I forgive you, Fred Phelps
As the daughter of retired Air Force parents, and a woman in a committed lesbian relationship (that thoroughly enjoys secular music often picketed by the Westboro Baptist Church), this may not mean much, but I am sorry for your loss today.
You see, I believe that showing compassion does more to change minds than scare tactics and signs with terribly hateful words held up by children that don’t know any better. And regardless or his stance, you loss a father today. And for that, I am truly sorry. I’m sure that this time isn’t easy for you, and I hope that you’re able to find closure one day.
I truly hope that you’ll use this as a learning experience. The next few days, weeks, months, years will be hard for you. Some days might be better than others, but overall it won’t be easy. I hope that you’ll think about the pain you’ve caused others that were feeling the same things you are feeling now. They were carrying a heavy heart as you stood outside of their loved ones’ funeral to spew hate at them. You weren’t too concerned with how it made them feel then; will you be concerned with how it made them feel now?
I’m certain that there are people wanting to stand outside of Mr. Phelps’ funeral to retaliate for the pain he has caused, and the hate he has put out into the world. I get it. But I also know that won’t change anything. Let’s use this time to show Westboro Baptist and the Phelps Family the humanity that they have yet to show others. Let’s use this time to act like the humans they didn’t treat us as. Let’s use this time to change hearts.
Mr. Phelps, I can’t speak on the behalf of everyone, but I forgive you. Hopefully this will be the start of something more positive. We can get further together than apart.
*I also posted this here: http://www.buzzfeed.com/tiabryan/i-forgive-you-fred-phelps-n3uq