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May 07, 2003

Fred in Hell

The "Reverend" Fred Phelps sent some of his minions to protest at a memorial service for Fred Rogers (of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood) apparently because Mr. Rogers' never interrupted his daily lessons of love, inclusion and acceptance to note parenthetically to a nation full of preschoolers that men who lay with men will be slowly masticated in the slavering, bacteria-ridden jaws of Satan for all of eternity. Phelps' minions even hauled out signs that read "Fred is in Hell," for which the only thing to note is that the tense is premature for the Fred for which I suspect this statement will ultimately apply.

The fact that Fred Phelps would claim Mr. Rogers is broiling in Hell is so extreme that I assumed it had to be hoax. But no; go to Phelps' site (the glowingly friendly domain godhatesfags.com) and there's a link to a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review story mentioning Phelps' minions' presence (in the 25th paragraph). So it's true enough.

I can't imagine what it must be like to be so obsessed with the sexual acts of other people that you're ready to condemn arguably the nicest single man in the history of the United States to the pit of Hell because he didn't teach a bunch of four-year-olds to hate, except to note that there's clinical evidence to suggest that many homophobes are actually aroused by homosexuality, and Phelps is the biggest homophobe of them all. Do the math here. Some member of the Queer Nation needs to (you should excuse the expression here) swallow hard and give ol' Fred Phelps what he really wants. A grateful nation would honor such a person forever.

And it's not like Fred would have to worry about his immortal soul. He was going to Hell anyway. I mean, seriously. You're God: Which Fred are You going to clasp to Your bosom? Hint: Not the one that's going to suspect You're a fag for doing so.

Posted by john at May 7, 2003 08:29 AM

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Guy Matthews | May 7, 2003 09:40 AM

So John, want help digging out a bomb shelter? You may be needing it soon with the kinda attention that one's gonna attract! I have some zealot repellant aerosol I could get you a good deal on too.

John Scalzi | May 7, 2003 09:50 AM

Nah. Bring it on. If I can't fend off religious homophobes with one hand tied behind my back, I really don't deserve to live.

tripp | May 7, 2003 09:59 AM

Assuming for the moment that everyone has a purpose in life, I think the best thing some people can strive for is to be a wonderful bad example.

Amanda | May 7, 2003 10:43 AM

There's an editorial at:


that talks about the plans for the protests; there were a number of locations beyond the memorial that the Phelps protesters visited while in town. I was pleased to hear that few groups bothered to legitimize these monsters with a response, beyond a counter-protest at the memorial itself organized to block out the hateful messages from children who would be attending.

rob 'autographed cat' wynne | May 7, 2003 11:18 AM

I wish I could say this surprised me, but Phelps has been a certifiable nutcase for years, and is totally hung up on this issue. As I commented in my journal (linking to your entry here), "Phelps and his venemous ilk are such frothing pinheads that even other homophobic religious zealots recognize he gives them a bad name."

Jim | May 7, 2003 12:20 PM

Dissing Mr. Rogers! Phelps does, indeed, deserve to roast in hell.

I have never understood homophobia. Back in my single days I thought that homosexuality should be encoraged; it meant less competition for the available supply of women. (or do I mean the supply of available women?)

Roger | May 7, 2003 01:19 PM

> I have never understood homophobia.

Well, it's a phobia. What's to understand? Can
you understand arachnophobia? How about

Just remember that the proper way to treat anyone
with a phobia or any other sort of mental
illness is to mock and shun them, as everyone

Melanie | May 7, 2003 01:30 PM

Phelps wants someone who undoubtedly qualfied as a bodhisattva to roast in hell because he didn't preach against homosexuality? That is just so. . .mindboggling.

And wasn't Phelps the one who'd been spotted propositioning transsexual prostitutes while "disguised" in a jogging suit a couple of years ago? Talk about self-loathing.

Zeynep | May 7, 2003 01:36 PM

Not all phobias are equal, I guess---I myself am arachnophobic, violently so, but I will not kill spiders if I can help it. In spite of the fact that it's a struggle, I capture them and deport them from the premises (read: my home). And I do get my share of mockery, but not shunning.

I don't try to teach anyone, whatever age, to hate spiders.

Phelps thankfully seems to have reached the "Oh, just go away" status a while ago---otherwise, this [protesting against Rogers] is such a stupid-level outrage that I would have expected to hear more about it elsewhere.

Lisa | May 7, 2003 03:38 PM

And people don't understand why I say I left Kansas because Kansas is the Antichrist...And this is one of the reasons why. We used to see Fred and gang on the street corners protesting someone's restaurant for even SERVING a known homosexual. It does something to kids to see this guy standing on the corner yelling venomous hate week in and week out. Then they all grow up and destroy the career of their sex education professor and get evolution banned from science class.

Phelps already lives in hell. That state gives me the heeby-jeebies. But not all Kansans are evil, of course, and I know that after seeing him destroy hundreds of funerals, thousands of them are already organizing the mass demonstration that will occur as he is laid to rest. He's gotta be homosexual. (or perhaps a homophile, in your words) Why else the fascination?

Burns! | May 7, 2003 04:42 PM

Wait just a minute here...
Was Mr. Rogers gay? I mean, I knew about Bert & Ernie, but wasn't Mr. Rogers a 'family man?' The two are not mutually exclusive, I know, but...

Amanda | May 7, 2003 05:11 PM

Fred Rogers was not gay; Phelp's problem with him was that he didn't use his platform with children to actively speak out against homosexuality.

It probably didn't help that Rogers attended a church which considered itself "More Light Presbyterian", a religious movement which describes itself at www.mlp.org as "seeking the full participation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people of faith in the life, ministry and witness of the Presbyterian Church".

Adam | May 8, 2003 12:27 AM

It takes energy not to hate this man.

Tripp | May 8, 2003 10:21 AM

Oooh, Malanie, it would so not surprise me to find out that Phelps was 'busted' in some twisted way.

But I haven't heard that. Does anyone have any references?

Nat | May 8, 2003 02:13 PM

http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/michael_haggerty/expose3.htm is interesting reading for people curious about Phelps.

Apparently almost all of his "congregation" is composed of his children, who he's been accused of seriously beating and abusing over the years.

Most people also don't know that he's a disbarred lawyer -- the court doesn't take kindly to lawyers who steal from their clients.

mark | May 9, 2003 10:47 AM

That is, I suppose, "steal" in the sense of "take without permission", rather than "take an exorbitant amount of money by bamboozling client that it's worth it" :-)

hello | July 18, 2003 10:34 PM