Fred Phelps, the preacher and activist known for his anti-gay sentiments and the campaign “God Hates Fags,” has inspired a song on openly gay singer/ songwriter Melissa Etheridge’s new album, The Awakening.
The song Kingdom of Heaven is a response to the hatred expressed “in the name of God” by Phelps and other religious fundamentalists.
She sings: “A suffering soul on the way to the kingdom of heaven, held up a sign saying ‘God Hates America.’
“There is a love, that is so hideous and destructive. We must drive it from Earth, to save all of our children. He must know it well, in the night it is the hell that he speaks of. It keeps him awake.”
It is an obvious reference to Phelps who preaches an anti-gay message with his church members holding up placards with messages of hate, as well as declaring that homosexuality and its acceptance has doomed the world to eternal damnation.
Fred Phelps is the pastor of the Westboro Baptist Church and is infamous for his parading around with slogans such as “Thank God for 9/11,” “AIDS cures fags” and “God hates the Irish.”
He first came to prominence when he picketed the funeral of Matthew Shepard, a gay teenager murdered in a hate crime.
Phelps has courted more publicity in recent years by picketing military funerals, arguing that it was his duty to warn people of God’s anger.
It resulted in President Bush passing a bill which hindered the church from protesting at these services.
They still continue to picket funerals as well as gay Pride events.
They also are present at concerts with artists such as Etheridge performing, and when criticised usually cite the first amendment to the US Constitution, which provides freedom of speech in America.