get attention. Yet so many people find it hard to look away from them. They couldn't be any less relevant to the direction the country is moving, and yet they bother us so much that we pass laws to try to stop their protests, arrange elaborate plans to block said protests from public view, and essentially continue to perpetuate their fame by continuing to let the church's actions draw outraged responses.

Like I said, the death of Fred Phelps probably won't result in any changes from the family, but it's a good excuse for the rest of us to move on. I'm sure that right now some dreadful editorial cartoonist is sketching Phelps being met at the pearly gates by all the soldiers his family picketed. It's true that the solution for bad speech is more speech. But the solution to crazy obsession is not becoming obsessed right back at them. Stop picking at this scab. The attention the Westboro Baptist Church received was always much greater than their actual influence or import, except perhaps as a bad example. They were the Kardashian family of religious activism.

Read about Fred Phelps' secret origins as a civil rights attorney who fought racial discrimination in the 1960s here and speculate about what the heck happened.

NEXT: Has the First Amendment Become a 'Conservative' Legal Cause?

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  1. Would not go to his funeral, because he can’t come to mine…

    Meh.

    1. The proper response is to protest his funeral.

      1. The family is being pretty secretive about that. While I don’t think he’s worth the attention it would be funny if a bunch of gays and soldiers showed up to protest.

        1. They can find his grave and convert him to satanism…

        2. While I don’t think he’s worth the attention it would be funny if a bunch of gays and soldiers showed up to protest.

          Or you could just send gay soldiers…..!

          But I’m betting most would have more restraint and dignity than the late Mr. Phelps.

          1. It would be kind of awesome to have a silent and dignified line of gay soldiers just watching.

            1. We should just invite Dick Armey to his funeral. For the lulz

              1. A more unfortunate name for a non gay, non porn actor has never been conceived……

          2. I’d piss on his grave. Dignity be damned.

            1. If someone wouldn’t arrest me for it, so would I…

              But I AM happy and proud to have outlived him so I can continue to oppose his mindless, stupid opinions.

              Shame is that he procreated his ideas, too.

    2. I wouldn’t bother going to his funeral, but I wouldn’t mind pissing on his grave if I’m ever in the area of wherever the hell he’s buried. He’s not worth the effort to take a special trip just to do it, mind you, but like I said, if I ever happen to be in the area, it might be somewhat gratifying to make a side trip.

      1. I am a bit of a vengeful type. If I were anywhere near it, I would go to his funeral just to hold up a sign that says something to the effect of “Fred Phelps currently being ass fucked in hell. His entire family soon to follow” or “God Loves America now that Fred Phelps is rotting in hell”.

        It won’t happen, but it would be great if a mob showed up did to these assholes what they have done to other people.

        1. it would be great if a mob showed up

          No. It wouldn’t. That’s the whole point.

          1. Yes it would. Fuck them. You show up at people’s funerals just to be an asshole, you deserve what you get up to and including dying in a fire.

            I wouldn’t care if a mob showed up and nailed the church door shut and burned the place down with everyone in it Russian Program style. I really wouldn’t. If I were a DA in the county where that happened, I would refuse to bring charges.

            1. And you would be doing exactly what they want. Congratulations.

              1. No, they never showed up and protested at places where they would have actually gotten their asses kicked. They went to any of the smaller towns in Kansas right near where they lived to protest funerals. That is because had they done that, they would have ended up dead and no one would have seen a thing.

                They only showed up at funerals in respectable white suburbs where they knew people would think like you and allow them to get away with it.

                Someone actually standing up to them and doing them harm was the last thing they wanted. If it had happened on any sort of a regular basis, they would have stopped protesting funerals very quickly. They are nothing but bullies who depend upon the good will of others to exist.

                1. Not the good will. They depend on the attention of others to exist.

                  1. It is good will to allow someone to show up and disrupt your loved ones funeral. You can’t just ignore that. You either do nothing and allow it to happen or you step up and do something.

                    The fact that there wasn’t violence directed against them every single time they tried it, shows just how uncivilized and decedent of a society we have become. Phelps should have died eating through a straw because of the beating he suffered at the first funeral he ever protested. In better times, that is exactly what would have happened to him.

                2. That’s all true, John, but no matter how vile the things they say, and how dishonestly they are expressed, it’s still wrong to advocate beating or setting fire to people just for saying outrageous things.

                  1. Only if you are a pacifist android. And I am not a pacifist.

                    1. It does not require being a pacifist to refrain from killing someone for saying objectionable things. You’re way off base here.

