Fred Phelps, Sr. might have been one of the most vile Americans (or indeed humans) in the last few decades, and he deserves no respect. But we need to remember that at one point in his life he harbored none of the hatred that came to define him in later years. At one point there was a toddler Freddy who knew nothing of the bible, of hatred, of bigotry, of god. This little boy was instructed with the horrors many of us came to know through our Sunday School classes. For whatever reason, these biblical teachings stayed with Freddy and consumed him. A little boy was lost, forever tainted by Yahweh’s hatred of the nature he instilled in his humans.
The elder Fred Phelps should be remembered for his terrible deeds. He deserves not the respect to erase history. But we should mourn the person he could have been if not for the Good Book. Unfortunately, even in the fledgling years of the third millennium, there are too-numerous-to-count people being indoctrinated into the same level of hatred. And this indoctrination always begins in childhood.
So we should mourn for the minds of young Freddy and all children lost to the evangelical hate grinder.