In a piece for The Daily Beast, columnist Matthew Paul Turner thinks the God of Westboro Baptist Church and its recently-deceased leader Fred Phelps is no different than the God of conservative evangelicals. His piece asks, "Are the tenets of their theologies really that different from what Phelps believed?"
Claiming that the "lines of fundamentalism are blurrier" than ever, Turner believes that unlike the boisterous charade of biblical twisting that Phelps peddled, most conservative evangelicals are hiding their fundamentalism like wolves in sheep's clothing. Turner said that Phelps was much easier to spot because of his constant gushing of "hate-filled religious jargon" as opposed to others, whose "fundamentalism masquerades under wide smiles, hipster garb, flowery poetic language, and synth-pop beats."
Turner calls Phelps a "jackass" but said that he did have one "redeeming quality" -- this:
[T]hat he was always upfront about his beliefs, intentionally wearing his fundamentalism proudly—like a badge of honor—and without a filter.
Throughout the piece, Turner tries to equate the beliefs of the Phelps clan with the majority stance on Christianity, saying the core beliefs of hell and judgment are still there, but that other evangelicals are just "nicer about it."
Turner believes that even though Phelps is dead, the angry, fundamentalist God he worshipped is very much alive and active in Christians' political lives:
Most of today’s conservative evangelicals don’t seem all that angry; they don’t spend much time boasting about things like hell or promoting their assumptions about America’s coming doom or theologizing their cases against homosexuality, and they rarely carry their doctrines around on signs. But when push comes to shove or a vote comes to the ballot booth, is their God all that different from Fred’s God?