                    2. Gosh john, I can see doing a bit of ass-kicking, but crippling or incinerating them? That’s some messed-up $#&@.

                3. they never showed up and protested at places where they would have actually gotten their asses kicked.

                  A few years ago I remember hearing about how they were supposedly going to show up at a military funeral in College Station, TX. Until some A&M students & alumni decided to form a human wall to pevent them from being able to harass the soldier’s family. The WBC pussies never showed. I wonder why?

        2. Show up with a sign saying “God loves everyone, even Fred”.

      2. I wouldn’t bother going to his funeral, but I wouldn’t mind pissing on his grave if I’m ever in the area of wherever the hell he’s buried.

        If I’m there at the same time, I’ll pick up the 12 pack we use to generate the piss.

        1. We could add him to my Dead Politician Grave Pissing Tour as a celebrity guest.

          1. “Dead Politician Grave Pissing Tour”

            INVITE ME PLEEZ!

  2. The dude had a pretty bad drug problem when he was younger. It pretty much fried his brain. He actually used to be a pretty decent lawyer….

    1. That’s true. What’s even odder is the fact that he was a huge civil rights advocate in his early career. Not that that necessarily means that he couldn’t be anti-gay at the same time but it’s just strange that he could go to such extremes.

      1. It was making him buckets of money without having to engage in much effort.

        1. That’s always been my assumption with the WBC: that it is primarily a profit driven organization. Trolling for dollars, that sort of thing.

          1. That is what they were. They showed up and pissed people off in hopes the cops or someone would do something that would allow them to sue.

            When you think about it, you could see how someone who was involved in the old civil rights movement could have looked at the tactics and thought “there is a buck to be made here”. That seems to be what happened with Phelps.

  3. The Westboro church is essentially a money making scam.

    They do outrageous things that incite such oppobrium that they are arrested. They sue the authorities for violating their civil rights. The authorities settle to avoid the cost of a lawsuit.

    Like locusts the family moves from polity to polity, consuming tax dollars like locusts.

    1. This is my take as well. Who knows if they even believed half of what they put on their signs. They just needed to be outrageous enough to get responses.

    2. They protested the local high school after the academy awards because it was on their way to LAX. The city’s risk manager was in hand to make sure they didn’t get a payday out of it…

  4. So Fred Phelps gets to heaven and meets God. Phelps says, “Well Lord, how did I do?”

    God says, “I’m very disappointed with you.”

    Shocked, Phelps responds “What do you mean? I spent my life hating the right things.”

    God says, “No, you didn’t. Did you not read Matthew 21:18? I hate FIGS, you idiot!”

    1. OT, but I’m sure you’ve heard that Obama has accepted the invite to speak at the UCI commencement ceremony this spring. Yay.

  5. The Westboro Church is just a meatspace trolling organization. As we can see every day just here, trolling works, which is why people keep doing it. If you are dumb enough to respond to and acknowledge obvious, blatant trolling, you are the dumbshit perpetuating it, because they feed on your attention.

    1. But Epi, if we all keep talking about how wrong they are, maybe they’ll see the error of their ways.

      1. Exactly, Hugh. As I always say, it’s important to refute arguments that are so retarded and obviously manipulative, because then you…uh…show people…uh…show lurkers that…uh…if you respond to them, uh…what was I talking about again? Really, there’s a real reason beyond being manipulated and knee-jerk stupid to argue with them! There is, if I could just think of it!

          1. You choose to be manipulated?

            1. I often simply demean them and don’t engage in argument.

              But some days, I just feel like arguing for entertainment value. Sometimes the shit they spew is so outlandish I sit there for a second trying to figure out the proper argument to discredit their gibberish. The more outlandish their position, the harder it is to come up with a reasonable counter argument on the fly. It’s a challenge and I find doing so allows me to quickly counter similar bullshit elsewhere and not be caught flat-footed.

              I’m quite certain 90% of the commenters here are more intelligent than I and the counter argument might be obvious to them. Not so with those of us who are not wikid smaaght.

              It’s exercise.

              1. I’m quite certain 90% of the commenters here are more intelligent than I

                That’s why you should keep your pretty little head focused like a laser on those copper mines.

        1. Your idiotic obsession with outing “trolls” is McCarthy-esque.

          1. No, your insistence on coming here and shitting on every thread that reflects poorly on Obama or Team Blue is fascist. You are a fascist piece of shit shreek. Everyone who reads this board knows it and knows what you are. Episiarch is just pointing out one way to deal with you, since Reason refuses to protect the intellectual integrity of their board by banning you.

