Thank you, Fred Phelps. Thank you for enraging us, empowering us and uniting us. Thank you for bringing together LGBT and civil-rights activists, veterans and pacifists, bikers and schoolteachers, Republicans and Democrats, atheists and believers.
Too bad Fred Phelps didn't understand that Sodom was condemned not for sodomy or homosexuality but for the sin of inhospitality and hostility to strangers. They had to answer too. Now it's Fred Phelps' turn.
From the start, Fred had near-zero support for his particular brand of homophobia. He hated "fags" and "fag-lovers" and Kansans hated Fred. No one asks why we hated Fred. It's obvious. But I've always felt uneasy with the simplicity of our hatred.
While many people will be celebrating the death of Phelps, whose name is synonymous with irrational hate and vitriol, I think that today the world lost someone who did a whole lot more for the LGBT community that we realize or understand.
I grieve for Fred Phelps. The man spent a great portion of his time on earth using his gifts in such a hurtful, and ultimately silly way. But I won't picket his funeral. I won't dance on his grave. I will try not to emulate him in any way.