Fred Phelps, the founding pastor, and lead hate-inspirer at the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas and apparent keeper of the super-helpful website god hates fags dot com (I write it out so as not to give it any linkage) has died. He has led the "church" to protest funerals of soldiers and others, claiming the country ought not be mourning because that is the judgment of god (little 'g' on purpose so as not to give it credence) upon a nation that has forsaken basic morality.
They even protested my alma mater, Baylor for something I can't remember. I think it was for Baylor hosting the memorial services for the West, Texas fertilizer plant explosion.
For clarity, I consider him a pastor like I consider my lab-beagle mix a wolf. And I consider their "church" as much a church as I consider the Buddhists to be Baptists. If you work hard enough, you can find similarities. But no one would naturally associate the two.
He's dead. He's facing his Maker - not the one of his own making, but the real deal, the genuine article. God. The Righteous Judge. The King.
Should I be happy about this? Like when UBL was killed. Is there rejoicing in me? Should there be?
No. There's no rejoicing in the death of the wicked. And there's no glee in a person who showed no mercy now desperately in need of some. A man who so often pronounced God's judgment is now facing it. I don't claim to know his eternal state. That's not my job.
But this is haunting: "Be merciful as your Father is merciful."
And then I wonder how to apply it today. To my friends. To my kids. To my wife. To my co-laborers.
That command stands. No matter what the Phelps family says.