(Originally posted by Thomas Witt to Metro Kansas City Chapter)
Greetings all –
Fred Phelps is dead.
Our position on whether or not to publicly protest, demonstrate, or celebrate his passing remains the same: Please don`t.
Ultimately, the antics of Fred Phelps and his followers will be nothing more than an obscene footnote in the history of equal rights.
In the end, Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church protests will not have had any impact on LGBT equality. Our movement was making substantial progress before he began his protests in 1991, has continued to make progress over the past 23 years, and after his death we will continue to move forward.
The best vengeance is knowing that we will prevail, his views will fail, and his life will be rendered meaningless.
If you want to help support the continuing fight for equality, please make a contribution: http://kansasequalitycoalition.org/donate/
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – MARCH 16, 2014
Sandra Meade, State Chair
Thomas Witt, Executive Director
EQUALITY KANSAS URGES LGBT COMMUNITY TO RESPECT PRIVACY OF PHELPS FAMILY
Group responds to rumors of impending death of notoriously anti-LGBT pastor
Topeka, Kans – Equality Kansas (formerly the Kansas Equality Coalition) today urged members of the Kansas, United States, and worldwide LGBT communities to respect the privacy of the family of Fred W. Phelps, notorious pastor of the Westboro Baptist Church.
“If the reports of Fred Phelps` declining health are accurate, then his family and friends are certainly saying their good-byes and preparing to mourn his loss,“ said Sandra Meade, chairwoman of Equality Kansas. “We ask that everyone understand the solemnity of the occasion, and honor the right of his family and friends to remember and mourn his loss in private without interruption or unseemly celebration,“ Meade said.
Social media discussions of the swiftly declining health of the 84-year old pastor were widespread on Sunday, March 16, after a Facebook post by Nathan Phelps, the estranged son of Fred Phelps.
“For over 20 years, Phelps and the members of his Topeka-based church have harassed the grieving families of LGBT Kansans and others,“ said Thomas Witt, executive director of Equality Kansas. “He and his followers showed utter disregard for the privacy and grief of others for many years. This is our moment as a community to rise above the sorrow, anger, and strife he sowed, and to show the world we are caring and compassionate people who respect the privacy and dignity of all,“ Witt said.
Equality Kansas asks that its members, supporters and allies refrain from protests or demonstrations should reports of Phelps` imminent passing prove true.
“Our focus must remain on our mission: ending discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity,“ Meade said.