Fred Phelps was dying. I read the news with a cup of coffee in my hand. He and his followers of Westboro Baptist picketed so many funerals. In 1998 they began their public ministry at the funeral of a young gay man who had been savagely beaten, crucified and left alone to die. They carried signs that read, “Matthew Shepard Entered Hell Oct. 12, 1998.” There was not one drop of empathy to be found within their hate filled hearts, even more frighteningly the look of glee upon their faces confirmed their sick enjoyment. This evil was to be witnessed over and over at many funerals throughout the years.
Is just me or does anyone else find it ironic that Fred Phelps lay dying virtually alone upon his death bed? His faithful followers had turned there backs upon him a year ago for being “too sympathetic.” What hate must breed between the walls of their church. I can’t even imagine.
I was actually saddened as I read the article. As a gay individual I felt no glee or sense of vindication at this man’s soon demise. I felt fear for his soul. Fear at how his god (note the little “g”) would receive him into the afterlife. I would not want to be his soul.
These feelings of sadness and fear led me to write the following poem about Fred Phelps: (At the time I wrote it I wasn’t aware of his death)
Is He Dead Yet?
Is he dead yet? I really don’t know.
It’s been a while since the rooster crow…
Was tall, proud..And full of hate
I wonder if he’s met the date?
All we there…A path to trod…
One day to lay within the sod.
A worm doth eat…A maggot chew…
To feast upon the skin of blue.
A cold and dank miserable place…
Is he there yet? What of his fate?
I would not want his soul to be…
Seeping, gasping desperate to flee…
To say ado, farewell, goodbye
Exit the body and into the sky.
Flittering, fluttering and on it’s way
To hover before his judgment Day.
Naked afraid and trembling be
Recompense? Damnation? Or… mercy?
Will earthly words that left his face
Follow him to this ethereal place?
“Death Damnation…Ye sinners and fags…”
Souls into hell…For Satan to drag.”
Mercy or Hell? Pardon? The latter?
The words we say…What doth they matter?
Is he dead yet?
I really don’t know…