            1. Fuck you and Phelps both. You two were cut from the same cloth.

              1. Go fuck yourself in the Alaskan Pipeline style.

                1. @PB of course

              2. The cloth of humanity!

                *runs out of room crying*

            1. I didn’t know shreek posted his own youtube videos.

              1. 8% of all ridiculous YouTube videos are shreeky…err…Putins Buttplug submissions.

        2. I sometimes like to respond to the Tony or Shriek type trolls (I try not to with the crazy/Mary or racist asshole ones) because sometimes it’s nice to be able to respond to the sorts of arguments that they make without starting fights with people I know and like. Also, it’s amusing sometimes. I come here for my pleasure, not yours.

          1. I come here for my pleasure, not yours.

            Since when?!?

            1. Since you stopped using the interrobang

          2. And that’s why you’re not getting the big Koch Brothers checks like we are.

          3. I sometimes like to respond to the Tony

            Tony fucked up once too many.

            As of… a couple of day ago I will no longer respond to anything Tony says.

            And to think I used to defend him as not being a troll.

            Then he went and out-trolled the trolliest trolls.

            1. Please, Paul. Capitalism killed Tony’s trolling. Anyone saying otherwise is using racial code language.

              1. well played

              2. Someone pays attention.

                Have a cookie. You earned it.

            2. Well fuck you too. It happens to be TRUE that Detroit is code for black, and if you didn’t know that, then you’re ignorant. Yes, I am well aware that there are perfectly non-racist idiots out there who don’t realize the arguments they’re making are right-wing racist code talk bullshit. But that’s a lot of levels of dumb.

              And it shouldn’t be controversial to say that in capitalism sometimes industries fail, even without any help from government. I thought you all understood that.

              1. “It happens to be TRUE that Detroit is code for black”

                Perhaps for racist liberal progressives it is. I use Detroit as a catch-all description for incompetence, corruption, short-term thinking, bad taxes, etc. Of course, since liberal progressives are often too shallow to look beyond skin tone and aren’t intelligent enough to dissect complex economic or social issues, they often assume that someone discussing Detroit negatively must be racist.

                Basically, it’s not that other people are racist…it’s just that you’re stupid.

              2. Tony…Detroit is code for stupid Democrat. Any color.

    2. Outside of the the totally out-of-bounds funeral picketing, I think they’re hilarious. But then again I like over-the-top humor. They’re caricatures…how could anybody take them seriously? Or worse get upset over it? The reaction they get is definitely what’s alarming, if not depressing.

    3. you are the dumbshit perpetuating it, because they feed on your attention.

      So… demanding hat tips puts one where on the spectrum?

      1. Beloved troll?

  6. They were still crafting their image as far-right extreme religious conservatives

    Knee-jerk much?

    Phelps was a life-long registered Democrat,litigious civil-rights attorney who served as Al Gore’s 1988 state campaign chair.

    1. One can be a “far right” Democrat. You remember Larry McDonald certainly.

      1. My second favorite congressman to serve in my lifetime. A very close second to Dr Ron Paul.

      2. Hi Pooties Buttplug…..!

        I do like that so much better!

    2. SRSLY Shackford, you’re giving real right-wing assholes like SIV a bad name.

      1. Look, Hugh, it matters whether he was TEAM RED or not. Why, I have no idea.

        1. “Far Right”=/=”TEAM RED”

          Libertarians are widely perceived and labeled as “Far Right” by the public, media,government and academia.

          How do you like being lumped in with the Westboro Baptist Church? And by a writer for a libertarian magazine/website at that.

          1. Scott didn’t lump me, or anyone else here, in with anything, you label-obsessed cretin. Your insanely insecure identity issues are your own. Go stew in them, and don’t project them on us. You are one creepy mother fucker.

            1. don’t project them on us

              You only speak for yourself, asshole.
              It’s not all about YOU.

              1. Is Epi violating his own anti-troll principles? That’s it. He’s outta the movement.

                1. That would depend on whether you consider SIV to be troll or just a creepy obsessed freak. I can see either argument.

                  1. I’ve been lurking a little bit today because of an inability to log in and post comments, but he seems to be in rare form today.

                2. Epi correctly identified the Phelp’s clan as outside any particular strain of political ideology

                  Episiarch|3.20.14 @ 1:18PM|#

                  The Westboro Church is just a meatspace trolling organization.

                  which is the same point I was making in objecting to Shackford’s knee-jerk characterization of Westboro as “Far Right”.

                  But he can’t resist going all obsessive stalker on me for being critical of TEAM REASON.

                  1. First off, Shackford didn’t even say they were far-right, just that they crafted an image of being such, so even if they really are just trolling and/or a scam, that doesn’t refute Shackford’s statement.

