Fred Phelps was a cruel man who believed in an evil hateful god. He would protest the funerals of veterans and try to disrupt them with his “God Hates Fags” signs. He probably did more to help the gay rights movement than anyone else.
He was, however, not a criminal, and he helped bring about some important cases about Freedom of Speech. It is terribly important to protect speech we hate. After all, we don’t need to protect speech we all agree with. It’s the controversial, angry and disruptive speech that needs protecting.
Some people have wished to protest his funeral as well. I hope they do not. Phelps had the right to his opinion no matter how vile. You fight back without stooping to his level.
His son Timothy Phelps apparently responded to one of my blog posts a while ago. You can go here and read the comments and decide for yourself whether it really was him or just some troll. Usually trolls give themselves away by being too over the top, so I wonder…
Anyway, while I certainly do not celebrate his death, I don’t mourn him, either.