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  WINDY CITY TIMES

VIEWS God hates funerals?
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Kim Flowers
2014-03-25

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I never understood the motive behind the Westboro Baptist Church's picketing, but now that its leader, Fred Phelps, has passed away I see that since he's not having a funeral.

Maybe that's what God really hates!

This particular religious sect seems to hate them, anyway. The debate over whether those of us angered by the church's actions should picket Phelps' funeral has now been decided for us, since there won't be one. Perhaps that's best so we're not tempted to stoop to this hate group's level; but on the other hand, I thought picketing wouldn't hurt. Not because of Fred Phelps—as he's no longer alive and, in my opinion, is probably not aware of anything at all any more—but I thought maybe his surviving family members might see, in their grief, just what they have done to hurt others. However, instead of hateful signs, we could have bombarded the funeral with rainbows, glitter and hearts.

I'm sure the readers of Windy City Times are well-aware of what Phelps has led his church to do. What's unclear is what will happen next. Perhaps one of his family members/followers will continue the work he begun, but I think it's more likely the organization will fall into chaos or divide into smaller factions. As much as it would give us satisfaction to pay these people back with what has been done to us, maybe it really would be best to just leave them alone.

But if the group continues with its hateful actions, I think we should all step up and do something to show that this is not right. In spite of the fact that many of his followers are also lawyers and have learned to toe the line so their protests are protected under freedom of speech, how can a sign that says "God Hates Fags" honestly be seen as anything but hate? The Equality House—a facility across the street from the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan., that is painted in rainbow colors—is a great example of countering this organization's hateful ways and showing that loving people exist. However, it hasn't been enough to stop the church.

What's really interesting is that some Christians are claiming Fred Phelps wasn't a "true" Christian. The sad truth is there really are quotes in the Bible that say homosexuality should be punished by death, or at least hell, depending on the chapter, verse and possibly inaccurate translations. Some Christians choose to ignore these verses, or say that one "sin" is no worse than any other.

Maybe we should think of Phelps not as a wayward fanatic, but as someone actually putting the words of the Bible in public that many people ignore. People say Jesus lived a life of love and non-judgment, and it's true that he didn't say anything about gay people; unfortunately, all those other books in the Bible have some conflicting information about love, life and God. I think religious people should really search their hearts and read this book they claim to believe in and ask what message it really gives.

Christians believe the ancient towns of Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by God because the people of the town had gay sex. Phelps thought acceptance of gay people in the United States would lead our country to the same fate because he believed this story and because some Protestants consider the entire Bible infallible. I think Phelps knew exactly what the Bible says and he did his best to spread the word—except for maybe that whole part about not judging other people.

We would be doing what the Bible says if we turn the other cheek, but do we really need to?

Kim Flowers is an author from Indiana. kimflowersbooks.weebly.com


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