                    Taking them at face value, the WBC certainly doesn’t fit into any mainstream ideology, but it’s not all ridiculous to say that their social views represent an extreme of what is commonly considered the right-wing in American politics (for the record, I think the left-right dichotomy is a very poor way of measuring political ideology, but if you have no problem identifying certain groups as left-wing, then can’t object to the mere instance of a labeling another group right-wing, though you can present a case as to why you think it is inaccurate)

                    1. Cali….”what is commonly considered the right-wing in American politics”….by everyone but the right wing.

                3. You hold him down….I’ll get his membership card!

            2. I think SIV is right. Labels and such don’t have to matter to us to matter. It’s not that he’s creepy or obsessed, that’s just the world we live in.

                1. I also agree with SIV. The fact that Phelps was a Democratic candidate and activist blows a small but important hole in the current left narrative, so it’s important to point out. People can be anti-gay Christians without being “right wing.”

                  (OMG, I can post again.)

                  1. One can be also be a Democrat and be right-wing. I don’t know anything about their economic views, but it’s labeling their social views as “far-right” is hardly some egregious inaccuracy. I shudder to think how ridiculous threads here would get if people were as pedantic about the labels “left-wing,” “progressive,” or “socialist” as some people here are about “right-wing,” “SoCon,” etc.

                    1. labeling their social views as “far-right” is hardly some egregious inaccuracy.

                      It’s more of a lazy trope which reinforces the current over-simplified left-wing narrative, which libertarians should be fighting against, because that same narrative classifies libertarians as “right-wing.” Don’t adopt the language your opponents use to dismiss you.

                    2. “It’s more of a lazy trope which reinforces the current over-simplified left-wing narrative, which libertarians should be fighting against, because that same narrative classifies libertarians as ‘right-wing.'”

                      Well, I do agree, as I’ve said, that the left-right paradigm is a very poor measure of political ideology, but that clearly isn’t your problem with it, given that you’re using the phrase “left-wing narrative.” One major problem with the spectrum is that very different groups get put on the same side of the spectrum, but that’s just as true for the left as it is the right, and is why I made the point that the comments on this site would be a shitstorm if people were as pedantic about labeling people or groups left-wing as some are about labeling things as “right-wing” or labeling someone a “SoCon.” There is no objective definition of left or right (another fundamental flaw), or a world like “conservative,” but in contemporary American politics, the WBC’s views on social issues are extremely socially conservative, and conservative is more or less equated with being right-wing. I don’t know what their views on economics are, but they clearly did not make them even remotely a significant part of their advocacy or overall ideology, which is why I don’t think it’s unfair to define them by their social views.

                    3. From Wiki, here is a summary of Phelps’s involvement with the national Democratic Party over the last 30 years:

                      “Phelps supported Al Gore in the 1988 Democratic Party presidential primary election.[49] In his 1984 Senate race, Gore had opposed a “gay bill of rights” and stated that homosexuality was not something that “society should affirm”), a position he had changed by 2000 when he had the support of homosexual advocacy groups for his presidential campaign. Phelps has stated that he supported Gore because of these earlier comments.[50] According to Phelps, members of the Westboro Baptist Church helped run Gore’s 1988 campaign in Kansas.

                      During the 1992 presidential campaign, Phelps criticized Hillary Rodham Clinton during a speech he gave endorsing Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign at the University of Kansas on October 14, 1992. In 1996 Phelps and the Westboro church opposed Clinton’s re-election because of the administration’s support for gay rights. The entire Westboro congregation picketed a 1997 inaugural ball,[51] denouncing Vice President Al Gore as a “famous fag pimp” (Gore had changed his positions on gay rights since 1984). In 1998, Westboro picketed the funeral of Gore’s father, screaming vulgarities at Gore and telling him, “your dad’s in Hell”.”

                  2. People can be anti-gay Christians without being “right wing.”

                    +1 black church.

                    (Or perhaps more if the server squirrels posted my original comment.)

                    1. +1 black church.

                      Exactly. “Right wing” is not defined by being anti-gay.

    3. And that is mutually exclusive with being a right-winger because…?

    4. Actually, that brings up a good question. What exactly defines the far right?

      1. How many Hitler paintings they own.

        1. +1 Art lover…..

      2. What exactly defines the far right?

        Trying to reduce your tax burden to merely “crushing”.

        1. I thought it was “anything left-wingers dislike.”

          1. Yes, trying to reduce your tax burden to merely “crushing”.

            Without taxes, there’s no left-wing agenda, the end. Tax burden is at the top of the progressive food pyramid.

