When I hear of the outrageously unchristian shenanigans of the cult-like circus which is the Westbro Baptist Church of Topeka Kansas I automatically think of a 70s smash hit song by country queen Loretta Lynn.
Like Loretta’s lonely lament in the early 70s, the mob from the WBC and its founder Fred Phelps Sn, since the mid-90s has been hard to avoid. The Coalminer’s daughter hit pay dirt with “One’s on the Way” and along the way helped make the capital of Kansas much better known than it was. The song, about a housewife dreaming amid the drudgery of her lot, of Jackie Kennedy’s new dance steps, Debbie Reynolds’ latest Vegas show and Bombshell Raquel Welch’s million dollar deal; was written by Jewish songwriter Shel Silverstein who also wrote the slightly more sophisticated Marianne Faithfull hit “Ballad Of Lucy Jordan”
Here in Topeka the flies are a buzzin’..
The dog is a barkin’ and the floor needs a scrubbin’
One needs a spankin’ and one needs a huggin’…..
Lord one’s on the way…….
The Lord would most certainly be aware of “one on the way” ….whether there was a special welcoming committee formed to receive Fred is another question ….drumroll. … the Reviled Reverend of the Revelation…..the Granddaddy of God Botherers…..Pastor Fred Waldron Phelps Sn..
Phelps founded the WBC (mostly family members) in Topeka Kansas and skilfully manipulated the media (including more recently social media) into spreading his warped take on “the word”, by picketing the funerals of fallen American soldiers who the WBC deemed to be evil since the US Military had permitted gays to its number. Scores of TV shows and documentary makers from around the globe converged on WBC. Famous British filmmaker Louis Theroux actually made several docos on the family, including one which featured members who’d been excommunicated or left the cult.
As for the possibility of a picket at Fred’s funeral….there won’t be one because there won’t be a funeral. That’s according to that other infamous mouthpiece of the WBC, Shirley Phelps-Roper, Fred’s daughter and to whom it is likely the Bile Bible-Bashing Baton will be passed. “None of your business” was the quote given to Steve Fry, a journalist with the Topeka Capital-Journal newspaper, when he made the “routine” call to verify the passing of Fred. Steve had covered the WBC as a part of his “rounds” for many years and had had to make the call many times in recent years due to a regular flow of anonymous tips to his newsroom that Fred had gone to God.
Fred’s fundamentalist freaks began their picketing party trick outside the newspaper one Sunday morning 20 years ago. Steve Fry recalls “the Rev. Fred Phelps led the way, holding a bull horn and cursing them to hell”.
Steve and I and countless others in the media have been thus cursed by various WBC members. I’ve had Shirley on my radio program a couple of times. And the new media man, non-family member Steve Drane, always had time to “talk to the folks down under” most of whom he contended were going to hell too.
With all the ungodly vile and vitriolic comments which have spewed out of the Phelps of Topeka Kansas thank God for the Muppets and their treatment of the song that first put Topeka on the map…..