Why Christians should forgive Fred Phelps

Forgiveness begins not with a dismissal of guilt, but with an acknowledgement of it

Fred Phelps
(Image credit: (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel))

Fred Phelps, the founder of the Westboro Baptist Church, reportedly passed away today. His death brings up conflicted memories — memories that, I imagine, would have been easier to brush away if I had not personally encountered the man and his congregation.

I met the Phelps family when the Westboro Baptist Church briefly picketed my undergraduate institution, Brandeis University. At the time I wrote for my school paper, and wanted to interview Shirley Phelps-Roper, the daughter of Fred Phelps, to find out why Brandeis had been chosen for a picket.

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