      3. Desiring to ” totally roll back the New Deal” in 20th Century American political parlance.

        1. So, in your opinion, do social views fall entirely outside the left-right spectrum?

          1. Polls have a lot of Dems against gay marriage. More Repubs, but the anti-gay marriage Dem vote is pretty big.

    5. I never said they were Republicans and noted his civil rights background at the end. The knee-jerking is yours.

      1. That’s what he does, Scott. TEAM RED 4EVAR!

      2. Who the fuck said “Republicans”? I’m not talking about political parties.

        1. Phelps was a life-long registered Democrat,litigious civil-rights attorney who served as Al Gore’s 1988 state campaign chair.

          I’m not talking about political parties.

          Did someone hack your account?

          1. Well you got me there.

            Phelps didn’t weigh in on his opinion on the New Deal so I used his political organization and candidate affiliations to suggest, unlike anything “Far Right” in the American political tradition, he wasn’t for rolling it back.

            1. More interesting was your desire to protect the “right-wing” from negative associations. I mean, only faggoty cosmo could have a problem with a shitbag like Phelps, right?

              1. Despite your desire to be known as “outside the traditional left/right dichotomy” or others a ” Member of Good Standing:TEAM BLUE” most of the rest of society, correctly or not, lumps “faggoty cosmos” in with the Far Right.

                1. If your point is just that the left-right dichotomy sucks, I take it we won’t see you ever make references to “leftists” or the “left-wing?”

                  1. In a world where militant feminists line up with fundamentalist christians on an anti-pornography crusade – or where the catholic church stands with socialists on an anti-poverty crusade I think it’s safe to say that left and right really have no practical meaning.

                    1. Susan,

                      That is a good point. I think that the left-right dichotomy is very flawed and ideally would be replaced by something better. Under the current system, I suppose that motivation would be the difference between determining whether an anti-porn person is left or right. Feminists oppose it because they view it is as degrading to women, conservatives oppose it because they view it as immoral in several ways, contradictory to Biblical principles, etc.

                      My beef is with people who attack the dichotomy when it is used to classify a certain (odious) group as right-wing, but have no problem when it is used to do the same regarding the left-wing (or vice versa).

                    2. Not to mention in Canada our left/right divide is different than in the US, as is the left/right in Mexico.

                      In Canada most of our politicized religion is very left. Jesus was a socialist, didn’t you know?

                2. So you’re not defending the far-right, except when you are?

                  Cool story, bro.

  7. Homer: If he’s so smart, how come he’s dead?

  8. He also, allegedly, had been excommunicated from the church during a power struggle over leadership.

    Wow, one wonders what one has to do to get excommunicated from the Westboro church.

    1. Bite the head off one of the parishioners….?

        1. Bite the head off a gay parishioner?!

    2. I don’t think he was really excommunicated. They knew his health was failing, and it was a way of transferring assists.

      1. transferring assists.

        Nice…

        1. That looked correct when I typed it.

          1. It wasn’t correct? Oh…

            *disappointed face*

  9. Just a side note, and not calling anyone out by name, but is it just me or has there been a sharp increase in asperger’s around here lately? There some kind of disruption in the medication supply?

    1. Names PLZ.

      1. If you have to ask…

        1. Oh no you didn’t

    2. It was called Asperger’s with a capital ‘a’ and it was eliminated in DSM-5 in favor of being part of the autism spectrum. Also, I’m an excellent driver and Qantas has never crashed.

      1. It was called Asperger’s with a capital ‘a’ and it was eliminated in DSM-5 in favor of being part of the autism spectrum.

        Interesting, because even when it was called Asperger’s it was described as part of the autism spectrum. I mean, was it ever considered NOT part of the autism spectrum? What do they call it now, High-Functioning Autism with Crappy Social Skillz?

        And when ever did the DSM shrink? Isn’t the DSM like government, it’s supposed to get bigger every year?

        1. I would bet the DSM *did* grow overall, just that the term itself was phased-out for PC reasons as it had acquired a lot of pop culture baggage.

        2. They added Internet Addiction, Social Media Addiction, Oprah Compulsive Disorder, and twenty-six new things that girls do to themselves and each other that are all men’s fault somehow.

          1. Oprah Compulsive Disorder

            I can’t tell you how relieved I am to find this is not real.

            1. Oh, it’s real all right. I can’t stop watching!

              1. Ummm…I guess its better than Lena Dunham Compulsive Disorder.

          2. twenty-six new things that girls do to themselves and each other that are all men’s fault somehow.

            Why don’t they just to cut to the chase and say “Everything girls do to themselves are men’s fault?”

