I'm speaking of Fred Phelps, of course, who passed away on Wednesday.
In my experience as an Avowed Lesbian on Internet involved in many debates and conversations about what does and doesn't constitute bigotry and what kinds of people do and do not constitute bigots, it became clear to me that many people in the US who oppose equality for LGBT people and same-sex couples, have a really difficult time thinking that the views they hold are bigoted or that, gasp, they themselves might be bigots because of their views.
In their view, Fred Phelps is pretty much the last person in the US who was bigoted against LGBT people and so, like, when he dies the queers should shut up already (much like how some white people think that as long as one isn't a member of the KKK, they're "all good" on race).
Like, I have seen even well-known public figures who have made, or still make, careers and large amounts of money in keeping the "gay marriage" debate alive express condemnation of Fred Phelps. Maggie Gallagher, for instance, has referred to the Westboro Baptist Church as a "fringe cult"that holds "revolting signs," in a piece suggesting that the Supreme Court ought to have limited Phelp's free speech rights.
It makes sense that anti-LGBT Christians would want to distance themselves from, and condemn, perhaps the most notorious symbol of anti-LGBT Christian hatred in the US.
Although, when pressed to distinguish their own religiously-based beliefs about the sinful nature of homosexuality from Phelps', the conversation, I have found, often comes to a screeching halt. Many anti-LGBT Christians like to wag their fingers at Phelps in the abstract, but when we start comparing and contrasting the theology on a more specific line-by-line level, things get a little too uncomfortable for them.
I really don't have much to say about Phelps' death. I'm not here to gloat.
The members of the Phelps family are, like most human beings, neither 100% evil nor 100% good, as their neighbors have reminded us. It seems a tragedy that he must have continued to stifle that spark of goodness that was probably somewhere in him and that he, to my knowledge, didn't publicly express a more compassionate understanding of other human beings before he died.