09 February 2006

As military families and those seeking to curry their favor gear up to fight the attention-starved activists from the “God Hates Fags” Westboro Baptist Church, with bills pending in 14 states that would outlaw the sort of funeral protests Westboro is fond of holding — back in the day, for AIDS victims and churches inadequately opposed to homosexuality; these days, for the Iraqi War dead, who Westboro claims were killed by an angry, sodomy-obsessed God — the ultra-conservative FrontPage magazine joins the bandwagon with a profile of Westboro patriarch, Fred Phelps, “the Leftist.” It’s not news that the vast majority of Christians shuns Phelps like the plague and finds his message of clear-cut hate to be a deep embarrassment and offense to their religion. And it’s not even new that conservatives, embarrassed by the association of Phelps’ single-minded mission with more mainstream anti-gay activism, have pointed to Phelps’ 90s-era support for the Democratic party (which quickly changed when Phelps decided they were sodomists) and his (rejected) attempt to contact Fidel Castro as evidence that “he’s not one of ours.” But despite its grasping headline, and desperation to disown Phelps, FrontPage actually provides a serviceable profile of Phelps, the public figure, as someone who “is probably more appropriately described in psychiatric than political terms…”