            1. Why don’t they just to cut to the chase and say “Everything girls do to themselves are men’s fault?”

              That’s not sciencey enough.

              1. There is no word ‘sciencey’. The proper phrasing would be “That’s not scientifical enough”.

      2. Wapner’s on at 4:30…

        Who’s on first?
        Who.
        The Firstbase.
        Who…

        1. I’m askin’ you, what is the man’s name on first base.

          No, What is the man’s name on second base.

          I don’t know.

          He’s on third.

      3. I believe the correct term is “Ass Burgers”.

    3. We’re all on the spectrum now.

      1. …Wapners on……Wapners on…..Wapners on……Wapners on……Wapners on……Wapners on…..Wapners on……Wapners on……Wapners on……Wapners on…..Wapners on……Wapners on……Wapners on……Wapners on…..Wapners on……Wapners on……Wapners on……Wapners on…..Wapners on……Wapners on…

    4. Autism Awareness week is next week, Paul.

    5. has there been a sharp increase in asperger’s

      No, it’s always been like that. I think everyone seems a little autistic online as there are no physical or vocal social cues to pick up on.

      1. Should I get a job? Wear a hat? Bring home the bacon?

      2. I think everyone seems a little autistic online as there are no physical or vocal social cues to pick up on.

        It’s not just that. There are plenty of people who can read and express tone through writing alone. Those on the spectrum are so dogged and exhausting they eventually drive off neurotypicals. Eventually you are going to be left with only the angry, the delusionally righteous, the malicious and the blogbots that keep going until Wopner’s on. I’d say we are 2/3rds the way to boarderdammerung.

        1. Basically another form of Gresham’s Law.

          1. Good analogy.

  10. I hope the family suffers enormously, and I hope the grave is defiled continuously for decades to come.

    1. Based upon my limited understanding of the Phelps clan… the worst suffering you could inflict upon them would be to ignore them.

      They were literally trolling the media. And the media were all to happy to oblige.

      1. Yet so many people can’t understand this, Paul. You know why? Because they want to be manipulated. They enjoy the outrage and the hate and having the easy enemy. They want it.

        1. They enjoy the outrage and the hate and having the easy enemy.

          It’s a living.

          1. Don’t knock having an easy enemy. It gives you the chance to let yourself off the hook.

        2. Some years ago, NPR actually did a pretty good story on them, and it was a bit of an eye-opener. Bunch of highly educated people with law degrees.

          1. Louis Theroux’s documentary was pretty good. It really made me want to deflower the granddaughters.

        3. People can understand it and still get pissed off. Emotions and reason don’t work well together. Unless you are an ass burger.

  11. Good riddance!

  12. an alt-weekly I was working at and for a freelance piece for the gay magazine The Advocate

    Are you gay (NTTAWWT)? If so, full disclosure is in order.

    1. Scott has been fully disclosed about his sexual orientation for a long time.

      1. He really enjoys brunch.

        1. It really was alligator sausage! And the mimosa was perfect.

      2. Even so, when writing about something that is about gay folk, it would be nice to read: “Full disclosure…” like they do in the WSJ.

        1. What possible difference does it make whether the writer is gay or not?

          1. Epi, where are your principals?

          2. It’s comparable to a writer doing a piece on Apple’s newest iShit and not disclosing that they own $15m in Apple stock.

            1. Is Shackford getting extra financial benefits every time he writes about gay issues, just cause he’s gay?

              1. Didn’t you know the rainbow mafia has a slush fund set aside that they pay a little out to gay writers everytime they write an article or blog post about gay issues?

              2. I knew I’d get hassled and internally debated whether to hit submit. Oh well.

                1. I knew I’d get hassled and internally debated whether to hit submit. Oh well.

                  That would have been your better senses telling you that it was a dumb thing to post.

              3. Nick Gillespie:

                Up until a few days ago, for $99, you could spit in a test tube and send it to 23andMe’s Los Angeles-based labs and get a picture of who you were on a genetic level. The company keeps a constantly growing online database of new studies and information about genetics and illnesses; it also hosts a thriving (and totally voluntary) community of people who can talk among themselves. Unlike your doctor, who is likely to bitch and moan and drag his heels when you ask for a copy of your latest blood test, 23andMe lets you easily access and even download your personal genetic service (PGS) readout. (Some folks have even used the info to make the ultimate statement in personal music.)

                Not no more. While the company can keep serving its current clients (full disclosure: I’m one of them, though with an asterisk I’ll explain in a second)

            2. Wait, what? So if you’re straight and do an article about straight people, you need to disclose that?

              Full disclosure: I am a vegisexual.

