Fred Teutenberg, Fred Phelps: A Tragic Death, A Tragic Life

Fred Phelps and fam have stuck their attention-hungry grills back into the national spotlight. There used to be a consistent, albeit disgusting, message in the fam’s maniacal rantings and staged pickets. They first hated gays, then the military, then Billy Graham, then Barack Obama.

As time goes on, the incoherence of the Family’s rantings has probably risen with the senile Alzheimer-ridden state of Fred Phelps psyche.

Now the target of the Family Phelps’ venom is a dead…….family. Fred Teutenberg, 42, was reportedly trying to land the small Cessna C421 at the Demopolis Airport late Saturday night, with his wife Teresa and their 5 children onboard. The plane crashed in a heavily wooded area, killing all of them.

Five children. Tragically dead.

Daughter Emma, 2; son Peyton, 4; daughter Ellie, 6; son Brendon, 9; and son Will, 10.

They were from Niceville, Florida; which as far as Northwest Florida goes, is in my neck of the woods.

Niceville United Methodist Church, where Fred Teutenberg played in the worship band, is holding a memorial for the family tomorrow. By all accounts, they seemed to be a delightful family.

Now, even the shocking deaths of delightful young families receive the vitriolic ire of Phelps and clan. Religious depravity knows no bounds.

According to Westboro Baptist Church’s press release, Fred Phelps and fam have announced they will picket the funeral of those “killed in a plane crash by an angry God for the sins of a wicked nation.”

The press release also addresses the “fag-loving” residents of Florida who, according to Phelps, have done “rebellious deeds (institutionalizing sin with fag marriage, abortion, divorce, remarriage, etc.)”. Other than being hateful, ignorant and downright nauseating with their ungodly tactics, I guess one could add “lazy” to the indictments against the fam. If they had cared to research it for two seconds they would have seen Florida has never institutionalized gay marriage. Under current Florida law, same-sex marriages, civil unions, and domestic partnerships are not recognized. Same-sex marriage and civil unions were constitutionally banned in Florida in November of 2008.

This betrays WBC’s true motives. Phelps and the fam doesn’t really care about picketing against gay marriage, the military, or young families. They don’t care about sin or sharing the gospel at all. They care about maximizing their platform for their own selfish, Pharisaic, anti-biblical purposes.

I hope some humble, firm, and righteous opposition rise up in Niceville’s church and military community that puts to shame the Phelps clan. I hope the endearing gospel light is shed brightly in the midst of their legalistic darkness. I hope God is glorified and the love of Christ is shared and known to all with an ear to hear it, even those misguided souls in the Phelps camp.

A grieving community needs balm for their wounds not salt.

Scripture says “Be angry and do not sin.” So I better stop here and defer to the post I wrote a few months ago: God Loves Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church.

Continue to pray for the extended Teutenberg family, Niceville community and Westboro Baptist Church.

UPDATE: Panama City’s Rock Station 97x stepped up and issued an invitation for a WBC representative to be a guest of the highly successful afternoon programming entitled “Afternoon Riot with Dr. Stroke and ShortBus” during the 5PM hour. The airtime was given to the group under the condition that they would not picket at the funeral of the Teutenberg family. They didn’t. This only confirms my suspicions that the WBC is only an attention hungry group of religious trolls. Phelps’s son led the fruitless hour of insults and shout matches.

Bryan Daniels

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Author: Bryan Daniels

I am a follower of Jesus, a husband to Jessica, and a father of three boys: Josiah, Gideon and Judah. I teach high school math as a job, read reformed theology as a hobby, and write this blog just for kicks. With the rest of my time I coach football and track.

2 thoughts on “Fred Teutenberg, Fred Phelps: A Tragic Death, A Tragic Life”

  1. If the ability to pray fervently for our enemies is a sign of Christ-likeness, I have a long way to go Chief of the Least. Sadly, the Westboro folks (I can’t bring myself to call them a church), are a pretty good glimpse of what unbridled anger can do to the soul. I hope that God in his wisdom, will transform them like he transformed Paul. That they will have their Damascus Road and their Ananias. I wonder how many members of the early church were praying for Paul as he terrorized believers and disgraced the ways of God? Some day we will know.

    May Jesus be glorified by the conversion of the Phelps family in the same way he was glorified by the conversion of Saul of Tarsus.

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