This Valentine’s Day, I developed something of a crush. It’s definitely unrequited as the object of my affection doesn’t even know I exist. He’s a bit older. To be honest, he’s a lot older. He was born in 1929, and I was born nearly half a century later. But age is just a number, right?
My crush has so many great qualities that I can’t help but overlook our age difference. First, he achieved the rank of Eagle Scout, and we all know what a great honor that is, particularly if you are a white, heterosexual male that has a penchant for wearing short-shorts and neckerchiefs. Second, he received an appointment to West Point Academy when he was only 16. He never actually attended the Academy, but being accepted is basically the same thing. He opted instead to attend Bob Jones University. It wasn’t an accredited school, but even in the early days, it was a bastion of Christian fundamentalism and conservative ideologies and that’s much better than being able to transfer credits. Lastly, and most importantly, since 1955, he’s been at the helm of the Westboro Baptist Church.
You’ve probably already guessed that my crush is non-other than Pastor Fred Phelps.
I’ve known who the Pastor is for some time; he and his flock of hate-filled picketers are quite the media darlings. But, I never took the time to visit the church’s website (godhatesfags.com for those interested) or to learn anything about its leader. That is, until Valentine’s Day when I came across a CrowdRise fundraiser setup by Josh De Leeuw to raise $100 for every minute Westboro Baptist Church planned to picket Vassar College. Apparently, the genius that is Fred Phelps decided he must rally his troops for a 45 minute protest because “God Hates Vassar College for following the satanic Zeitgeist by professing the soul-damning lie that it is ’OK to be gay.’”
Setup to be a Vassar community counter-protest, De Leeuw hoped to raise $4,500 for the Trevor Project, the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth. However, response from the Vassar community and beyond has far exceeded De Leeuw’s initial goal. At last check, more than $100,000 has been raised. That’ll pay for a ton of services for LGBTQ youth in need.
None of this would have been possible if it weren’t for Pastor Phelps and his hate mongering. So, thanks, Freddy, keep doing what you do so we can keep raising money for organizations like the Trevor Project and hopefully save a few precious lives too. Sorry, I didn’t send you a card or chocolates, but I did give a little something to the counter-protest in your honor. I’ll keep you on my list for next year.