I am not Mexican. I can only imagine how Mexicans felt when Donald Trump called them “killers and rapists.”
I am not Muslim. So I can only imagine how members of that religion felt when Trump said “they’re not coming to this country if I’m president.”
I am not disabled. I can only imagine, then, how anyone with a disability felt when the Republican front-runner mocked a journalist born with deformed hands.
But I am gay. So I do not have to imagine what it is like for someone to call me a “fag,” spit in my face, and say that God sent 9/11, Hurricane Katrina and many other disasters to America because of me.
Even though “Reverend” Phelps was batshit crazy — and is probably right now burning in the same hell he roared I’m headed for — it’s pretty scary to know that someone, somewhere, despised a group of people so much he spent his life spewing vile garbage about them.
He was not alone. He had an entire “church” — well, mostly relatives he’d brainwashed — behind him.
But some of those church members began to think for themselves.
“Rev.” Fred Phelps’ granddaughters Megan and Grace Phelps-Roper questioned the Westboro Baptist “Church”‘s vitriolic protests against gays (and Jews, members of the military, and so many other groups). Eventually, they fled.
And on Monday, March 28 (7 p.m.) they’ll be at the Westport Country Playhouse, giving an inspiring talk about their journey from hatred to love.
The event is sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League. The moderator is ADL national director of civil rights Deborah Lauter.
She was a frequent target of Megan — and the rest of the “church” — on social media. The sisters will discuss what it was like to love their family, but be raised in such a hate-filled environment.
Yet it was social media — specifically, Megan’s engagement with an unlikely source on Twitter — that opened their eyes to broader perspectives. Today, they’re active allies in the war on hate.
“God Hates Fags” has special meaning for me.
Those signs should have special meaning for all of us. Singling one group out demeans everyone.
That’s why I am sure every seat will be filled on March 28, at the Westport Country Playhouse.
Our town — and our country — are better than the hateful rhetoric we hear too much these days.
We are one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
Under — or without — any god you like.