Hoax: Westbro Baptist plans to protest Fred Phelps funeral

Pastor Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church. Not pictured: men's parka.

Pastor Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church. Not pictured: men’s parka.

Fred Phelps is dying, to the internet’s unbecoming glee. A Wisconsin woman has created a Facebook page called Fred Phelps Death Watch, which announces that “1 like = 1 death prayer for Fred Phelps!” The exclamation point makes it fun. “Sometimes it’s easier to make light of an ugly situation and to just laugh at everything,” she told USA Today, missing an important aspect of being good-humored: you laugh at bad things that happen to¬†you. The Westboro Baptist Church brings out the worst in everybody. For example, a Twitter account that once belonged to Phelps’s daughter announced over the weekend that the church would protest Phelps’s funeral.

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1) Fred Phelps sucks so much. 2) We have to let him do stuff.

Fred Phelps, pastor of the Westboro Baptist Church and relentless cockbag, seen here with a map.

Camus famously remarked that by age 40, every man has the face he deserves. Fred Phelps is considerably older than 40, and his face has been startlingly disfigured by constant, hateful yelling. He looks like evil Gerald Ford, or possibly the alien from Enemy Mine. Phelps is the leader of the Westboro Baptist Church,* a small congregation in Kansas that has drawn national attention for its protests at the funerals of Iraq War veterans, Elizabeth Edwards, and anyone else that might draw attention to their message, which is pretty much that God hates everybody. “You cannot preach the Bible without preaching the hatred of God,” Phelps is fond of saying. His essential contention is that, because the United States tolerates homosexuality and abortion, everything bad that happens is God’s punishment and should be praised. He’s what theologians call a complete asshole, and his indecent, message-free publicity-mongering embodies all that is worst in protest. Earlier this week, Phelps announced Westboro’s intention to protest the funeral of Christina Taylor-Green, the nine year-old girl shot by Jared Loughner during his attack on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. That’s why the Arizona legislature quickly passed a law yesterday banning protests at funerals. It’s also why I’m making this rueful face when I say that they shouldn’t have done that.

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