In Fred Phelps' case that restraint is a difficult proposition. Fred Phelps who died at 84 was the founder of the Westboro Baptist Church in 1995 and gained "notoriety" for picketing funerals of gay and lesbians complete with placards condemning their lifestyle and intoning that their death was proper punishment from God. I can only imagine the pain and anger of family, partners, or friends to have him or one of his parishioners show up to disrupt a funeral and I commend those suffering from his antics for their own restraint.
The image of Christ speaking to those about to stone a prostitute to death immediately came to me which prompted this poem. Maybe in death Fred Phelps can become the poster child for how civilized people do not behave. Far be from me to judge this man or his beliefs only wish his soul finds relief from the pain that he must has felt to without quarter and without decency wage a one church jihad on lesbian, gay, bi, and transgender community. The comments I have seen on his death are pretty brutal. He is facing the only Judge worth going before as I type. He does not my opinion of what Phelps' fate should be. Way above my pay grade.
Fred Phelps Dies; Westboro Baptist Too?
All of us are taking space on this planet with but a short term lease
Terms known only to the thief of the night who says it now will cease
Those of us who believe in a God know he listens to all who to Him will seek
The rich, the poor, regardless of race or creed, the strong and the weak
No matter how devout a man can proclaim
Who among us has a right to judge in His name?
Who among us has a monopoly on His words to us repeat?
To judge who among us should be tossed, the rest kept as wheat?
Fred Phelps has received his eviction notice and has died
Not a time for his death to applaud though his preachings of hate to deride
Only one Judge now awaits for the fate of his soul to decide
In judgment whether more worthy to unite or seek to expel and divide
As memories of hate and bias will in short order among us subside
Those of us still here should not cheer his death; such acts His teachings belied
Better to follow His teachings of dropping to the grounds any stones
For all of us are not perfect, we have some failings we need to atone.
© March 20, 2014 Michael P. Ridley aka the Alaskanpoet