Jewish World Review March 25, 2014 / 23 Adar II, 5774
Fred Phelps: Satan's servant
By Cal Thomas
My parents taught me never to speak ill of the dead, but in the case of
The man, who will be referred to in this column without the modifier "reverend," because there was nothing reverent about him, defined the word "odious." He and some of his family members constituted the entire membership of the
The father of one dead service member went to court seeking to outlaw picketing outside churches where military funerals were held. He lost because the behavior, though deplorable, was regarded as an exercise in free speech protected by the First Amendment.
The media played a major role in promoting Phelps and his cult-like family. The outrageous, the bizarre, the twisted, especially if these things can be tied to religion, are favorite subjects of broadcast networks and newspapers. Too bad those practicing true religion do not get the kind of coverage Phelps did.
Some years ago I was the object of Phelps' wrath. I was the speaker at the Kansas Prayer Breakfast. It was the first time I had encountered Phelps and his bigotry. I mentioned my surprise at pickets outside a prayer breakfast to then-Governor
Phelps claimed to be serving G0D with his diatribes against people he claimed were G0D's enemies. But instead of directing hatred toward people, no less a figure than Jesus of Nazareth said, "love your enemies." Real Baptist preachers will tell you it is Satan who hates and G0D who loves. They will tell you that Satan is a masquerader, a fraud and a liar. Does that sound like Phelps?
Phelps' language is useful in one sense. He should cause everyone to examine their own words and behavior toward people whose beliefs, lifestyle choices and faith might differ from theirs. Hate never converted anyone to another way of thinking, believing or acting. Hate does, however, give permission to some to behave in evil ways. If even one person is beaten, killed, or otherwise harmed because Phelps' family has encouraged them along such lines, even Baptists would say it is an affront to the real G0D that Phelps did not represent.
Acts 13:10 contains a verse that is applicable in Phelps' case. Paul, the Apostle, is speaking about a man named Elymas, who he judges to be a fraud: "You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord?"
Substitute the name
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
© 2014 Tribune Content Agency