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A documentary on Fred "The Rotting Cryptkeeper" Phelps is under way

On the Blend we’ve been running a series of posts on Fred Phelps and his hate machine, and many of you out there, along with me, cannot fathom what makes this mad tick. In an article today on the Phelps clan’s upcoming event to pick a museum putting on The Laramie Project, there was information on a documentary being made about Phelps by Ben Williams, a Huntington College student from Columbus, Ohio. (Journal-Gazette):

What he has found so far, Williams said, is a complicated picture: Until he was disbarred for unprofessional conduct and harassing court officials, Phelps was a civil rights lawyer who won landmark cases and was honored by civil rights groups, including the NAACP. Now, his church is monitored by the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project as a hate group. The Intelligence Project says the church has about 50 members, almost exclusively relatives of Phelps.

Phelps said there is no disconnect between fighting for civil rights in racial issues and fighting against civil rights along lifestyle lines. “I’m an old-time Baptist preacher, and God Almighty never said it’s an abomination to be black. Just the opposite,” Phelps said. “But you can’t believe the Bible and follow the Bible if you support sodomy.”

Williams said what fascinates him about Phelps is also what frightens him most. “What is it in him that causes him to hate, and do we have that in us?” Williams asked. “There’s some need in him to hate something, and I’m not sure why.” Williams said he completely disagrees with Phelps, but he can’t paint him into a convenient box, either.

“I don’t see him as an evil person like a lot of people do,” Williams said.

Still, he added, the Phelps’ family is frightening. “I talked to his daughter, and it scared me a lot,” Williams said, because “she talked like a lot of my friends. She never even mentioned any hate toward homosexuals. … She could have been anyone my age.”

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