Fred Phelps preaching to the Westboro Baptist Church. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Mercy for Fred Phelps

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Fred Phelps preaching to the Westboro Baptist Church. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Fred Phelps preaching to the Westboro Baptist Church. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Fred Phelps, Westboro Baptist Church founder, died today.

Simply put, I hate what this monster stood for, but if there is mercy for him, there is most certainly mercy for all. And, in an odd way, I hope that God’s mercy on him brings him a chaotic peace—a mercy that reminds him of how cruel he was on earth, how undeserving he is, and a mourning for the man he was.

What are your thoughts? How should we react to his passing?

About Kyle Franklin

Kyle A. Franklin is a recent graduate of Gonzaga University, where he earned his Master's in Religious Studies. He completed his bachelor's degree in history and religion at Pacific Lutheran University in 2007 and has worked in both the ELCA Lutheran Church and the United Methodist Church.

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9 comments

  1. I just pray that he has found peace at last. As much pain and suffering he has brought to others, think how much pain he had in his own heart. It makes me sad to think of people who live their lives that way, and I pray that in death Mr Phelps has at last found rest in the arms of the God who loves him.

  2. Mercy for monsters after death, I wonder, do you beleive there is justice after death?

  3. Kyle A. Franklin

    Mercy for all is the ultimate justice. None of us have lived a perfect life and, simply put, none of us deserve mercy. To receive mercy, then (for the most innocent and the cruelest), has to be the perfect form of justice.

  4. Kyle, that isn’t an explanation of justice that I understand. It makes the words mercy and justice meaningless to me. How would justice work in a human context if that was the explanation of justice. How can we respond to any of the justice passages in the bible for the poor, the widow, the foreigner or orphan if that is the truth? Such an explanation makes judgment and justice irrelevant actions, principles or prohibitions. Personally, I do not want a world without justice, I want justice tempered with mercy. To divorce personal culpability in the name of imperfection, unleashes a world of lawlessness.

  5. I’ve only read the headlines as this public stream regarding Westboro’s actions has gone on, so I won’t try to pass any judgement, but in relation to biblical justice, I will comment.

    If Mr. Phelps was a believer, saved by grace then he is in heaven. How his actions are judged is up to Christ, but will be perfect. It will take into consideration every action, word and motive. If it was not from a good heart, he will be there smelling like smoke. His works here will be burned up and he will be in heaven only because the blood of Christ covered his sin, and he believed that by faith.

    Another possibility would be that regardless of his words, he may have fallen into the category of many other so-called religious from left and right, when the Lord Jesus Christ says to them, “Depart from Me you workers of iniquity, I never knew you!” May God help each one of us to examine where we are, hopefully in neither of these catagories, but with humility and faithfulness, serving Jesus with love, truth and grace to all we come in contact with.

  6. “Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.” -1 John 3:15

    I’m no mans final judge but I’ll go out on a limb and judge that behavior as hateful.

    There’s a differance between calling something sin and calling people inflammatory names, shaming people, disrespecting differances, adding public provocations to grieving people on and on.

    John specially lists the actions that reveal the presence of eternal life and it’s primarily love, the kind that covers sin vs casting stones.

  7. The one bright spot to Phelps’ recent activities was the affirmation by so many as to how few people believe as he did (where reporters and protestors typically unnumbered his sect). From an atheist perspective, Phelps will never know he was wrong, but fortunately people don’t have to pass through the Pearly Gates to appraise his legacy of sanctimonious hatred in this life. While the saying goes “it takes all kinds,” an argument can be made that one kind we could do comfortably without is the Phelps edition. My sympathies are for the bereaved families harranged at military funerals, and here I recommend the High Lama’s advice in “Lost Horizon”: Be Kind.

  8. Kyle A. Franklin

    A friend of mine threw me for a loop but stated it all perfectly when he said, “This is the fruition of the idea that God’s mercy is what is most offensive–not God’s wrath…” Essentially, the notion of the wrath of God is comprehendible–as humans, we feel anger and desire to see the fruition of wrath or revenge. The notion that God is merciful to all, though, is foreign because of the fact that humanity does not have the capability to show mercy to everyone.

    From my standpoint, the notion of mercy AS justice is Godly–much more than the idea that justice must outweigh mercy. And if there is no ONE who is worthy of mercy but still receives it, is it so hard to believe that ALL (none of whom are worthy of mercy) can receive it?

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