Fred Phelps, the founder the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan. who was known for his fire-and-brimstone anti-gay public protests — as many as 53,000 of them since 1991, according to church officials — died March 19 at the age of 84.
Q: What do you think will be his legacy, or impact on religion in 21st century America?
Fred Phelps was a man who had zero positive impact to the history of Christendom.
His unpalatable brand of Christianity was valid fodder for critics of any organized religion. His cultural presence eclipsed the size of his following. Because of his skill in media manipulation, he took a wild fringe group and placed them center stage as the counterpoint to the gay civil rights movement. He will reside in the conscious of our nation for decades to come as the definition of what it means to be both loveless and self-righteous.