22 March 2014

A death to celebrate

So.  Fred Phelps has died.  Ever since it was announced a few days ago that his end was near, most atheist bloggers have been falling all over themselves to declare that, abhorrent as he was, it would of course be wrong to "sink to his level" by "celebrating the death" of a "tragically misguided old man" who led a "wasted life".

Oh, come on.  Phelps was not "misguided", he was evil.  He did not waste his life, he spent it doing exactly what he wanted to do.  Don't tell me he was brainwashed by a Christian upbringing.  Millions of people grow up with that, and do not end up behaving like Phelps did -- his own son Nathan managed to become a good and humane person.  Like all humans, Fred Phelps had free will and was fully responsible for his actions.

Phelps and his church specialized in picketing the funerals of dead homosexuals and soldiers, taunting and tormenting those who were already in grief over the loss of someone they cared about.  He did everything in his power to maximize the suffering of people who had done nothing to deserve it.  He richly earned the hatred and contempt of all decent people.

The capacity for hatred and anger is born in us for a reason.  There are people toward whom those emotions are appropriate, even necessary.  Fred Phelps was such a person.  I'm reminded of the death of bin Laden three years ago, when normal people celebrated and hand-wringers whined about it.  This is what happens when people become so hypnotized by abstractions and clichés that they lose touch with honest human feelings.  Here's one atheist who gets it.

Did Phelps do any good at all?  Some say he actually helped the cause of gay equality by giving the opposition a face so ugly that no one wanted to be associated with it.  That's almost right.  In an age of euphemism and mealy-mouthed language, his brutally straightforward evil showed what was behind the more mainstream enemy's façade of civility.

A few have said that Phelps is now in Hell.  This is nonsense.  Hell is nothing but a product of the same twisted imagination that produced the God he claimed to speak for.  Phelps tried to make other people's lives into Hell.  He is now nonexistent, and that is all.  His death does not diminish me, or you.


Blogger Alessandro Machi said...

Just as nobody can say for sure there is a heaven or a hell, saying for sure there is not a heaven or hell is somewhat misguided as well.

22 March, 2014 02:07  
Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

Yeah ... I heard sometin about ole "$5 Freedie" being dead ... what a loss, they just dont make em like that ole boy much anymore. Would be a good idea to protest at his funeral I reckon ... hold them signs like "Fags Hate $5 Dollar Freddie" I reckon ... seemed like that ole SOB woud never die I reckon (like ole slick Dick Cheney ... another MF that's alwayz sayin he's dyin {: ). Well now, ole Fredie can be with his homeboyz in Fag Free Heaven I reckon. Wonder if they'll bury him in one of his classic $5 Salvation Army double knit suits? There is an old song you could have posted ... called "Freddie's Dead" by Curtis Mayfield ....

22 March, 2014 06:03  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Alessandro: Nonsense. No more "misguided" than saying there is no Santa Claus or no unicorns.

22 March, 2014 06:34  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Ranch: Well now, ole Fredie can be with his homeboyz in Fag Free Heaven I reckon.

Maybe, maybe not.

22 March, 2014 06:36  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

PS: He got kicked out of his own church just before the end, so maybe they'll picket the funeral themselves -- "God hates Fred" or some such.

22 March, 2014 06:41  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ass whuppings would've stopped them a long time ago. I remember Hell's Angels sent the message that Westoro Baptist was welcome to picket Alabama soldiers' funerals. Unfortunately, Westboro was smart enough to not show up. I would've gladly assisted Hell's Angels that day.

I've lost patience with those that want to hold everyone's hand. They're part of the reason we haven't smashed the right wing.
Here you go, Ranch: http://youtu.be/0B6TKClPFQA


22 March, 2014 08:28  
Blogger Shaw Kenawe said...

I've always been puzzled by the attention he and his people got. Yes, what they did was reprehensible and appallingly stupid, but they were hardly a large organization with a huge following.

The media attention gave them much more power in our minds than they deserved. What they actually are is a rag-tag group of misfits and assholes.

Good riddance to Fred.

22 March, 2014 15:07  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Vic78: I was long surprised that they didn't provoke violent responses. If they'd shown up at a funeral I was attending, I don't think I'd have such self-control.

Shaw: Shocking behavior always attracts media attention, and the media seem hooked on certain things of no objective importance (look at the attention Justin Bieber and the Kardashians get). Unfortunately the media attention then encourages the behavior.

22 March, 2014 17:07  
Blogger Norbrook said...

I often roll my eyes when people wring their hands about the "hateful language" used when when hateful people die. In abstract, I agree with the idea that we "should be better than that," but in reality? Nope. I'm glad Phelps is dead, and I hope his last days were painful.

23 March, 2014 07:18  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Yes, it's important to not hold ourselves to absurd standards. And when hate is deserved, I see nothing wrong with "hateful" language.

23 March, 2014 17:12  

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