We all agreed long ago that Fred Phelps and the members of his Westboro Baptist Church are sad, terrible people, destined to be greeted at the gates of wherever they end up by an angry mob of shirtless, dildo-waving queens.
At this point, church members aren't even protesting gays as much as they are anyone who has ever relied on the Earth's atmosphere to survive because, you know, .000000001 percent of the carbon dioxide used in photosynthesis may have been exhaled by a homosexual. Even if we could somehow send all the Phelpses into low orbit, it wouldn't be long before they started protesting faggy quasars. God hates that your high output of electromagnetic energy allows you to be the most luminous body in the universe! Queer!
In recent years, the shear breadth of their insanity and lust for attention has actually allowed them to hit upon some truths, if only by accident. And as long as we're stuck with the Phelpses in our backyard, we might as well have some fun with their ubiquitous hatred, right?
(If you answered, "wrong," please forgive us and see your way to the nearest exit. We hear that the music section is nice this time of year.)
With Lady Gaga, Westboro's latest target of hate, headed to Kansas City next week, we present our list of people whom Fred Phelps might actually — however accidentally — be right about. Some of them have died, some are still with us, but all of them have been called out by the Phelps family.
And you know you've fucked up when the members of Westboro Baptist have a point.
11. George Rekers, anti-gay activist
Usually, Westboro Baptist is just being a dick when criticizing someone for homosexual behavior. But George Rekers is the rare entity who compels you to nod in agreement when the Phelps clan calls him a lying, pretend Christian.
Until recently, Rekers and the Phelpses weren't that different. Rekers made a name for himself as a Baptist preacher and one of the country's most prominent anti-gay activists. He helped start the Family Research Council, a Washington, D.C.-based Christian lobbying group that supports criminalizing homosexual behavior. He also has acted as an adviser to national politicians and testified as a state witness in support of banning gay adoption in Florida.
Then The Pitch's sister paper the Miami New Times caught him with a gay escort, from rentboy.com, who was moving his luggage. "I had surgery," Rekers said when confronted, "and I can't lift luggage. That's why I hired him." In the photo that busted him, Rekers is actually moving luggage. (And, no, that's not a sex euphemism — at least not yet.)
Rekers made a living by degrading and terrorizing people who had the guts to live openly the way they wanted to (the way, apparently, he secretly wished he could). Fred says God hates a coward — in this case, we're inclined to believe him.
10. Ann Coulter
Here's Westboro Baptist on the woman they refer to as a "wild-eyed sorceress":
"These blowhards would behead anyone who says words they don't like, while demanding the right to scream meaningless nothings till our ears bleed."
For complete gibberish, that line makes insanely good sense.
Of all the people on this list, Coulter might be the closet to the Phelpses, with her penchant for saying the most inflammatory things possible in her naked quest for more airtime. But while Westboro seems to be genuinely crazy — one could argue that Fred Phelps' indoctrination of his children qualifies as child abuse — Coulter is a well-educated woman who knows exactly what she sounds like and calculates her next line for maximum vileness. She's a smirking instigator who is actively striving to lower public discourse. Only in a media landscape this dumb could anyone take her seriously enough to buy her next book. Coulter is just disingenuous enough. When she throws around the word "faggot" or talks about killing Muslims (if they don't convert to Christianity), she's somehow slimier than the Phelps family when they say the same thing.