              1. Cool. You’re our new salads correspondent.

                1. You know that by putting me in that position, you are putting the worst possible person in it. Are you ready to be responsible for what I might do to some innocent salads? Do you really want that on your conscience, CN? Please say yes!

                  1. The way those salads are dressed…they’re just asking for it!

                    1. Had to bring Epi Brand salad dressing didn’t you…..?

                      I’ll skip lunch today!

                    2. The way those salads are dressed…they’re just asking for it!

                      *erupts into vigorous applause*

                      Bravo!

                  2. Teddy Salad? Is that you?

              2. Full disclosure: I’m an ass man.

              3. That explains your large purchases of Indian corn outside the traditional Thanksgiving decorative season.

        2. Um, why do you care about Scott’s sexual orientation?

        3. “Full disclosure: I love cocks.”

          You homo-obsessives are weird.

          1. I’m viewing Archer for the first time, on DVD. Just watched the “honeypot” episode last night. It was a hoot.

            1. You are entirely too gay. You, like, sneeze glitter.

            2. “I spent last night way the Christ out in the Everglades burying some Dominican guy’s rooster!”

              “Fun! Wha? Oh, you mean literally.”

            3. I tried watching Archer for the first time recently, but it just kind of fell flat for me. I really wanted to like it. Are the earlier seasons better or something?

              1. A lot of the jokes in this season are callbacks to earlier episodes. Plus there’s been quite a bit of character development, so seeing the earlier seasons first would probably help.

                Also, they seriously changed up the entire premise for this season, so I don’t really think you can take it as representative.

                1. Duly noted. Thanks.

    2. You know who else demanded full disclosure on certain people in society?

      1. The US Census?

        1. Fuckers! I’m still mad at their intrusive long form. Enumeration only, asswipes.

        1. Corporations aren’t people!

  13. I’m sure that right now some dreadful editorial cartoonist is sketching Phelps being met at the pearly gates by all the soldiers his family picketed.

    Stop giving Bok ideas!

    OT: Anyone else have trouble all morning with logging in to post comments? I tried a couple of times this morning and kept getting a “page unable to load” error message. It didn’t work until just now when I tried again on a whim.

    1. Yeah, it was screwing me up all morning, wasn’t even able to log in to ask if anyone else was encountering the same problem! It also just recently let me through–probably the tail-end of fixing whatever the problems of the last few days were.

    2. It did that to me until, seeing that it finally worked for you, I tried it again and here I am.

    3. No. The commenting system is functioning perfectly. There have been no problems with the commenting system. Continue with your regular commenting activities.

    4. This is the first time since yesterday morning that I could log in. Same problem about 50x in a row

    5. Clear your cache.

  14. “A” is wrong. “A” doesn’t harm any unwilling person. “A” shouldn’t be illegal.

    Why this is so hard for Christians to get is beyond me. Why certain “activists” only object to some “A”s is beyond me too.

    1. I’m assuming “A” is code for Anal?

  15. Shackford is right. Give the guy no more thought.

  16. Why this is so hard for Christians to get is beyond me

    Some Christians, please.

    1. I’m assuming this was directly at me and misplaced due to a squirrel.

      Fair enough, MOST Christians.

  17. For people who crafted an image as far-right, they sure did piss off the socons with their anti-military bullshit. What TEAM actually supported these clowns, ever? I think they pissed off RED more than BLUE, though it was a tight one.

    1. And anti-America stuff.

      A quick perusal of their signage, they were anti-gay, Anti-America and anti-
      war.

      Hell, for all I know, they might have been a progressive group.

      1. I don’t think they were anti-war. Didn’t they celebrate the deaths it caused? “Thank God for dead soldiers” and all? I thought they viewed the war as God’s way of punishing America for tolerating homosexuality

        1. Yeah, probably. It was all very confusing and I think what they were really doing was lost in the indignation industry’s reaction to it.

          When these guys first showed up on the scene, I was all like, OMG… and then when I started reading their signs and watching their behavior in toto, they became more of a curiosity to me as I began to realize they were trolling. That’s when I sort of stopped paying attention.

          Hell, this thread represents the most time and thought I’ve put into the Phelps’ operation in several years.

    2. As was pointed upthread by Epi, they’re basically just trolls in the real world. Their only real goal was to piss people off, provoke an over reaction by the authorities, sue for lots of money, lather, rinse, repeat. It’s possible that they don’t even believe half the shit they put on their signs.

      1. As was pointed upthread by Epi, they’re basically just trolls in the real world.

        Hey!

