(RNS) Fred Phelps started (and continues) his signature campaign against homosexuality with the most old-fashioned of methods: picket signs. Graphic, offensive and visual picket signs about how God “hates fags” and America, but picket signs nonetheless.

Now, amid reports that the founder of Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan., is near death, the old-fashioned protestor is getting the instantaneous social media treatment:

1. The Facebook post that told us he was nearing death.

2. Westboro is calling reports about Phelps’ impending death “speculative.”

3. Earlier on in his life, Phelps took a different approach in his career, as noted by Huffington Post religion reporter Jaweed Kaleem.

4. On Monday, an earthquake shook L.A., connecting the dots for some tweeters, comedian Kyle Kinane noted.

5. There’s debate about how various groups should respond. Should people who are gay, for instance, picket his funeral?

6. Jeff Chu, a gay Christian who wrote a book about his experience, tweeted the following.

7. Jared Wilson, a pastor who blogs at The Gospel Coalition, tweeted the Bible verse about judgement: “Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.”

8. Artist Derek Webb, who is a Christian, tweeted about how people might respond to Phelps’ impending death.

9. And another post from Webb:

10. Expect some reflective blog posts to come soon, including this one from Jayson Bradley.


  1. Christianity is horrible and incoherent.

    Here’s a horrible tweet:
    “if God’s grace isn’t sufficient for the worst, there’s no hope for anyone.”

    What mind-numbing nonsense!
    So you expect your God to forgive even the worst – and the unrepentant?

    That is the same as expecting an unrepentant murderer to walk into a police station and be told, “Thanks for dropping by, here’s a cookie for your drive home”!

    And this is Christian morality.

    Look, if you believe in a Savior you MUST believe in a Hell. For why else would you need a Savior? Jesus was a fascist.

    Phelps was a similar fascist. He followed JESUS well!

    “Bring to me those enemies of mine who would not have me as their King, and EXECUTE THEM in front of me.” – JESUS (Luke 19:27)
    [from the parable of the 12 Minas, perhaps the most wicked thing ever written into a ‘holy book’ – apparently Hitler’s favorite parable, altar boy that he was]

    Religion validates the most wicked behavior, then forgives it.
    Immoral nonsense.

  2. It may be hard for us mortals to believe, but even the thief on the cross repented at the last minute and was saved. I still wonder where atheists and agnostics go upon death. Back to the Cosmos or reincarnation un til they get it right.

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