Conversations with Karma - Fred Phelps, Part II

Tuesday, August 5, 2008
*Ring, Ring*

Unidentified Male: Hello?

Karma: Fred Phelps, please.

UM: Cousin Fred! Telephone!

Fred Phelps: Is it the insurance company?

UM: Is this the insurance company? Are you calling about the arson?

K: It's Karma. I'm not the insurance company, but I am calling about the arson.

UF: Uncle Fred! It's Karma!

FP: Not that blasphemer again! Give me that phone! I thought I told you never to call here again! You are not the chosen!

K: Seriously, Fred. I thought we went over this the last time we talked.

FP: You think you're funny, but you're not. God hates you.

K: I'm pretty sure we covered that, too. Remember, we're all instruments of the universe, Uncle Fred. And besides, you should be flattered. You've gained my personal attention twice in one year. I usually reserve that kind of attention for politicians.

FP: I don't want your attention. I have God's attention, and that's all I need.

K: Uh-huh. I'd say when it comes to seeking attention, you're about as picky as an eight dollar whore. That's not really the point, though. I'm here about the fire.

FP: Did you set that fire? God will get you for that! You're interfering with his work!

K: His work is mocking the innocent, berating the grieved, and frothing at the mouth? Really? As a fellow instrument of the universe, I have to say that seems like a stretch.

FP: Only because you're a dirty, dirty heathen, and I'll bet you're a fag, too!

K: I'll grant you the heathen part, but Karma is really kind of asexual, actually.

FP: Did you set that fire?

K: No, I didn't, but I have to say, there were instruments of the universe lining up for that duty. They finally had to draw straws!

FP: I'm persecuted. That's what it is.

K: Not really - you're just a dick. Listen, the reason I was calling was to find out if you understood the irony of the Karmic justice on this one. Really, it's some of my best work, and I've been doing this gig for a while.

FP: I understand those Godless blasphemers did $10,000.00 worth of damage to my property!

K: But they did it with fire. As in fire and brimstone. As in burning. You see the connection, there?

FP: God hates you, and he hates the person who set this fire.

K: But that's not the point, Fred. This fire is a cosmic warning, giving you an opportunity to change your heart and your mind.

FP: Why would I want that? God loves me just the way I am. It's all these others who don't abide by His word that need to change. Because they're not like me.

K: You're kind of a one-trick pony, aren't you? I'm a patient instrument of the universe, but you're starting to piss even me off. What's the point in meting out all this cosmic justice if the recipient doesn't learn the lesson?

FP: I don't know what you're talking about. I'm hanging up now - I'm expecting a call from my insurance agent.

K: I need a vacation.

7 comments:

Eric said...

It wouldn't be a shocker if Phelps set the fire himself. He probably didn't; I'm just saying the man is a devious little prick and a little bit of instant martyrdom is right up his alley.

Which is why whoever did set the fire, if it really does prove to be arson, wasn't exactly helping. All they did was fuel--pun not intended, but you can have it if you want it--Phelps' whole sick shtick. "This just proves what I've said for years," Phelps will say. "That the fags and atheists are evil, vicious, low creatures who will do anything to obstruct the word of Christ, even set fire to a church. But they shall not win, oh no, we will triumph in the face of this adversity brought on by the godless."

And the problem is there are a lot of people for whom an act against a church has a particular resonance--they may not agree with Phelps or his manner or his message, but they take the idea of a church as being a house of God very literally. I know Christian liberals, people who loathe Phelps and would have no problem with a gay or lesbian pastor presiding in their churches, who react to hearing about a B&E or theft or arson at a church the same way they'd react to stumbling over a corpse on a trail during a hiking trip.

Now imagine the reactions of equally religious but less enlightened folks, people who maybe aren't outright homophobes or are undecided or who don't realize how uptight they actually are on the issue. And then imagine the reactions of people who think the way Phelps does.

I'd love to be gleeful, but whoever did this just made life a little bit harder. And that's aside the fact they took the low road and retaliated to a hateful little bastard by committing a dangerous felony that could have gotten someone killed. (Even if you don't care about the congregation members, how about the firefighters who responded to the scene? Or what if the fire had spread?)

Janiece Murphy said...

Eric, you make some really good points.

My satire was not intended to approve the actions of the arson, but to point out the irony.

On a personal basis, I would never endanger someone to make a point, nor do I approve of other people doing so.

But there's still a part of me that wants to say, "What did you expect?"

Eric said...

I know you weren't endorsing, and if I left that impression I apologize for sloppy writing.

The situation is just a little frustrating to me, because the answer to your last question is that this is what Phelps and his kindred expect. There's a kind of masochism to his mindset: if he actually won, he wouldn't know what to do with it, but as long as he's persecuted he's doing the work of the Christian martyrs. He expects this kind of thing, he bathes in it, and the worst possible thing anyone could ever do to him would be to ignore him; because he thrives on the attention, because inattention would be a sign that his work for the Lord is failing.

Do you know, on a vaguely-related note, it reminds me of my reaction to that news item a week or so ago about the guy who went into a church during services and started shooting the place up? And my reaction, it's sort of sad to admit it, wasn't one of concern for the victims so much as it was "Don't let be an atheist and a conservative church, don't let it be an atheist and a conservative church...." And I was relieved, actually relieved when it turned out it was a True Believer and a liberal church, because I knew what the story was going to be if it was some kind of self-proclaimed atheist/agnostic.

The best irony in the world, actually, would be if it turned out Phelps' church was burned down by a disgruntled extemist who was angry that Phelps doesn't go far enough. Now that would be something. That might actually cause Phelps' jaw to drop long enough for an overdue silence to come out of it.

Steve Buchheit said...

Most people don't believe in Karma until it slaps them upside the head.

This is related to my law that everybody believes in the Free Hand of the Market until it comes around to bitch-slap them.

Janiece Murphy said...

Eric, I didn't take your comments personally, and I think everyone hopes that people with whom they self-identify (atheist liberals, in your case) don't act like fools in public.

Because right or wrong, when people give their groups "a bad name," it rubs off on the rest of the group.

Steve, I love that. "Bitch Slapped by Adam Smith's Invisible Hand." Hehe.

Jeri said...

Wow, Eric - just... wow. It's all in the perspective. It's hard to imagine someone so extreme that they would consider Phelps doesn't go far enough - but I bet he/she is out there.

Scary indeed.

Janiece, I like your personification of Karma. She'd be really fun to have a cup of coffee with on a rainy morning, playing hooky from work.

Janiece Murphy said...

Jeri, I'd like to think Karma would be my friend, rather than the alternative.

But that may just be gross arrogance on my part...