        1. As was pointed upthread by Epi several people…

          I wasn’t sure who the first person to make the troll observation was, but I remembered Epi refering to them a “meatspace trolling organisation.” Turns out multiple people made the troll comparison.

          1. Oh he was the first one. I missed his first post… I was wr… wro… mistaken.

  18. No alt-text? “Ding dong, the witch is dead” would be appropriate for a couple reasons.

    1. Even Huffpo commenters are being gracious and wishing him a good afterlife.

      1. Yeah, BP. Be respectful. One of Eddie’s heroes is dead.

        1. Would you be so kind as to [expletive deleted] yourself?

          1. I know it’s going to be a tough day. I’ll pray for you to make it through.

            1. Jeez, NutraSweet, you might as well just go picket his pity party.

              1. Just to be clear, I am against the Phelpses and all their works.

                Can’t I be nice to a dead guy around here? If Huffpo commenters can manage it, we could. Or maybe the HuffPo commenters are gay-bashers?

                1. Yes, because after all, it was so out-of-bounds for gays to hate a self-less hero like Phelps.

                  Notorious G.K.C.|3.17.14 @ 5:04PM|#|?|filternamelinkcustom

                  FRED PHELPS DIES, GAY-RIGHTS ACTIVISTS HARDEST HIT

                  Patrick Fitzgerald of the LGBTQ Alliance, wearing a black armband, said, “it will be tough finding so perfect a hate figure. I suppose we could always use Rick Santorum…”

                  1. I didn’t say it was out of bounds, I said that HuffPo commenters were nice and forgiving. I can understand someone not having that attitude, but few of them were on HuffPo.

                    1. Anyway, you have a good deal in common with Phelps. You both agree that disagreement with someone’s sociopolitical views necessarily entails hatred.

                    2. Just in you and Phelps’ case. Brave Fred… Who now will stand with you against the tragedy of gay marriage?

                    3. As I said, you agree with Phelps that sociopolitical disagreement = hate.

                      You have more commonalities than differences. You may disagree on details, like if gay rights is a good thing or not, but agree on the fundamental point that disagreeing = hating.

                    4. Lol, because that was the crux of Phelps’s ideology

                    5. Yes, yes… the hallowed argument of “No I’m not, you are!”

                      I don’t hate you. I don’t care enough to hate you. You’re nothing but yet another annoying little troll, another dingleberry of homopanic clinging to this blog like all the other disturbed people who think they are here to teach us the light and the way.

                      You are too pathetic to hate, but you sure are fun to laugh at.

                    6. I shudder to think what your hatred is like, if even your mild irritation is ratcheted up this much. It can’t be helping your blood pressure.

                  2. Oh they’re gona use Santorum all right.

  19. I think I can guess why the media covers the Phelpses to death.

    Numero uno, it’s good TV.

    Numero two-o, they embody exactly the image many reporters have of gay-rights opponents. I mean, except the part about supporting Gore and getting NAACP awards, but they just leave that part out.

    Numero three-o, they’re a good tool to scare off moderates who are skeptical of gay rights but don’t want to be associated with these loons. Think of if the media obsessively covered NAMBLA meetings to link that group to gay rights.

    1. The news as entertainment we experience really hurts the exposure of moderate viewpoints.

      1. “What do we want?”

        “A reasonable adjustment of our differences on the basis of justice, while eschewing political point-scoring!”

        “When do we want it?”

        “As soon as practicable!”

  20. Blah, blah, blah, who fucking cares.

  21. Other than reading this article and writing this post I plan to ignore him, his funeral, and his survivors.

  22. What do Fred Phelps and the Ohio State Buckeyes basketball season have in common?

    1. Neither one can dunk for shit.

    2. Ruined my chance at a billion dollars

    3. They’re as dead as my brackets?

    4. Everybody hates both Phelps and the Buckeyes? :-p

  23. Yeah…it really is the younger generation of the family that needs a visit from an Einsatzgruppe

  24. And they’re both dead, poisonous nuts.

    1. As sad as it sounds, this is a thread winner.

  25. RIP Fred. Your impressive ability to maintain the farcical charade you’re known for has made the First Amendment stronger and has accelerated gay rights. Few have done so much for civil liberties.

    1. I think somebody hacked Tony’s account.

  26. Saw this on the CNN comments page (forgive me!):

    “To paraphrase a famous actress, “My mother said to only say nice things about the dead. He’s dead. How nice.” ”

    The best part is watching the page for a few moments as the counter of folks giving it a thumbs up clicks along like a national debt clock.

  27. Phelps was a laughingstock who hurt a lot of people with his BS.
    The world is a better place with him out of it.

    George Vreeland Hill

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