So. Fred Phelps is dead. Hopefully, he's currently understanding, in detail, what was wrong with the things he said.
As a society we owe this man something. He tested the strength of our belief in free speech and freedom of religion, and for the most part, I think we passed (which seems more and more rare lately). He brought together diverse groups of people that had little in common. Granted, they came together sharing a loathing of this man and his principles, but any common ground is a start. Right?
I'm torn on what I'd like to see happen. The rational, religious, and thinking part of me wants people to show that they are better than the nonsense and bile that he preached and show that no matter how much you disagree with someone's life and the choices they make, a funeral is not a place to protest; that a family should be allowed to mourn in peace and take comfort in a time of pain. We should simply do what we should have done from the beginning and ignore the man and what he stood for; refuse to feed the attention machine - refuse to even acknowledge their voice in this world - silence them by being deaf to them.
The other part of me says that this family that chose to spread their word in ways that civil people find utterly reprehensible, and finance their hate by provoking people, deserves to be on the receiving end of the tactics they used. Part of me feels that they deserve to have not a single moment of peace or time to reflect or comfort in their pain.
In the end, I feel like what would be most poetic would be for people from all over to don the colors of the rainbow, or the military, and to simply arrive and stand in silence with signs that simply say "God Doesn't Hate". No sound, no confrontation, just a demonstration that they are wrong, they are shameful, and they are vastly outnumbered. (Of course, if in the midst of the silence, someone with a loudspeaker were to read the names of everyone they've protested, that might be okay too.