StoreThe first time I saw Fred Phelps and the Westboro Church was at the end of the Rose Parade. Bringing up the rear, right behind Santa were the sign toters telling us we were all going to hell. Year after year, he and his crew would show up, bringing their particular brand of fear-inducing Christianity to the parade that was otherwise scented with flowers. He knew no boundaries: part firebrand and peacock, he picketed the funeral of Mr. Rogers, as well as service members who died in combat (he had a particular hatred for those in the military).
Last week was Fred’s turn to offer himself to the Lord. What happens there is between him and God. I’ll leave it at that. But here on earth, Fred will be remembered by how much he hated. That’s a pretty lousy legacy to leave, and fools are those who decide to maintain it.
His vitriol to the men and women who served our country, his mockery of their deaths, managed to galvanize parents, sons, daughters, veterans, friends, and total strangers to come together as a community. We witnessed an outpouring of love for families of the fallen, much of this led by the Patriot Guard Riders in towns across America.
We had a chance to show Fred and his ilk that love is stronger and more unifying than hate.
That, my friends, is powerful stuff. Simply put: it’s victory.