When I was broadcasting tournaments for The Golf Channel, we used to giggle at the prospect of Brian Gay, Dicky Pride, and Glen Day playing in the same group, thus giving us the Gay-Pride-Day threesome. Something tells me the gag would be lost on Fred Phelps.
He's the pastor of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas, and I use all of the aforementioned terms - he, pastor, and Westboro Baptist Church - loosely. That's the "church" which, under Phelps' direction, has understood the mission of Christ to mean picketing at the funerals of people like Matthew Shepard, the young man from Wyoming who was fatally beaten many years ago primarily because he was gay. Phelps and company used the funeral as an opportunity to inform grieving family members that Shepard was now in hell and that he had an eternity of suffering to look forward to. In fact, you can find a jaunty memorial to Shepard's entry into hell - complete with a running total of how many days he's been there and a sound file of someone pretending to be Shepard screaming in torment - on the church website, the address of which is www.godhatesfags.com.
(Editor's Note: "Fag" is a favorite term of Phelps and his churchfolk, who are quick to note that these reprobates are not living a lifestyle that honors God, as laid forth in Scripture. What's interesting to me is that both "Matthew" and a variation of "Shepard" are found in my Bible. "Fag" is not.)
At that website, you'll also discover that Billy Graham is a modern-day Judas; find out that God is America's terrorist now, using natural disasters and other means to punish the U.S. for its collective sin; and learn of opportunities where you can join the church in picketing at the funerals of fallen U.S. soldiers to inform those families that their loved ones have also begun a slow burn. Mainly, though, the site and apparently Phelps, himself, are dedicated to the notion that homosexuality is the one sin that really gets God's dander up.
Phelps doesn't care what you or anyone else thinks about him. His mission is to "preach the gospel" at whatever cost.
Let me say this to those readers who already had a bad taste in their mouths about religion: please don't lump us in with people such as Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church who twist Scripture into whatever they want it to be and then use it as a weapon. We're not all like them. Some of us are worse.