Praying for Fred Phelps

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Praying for Fred Phelps

Postby Ben » Wed Mar 19, 2014 9:49 am

An interesting editorial from The Guardian.



Praying for former Westboro Baptist pastor Fred Phelps is no easy task


This is a man who not only preached hatred but spread it, more among his enemies than among those he thought his friends

Pastor Fred Phelps pictured in 1998. 'Phelps has damaged the credibility of any sort of God.' Photograph: Berman Nina/Sipa/Rex
Andrew Brown
Wednesday 19 March 2014 01.30 EST

327 comments
The hashtag GodhatesFredPhelps appeared on Twitter soon after one of his estranged children posted on Facebook the news that the founder of the Westboro Baptist Church was dying. Perhaps more surprising was the news that he had been excommunicated by the church he founded.

It has drawn exactly the sort of angry, hate-filled gloating you would expect. Many readers may share the sentiment, despite their instinct to draw back from condemning someone who is, after all, an elderly and very ill man. But news of the excommunication is worth marking; Phelps, I think, did more than Richard Dawkins to make atheism seem a moral and intellectual imperative.

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The pastor and his church were probably the most disproportionately famous and influential group of Christians since the rather different figure of Mother Teresa. She, of course, became an icon of charity: he became an embodiment of its opposite. It's a rather nice thing about the human race that whereas tens of thousands of people volunteered to help Mother Teresa, very few signed up to Phelps's church and still less travelled halfway across the world to work with him.

If there is a God, he clearly had a purpose for Fred Phelps, which was to show just how repulsive his ideas about man and God really are, and to warn us off them. But mostly, Phelps has damaged the credibility of any sort of God.

His fame also shows how uncomfortable we now are with the idea of a God who hates anything very much. The Bible shows no such squeamishness. God is forever smiting there: nor has this tendency much diminished in the past 2,000 years. The world around us shows unfathomable suffering. If there is any kind of agency responsible then it hates its victims. But where once this seemed to show that God was not someone to be messed with, most people now deduce that there is no agency responsible for the horror of the world. They believe perhaps in a benevolent God, and in some kind of supernatural agency that works for the good, but this of course is philosophically incoherent: at the very least an omnipotent God can't escape responsibility for evil.

But in this instance, theological incoherence is clearly better than the kind of demented and hideous consistency that seems to characterise the Westboro Baptist Church. In fact, the only consistency was emotional: it was driven by a lust for power and exclusion.

The expulsion of Fred Phelps himself from the church he founded shows the way that totalitarian systems will always consume their servants, as does the horribly unctuous tweet from the church a couple of days ago to which they gave the hashtag comfort: "All God's elect strive against pride & pray for - & ultimately receive - humble, broken hearts".

This is a man who not only preached hatred, but successfully spread it, more among his enemies than among those he thought his friends.

So I suppose the task for Christians, as they think of him dying an outcast, is to get down on their knees and pray for him. Pope Francis asked in his homily on Monday morning "Who am I to judge?". The case of Fred Phelps shows just what a counsel of perfection the pope's kind of Christianity really is. All of us find it easy enough not to judge the people just like us.

-- http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfre ... ?CMP=fb_gu


Perhaps an ideal object for one's metta.
What do you think?
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Heraclitus


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Re: Praying for Fred Phelps

Postby polarbuddha101 » Wed Mar 19, 2014 11:15 am

That is actually really sad, an old man dying with so much hate in his heart. I'm not sure you can send goodwill to the dead, but hearing news like that really reminds me how much I don't want to hate anybody or even any sentient creature. I honestly don't follow what's going on with far right wing/extremist churches here in America (or anywhere) but I know there's messed up stuff and hate everywhere. It's just sad and pointless and exhausting.

May you all be well

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Re: Praying for Fred Phelps

Postby Sam Vara » Wed Mar 19, 2014 12:28 pm

Yes, an eminently suitable subject for Metta. And the same applies for those who hate him for hating. And also all those who have been harmed by him.

Incidentally, Ben, do you post on CIF? Maybe we know one another from there!
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Re: Praying for Fred Phelps

Postby Cittasanto » Wed Mar 19, 2014 5:10 pm

All beings are owners of their Kamma....
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Praying for Fred Phelps

Postby waterchan » Wed Mar 19, 2014 5:44 pm

Ben wrote:Perhaps an ideal object for one's metta.
What do you think?


Probably not too difficult for most of us here, since homosexuals and soldiers were the prime targets of Fred Phelps and his family's vehement hate speech. I've seen YouTube videos of him and his family picketing at the funerals of soldiers. I truly sympathize with those people, but at least Fred Phelps and his ilk weren't violent. I don't hate him, but I won't miss him.
quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur
(Anything in Latin sounds profound.)
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Re: Praying for Fred Phelps

Postby Ben » Wed Mar 19, 2014 8:53 pm

Sam Vara wrote:Yes, an eminently suitable subject for Metta. And the same applies for those who hate him for hating. And also all those who have been harmed by him.

Incidentally, Ben, do you post on CIF? Maybe we know one another from there!


