Calls for gay rights protest at Fred Phelps’ funeral

While some have called for the leader of the 'God Hates Fags' Westboro Baptist Church to be given a taste of his own medicine, Kansas gay rights campaigners believe the LGBTI community should take the high road

Calls for gay rights protest at Fred Phelps’ funeral
17 March 2014

Several people have called to hold a gay rights protest at the funeral of Fred Phelps, the leader of the ‘God Hates Fags’ Westboro Baptist Church.

While he has not passed on yet, his estranged son Nate has confirmed the father of the ‘most hated family in America’ is on his deathbed.

He is currently in Midland Hospice house in Topeka, Kansas. No other information is available about his condition.

The Westboro Baptist Church, a cult-like organization based in Kansas has for years picketed soldiers’ funerals and protested against LGBTI rights.

As soon as Phelps’ condition was announced, several called for the pastor to be given a ‘taste of his own medicine’ and for a gay rights protest to be held at his funeral.

‘Let’s protest the Westboro Baptist Church’s funeral for Fred Phelps by holding a graveside gay wedding and rave,’ one said on Twitter.

‘So Westboro baptist church leader Fred Phelps is on his deathbed. The entire country should show up and protest at his funeral,’ another added.

And another: ‘Please go to the funeral for Fred Phelps and protest with signs that say, "God loves gays." Thank you.’

Groups on Facebook have been set up in an attempt to picket at Phelps’ funeral, with one having thousands of members.

Some gay rights activists, however, have asked the LGBTI community to be better than the Westboro Baptist Church and take the high road.

‘If the reports of Fred Phelps’ declining health are accurate, then his family and friends are certainly saying their goodbyes and preparing to mourn his loss,’ said Sandra Meade, chairwoman of Equality Kansas.

‘We ask that everyone understand the solemnity of the occasion, and honor the right of his family and friends to remember and mourn his loss in private without interruption or unseemly celebration.’

‘For over 20 years, Phelps and the members of his Topeka-based church have harassed the grieving families of LGBT Kansans and others,’ said Thomas Witt, executive director of Equality Kansas.

‘’He and his followers showed utter disregard for the privacy and grief of others for many years.

‘This is our moment as a community to rise above the sorrow, anger and strife he sowed, and to show the world we are caring and compassionate people who respect the privacy and dignity of all.’

And George Takei, gay actor and advocate, said: ‘I take no solace or joy in this man’s passing. We will not dance upon his grave, nor stand vigil at his funeral holding "God Hates Freds" signs, tempting as it may be.

‘He was a tormented soul, who tormented so many. Hate never wins out in the end. It instead goes always to its lonely, dusty end.’

In an unofficial GSN poll, at the time of writing, readers are divided on the idea of protesting at Phelps’ funeral. 39% of you are in favor of a protest, 48% are against and 12% are undecided.

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