You Are Better Than Fred Phelps (and that’s why he was so dangerous)

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I’ve been around some pretty extreme religious types in my life. You know those rhetorical arguments about modern Christians not really taking the Bible literally because they don’t see a cotton/poly blend as a sin? I’ve known Christians who believed wearing a cotton/poly blend is a sin. Yet, not once in my life have I heard anyone say, “I approve of the Westboro Baptist Church’s work.” I have never personally encountered a Christian-identifying person who said “God hates fags.”

Oh, I’ve heard people say that acceptance of homosexuality would bring God’s judgment upon our nation. But they would never say “God hates fags.”

I’ve heard people say they aren’t required to show love to people the Bible clearly calls an abomination. But they would never say “God hates fags.”

I’ve heard people say they need laws that allow them to refuse jobs and housing to “homosexuals” to protect their sincerely-held beliefs. But they would never say “God hates fags.”

I’ve heard people insist on using the word “homosexual” to refer to all LGBTQ people, because calling gays and lesbians “gays and lesbians” allows them to normalize their perverted lifestyle, and because bi and transgender people don’t really exist anyway. But they would never say “God hates fags.”

I’ve heard people say, “We’re losing our country,” not knowing they were speaking to one of the people to whom they’re supposedly losing it. But they would never say “God hates fags.”

I’ve heard people say we should love homosexuals the same way we should love addicts, adulterers, and pedophiles, with the obvious implication that these are all on the same moral/psychiatric plain, and that the end goal of that love is saving these people from their dysfunction and perversion. But they would never say “God hates fags.”

I’ve heard people say homosexual desire is a temptation like any other, and that it’s no sin if you never act on it – that is, if you choose a life alone, a life with a spouse you can never fully love, or a life of the impossible task of shutting down half of your sexuality while keeping the other half alive enough for functional relationships. But they would never say “God hates fags.”

I’ve heard people say homosexual love can never be real love, only broken, shallow, selfish, insatiable lust. But they would never say “God hates fags.”

I’ve heard people compare my first love, which wouldn’t have been considered inappropriate in any way if it had been with a boy, to bestiality. But they would never say “God hates fags.”

I’ve heard people say that we can’t grant homosexuals the right to marriage and families because we have to protect the institutions of marriage and family. But they would never say “God hates fags.”

I’ve heard people say that, while they believe in reaching out to unsaved homosexuals, they couldn’t continue to fellowship with unrepentant homosexual Christians as believers. But they would never say “God hates fags.”

I’ve heard people go out of their way to find something, anything, in someone’s past to which they can attribute the “brokenness” of same-sex attraction, to explain away as dysfunction something they’d see as beautiful and healthy if it were between two people of the opposite sex. But they would never say “God hates fags.”

I could go on for a hundred pages. If you think I’m saying that all these people are really no better than Fred Phelps, you’ve completely missed the point. These people are better than Fred Phelps. These are nice people. These are people who don’t want to hurt anyone. These are people who sincerely want the best for their neighbors, for their nation, for the poor broken homosexuals. These people feel sincerely torn over how to discriminate in the kindest way possible. They might be you. They have been me. You, most likely, are better than Fred Phelps. I was and continue to be better than Fred Phelps. And that’s his true danger. Fred Phelps and others like him let us believe that being better than them is good enough.

Fred Phelps is dead. Let the scapegoating die with him. Let us all resolve that we can do better than “better than Fred Phelps.”

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Author:

Author, blogger, internet person. My claim to fame is Thalia's Musings, an indie fantasy series set in the ancient Greek pantheon and narrated by the muse of comedy. http://thaliasmusingsnovels.com/ https://amethystmarie.com/

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