Hi Sam,
I'm not sure what CIF is, to be honest with you. I very occasionally post on The Guardian and Huff Post sites. Most of my posting activity is either here at DW or on Facebook, inc the Dhammawheel on Facebook page.
With metta,
Ben
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Heraclitus


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Re: Praying for Fred Phelps

Postby Sam Vara » Wed Mar 19, 2014 9:48 pm

Ben wrote:
Sam Vara wrote:Yes, an eminently suitable subject for Metta. And the same applies for those who hate him for hating. And also all those who have been harmed by him.

Incidentally, Ben, do you post on CIF? Maybe we know one another from there!


Hi Sam,
I'm not sure what CIF is, to be honest with you. I very occasionally post on The Guardian and Huff Post sites. Most of my posting activity is either here at DW or on Facebook, inc the Dhammawheel on Facebook page.
With metta,
Ben


Sorry, CIF = "Comment Is Free", the Guardian site for comments that you linked to.
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Re: Praying for Fred Phelps

Postby Dan74 » Wed Mar 19, 2014 10:27 pm

I found the Huffington Post letter quite moving. Hope some folks here can appreciate it though it is written from a Christian perspective.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/chris-boeskool/a-love-letter-to-fred-phelps_b_4993764.html
_/|\_
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Re: Praying for Fred Phelps

Postby Ben » Wed Mar 19, 2014 11:11 pm

Dan74 wrote:I found the Huffington Post letter quite moving. Hope some folks here can appreciate it though it is written from a Christian perspective.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/chris-boeskool/a-love-letter-to-fred-phelps_b_4993764.html


Thank you, Dan.
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Heraclitus


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Re: Praying for Fred Phelps

Postby Ben » Wed Mar 19, 2014 11:15 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Ben wrote:
Sam Vara wrote:Yes, an eminently suitable subject for Metta. And the same applies for those who hate him for hating. And also all those who have been harmed by him.

Incidentally, Ben, do you post on CIF? Maybe we know one another from there!


Hi Sam,
I'm not sure what CIF is, to be honest with you. I very occasionally post on The Guardian and Huff Post sites. Most of my posting activity is either here at DW or on Facebook, inc the Dhammawheel on Facebook page.
With metta,
Ben


Sorry, CIF = "Comment Is Free", the Guardian site for comments that you linked to.


Ok, now I get it. As I said earlier, I post occasionally there.
Kind regards,
Ben
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Heraclitus


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Re: Praying for Fred Phelps

Postby binocular » Thu Mar 20, 2014 2:29 pm

'Phelps has damaged the credibility of any sort of God.'

-- http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfre ... ?CMP=fb_gu

How exactly has Phelps "damaged the credibility of any sort of God"??
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Re: Praying for Fred Phelps

Postby Monkey Mind » Thu Mar 20, 2014 4:12 pm

I've been following this story in its different incarnations on the Internet, and I find it curious. The story was originated by an estranged, excommunicated son and there has been no other confirmation, official or otherwise. Like a missing airplane, there has been lots of speculation, but not much related to facts.
"As I am, so are others;
as others are, so am I."
Having thus identified self and others,
harm no one nor have them harmed.

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Re: Praying for Fred Phelps

Postby Ben » Thu Mar 20, 2014 8:30 pm

Reported on Huff Post, Phelps passed away at around midnight, Wednesday.

http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/5000577? ... mg00000063
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Heraclitus


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Re: Praying for Fred Phelps

Postby Monkey Mind » Thu Mar 20, 2014 11:16 pm

I agree with the expressed intention of the OP, I would never advocate harm.

But as a group advocating hatred, Mr. Phelps and his church were often targeted by the hacker group Anonymous, the biker group Patriot Guard. A group of satanists publicly desecrated his mother's grave. And a rainbow house right across the street from the church. I imagine that many people will find humor in disrupting his funeral, I hope all protesters remain safe during Mr. Phelps' funeral, and none is harmed.
"As I am, so are others;
as others are, so am I."
Having thus identified self and others,
harm no one nor have them harmed.

Sutta Nipāta 3.710
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Re: Praying for Fred Phelps

Postby Sovietnik » Fri Mar 21, 2014 12:43 pm

It is not sure whether his organization was actually a church or simply a tax evasion scheme - the entire Westbro Baptist Church has 100 members, all of whom are Fred Phelps' family members. Incidentally(?) Phelps was a lawyer and 11 of his 13 children have law degrees.
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Re: Praying for Fred Phelps

Postby pulga » Fri Mar 21, 2014 1:18 pm

People's personalities are complex: even Hitler loved dogs.
Last edited by pulga on Sat Mar 22, 2014 9:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Praying for Fred Phelps

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Mar 22, 2014 6:46 am

Image
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Praying for Fred Phelps

Postby Ben » Sat Mar 22, 2014 7:51 am

image.jpg
image.jpg (29.75 KiB) Viewed 208 times
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Heraclitus


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Re: Praying for Fred Phelps

Postby Monkey Mind » Sat Mar 22, 2014 9:21 am

A group of counter protesters held up a sign that read "sorry for your loss."


http://www.kshb.com/news/local-news/wes ... ps-passing
"As I am, so are others;
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Having thus identified self and others,
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