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Song Parodies -> "The Gay Mom of Fred Phelps The Senior"

Original Song Title:

"The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald"

Original Performer:

Gordon Lightfoot

Parody Song Title:

"The Gay Mom of Fred Phelps The Senior"

Parody Written by:


The Lyrics

On 14 July, a group calling itself the Satanic Temple of New York conducted what they call a 'pink mass' rite at the Mississippi gravesite of Catherine Idalette Johnston, the mother of Fred Phelps Sr, former presidential candidate and leader of notoriously outspoken fundamentalist/homophobic sect the Westboro Baptist Church, based in Topeka, Kansas.

The 'satanic cult' announced that gay members had reaffirmed their vows and reconsecrated the gravesite, thus rendering the deceased 'eternally gay' in her afterlife, in retaliation for the Church's anti-gay activism, particularly its demonstrations at the funerals of fallen soldiers and also celebrities. (Church representatives have threatened to appear at the funeral of recent drug-abuse casualty, actor Cory Monteith.)

This publicity circus unfolded as I was casting around for a decent topic for my sixth 'Big Seven' challenge, prompting me to look no further. For the record, I am not gay nor homophobic, I am not religious and I don't live within 10,000 miles of Kansas. I also realize that this organization has been consistently on the criminal 'hate-group' fringe and in no way represents the majority of genuinely devout Christian Americans.

Come edge your way down to old Westboro town
To the Topeka fringe-atic-loony
Hellbound, it is said, if you're gay when you're dead
And a guy's vital member pass through me
With a load of old hoar, Satanic Temple mocks lore
Mom's gay-wed, Fred Phelps Senior redempt'ry
Devil-worshipping crew wasn't known to me, dude
Till these tales of agenda unworldly

They took no pride in all the soldiers who died
Nor their loved ones from Maine to Wisconsin
The vengeance of God and his heavenly host
Will take you and your captains, they 'reasoned'
Concluding their terms with celestial worms
Baptist Church fundamental believe-land
And mating at night when love's demon bell rang
Could it be hell's temptation we're feeling?

The Satan plan-buyers made a battle-cry sound
At her grave spoke over her, wailing
And Edward loved Stu, Meg and Peg pledged anew
Posthumously sex-preference stealin'
The dawn came late, delta no longer straight
With that Mississippi pink-massing
When afternoon went, Fred's mother was bent
In embrace of a heavenly lez-wind

The Temple's press rep Lucien Greaves came on deck
Sayin' Fred's ma is now Sappho's breed, yah
At seven she dines on heaven's fine 'gynes
Phallus I don't want to know ya
Old Fred was mired in, he had letters comin' in
'Is her ladyship's virtue in peril?'
And later that night, when acolytes outta sight
Tearful wreck of poor Fred, Fred Phelps Senior

Does anyone know where the love of God goes
When depraved minutes turn into hours?
Soul-searchers all say it's OK to be gay
If you put fifteen young years behind you
You might well split up and you might well be prized
May have got into deep water
But soldiers' remains still bear faces and the names
Of their wives and their sons and their daughters

Lake Huron rolls, Superior sings
And that old Moon River's romance shone
And passion it steams like a young virgin's dreams
For bi's and for gays and for straight one
And way down below Lucifario
Takes in what fake-eerie can conjure
And the false horned goats blow as life's mariners well know
With the gates of dire dogma dismembered

In a gleaming white hall in Topeka they prayed
In the Westboro Baptist Cathedral
The church bell chimed till out of its mind
For the soul of his mom, Fred Phelps Senior
For the legend lives on from old Hebrew humdrum
'Right', said Fred 'That's all, folks', loony-tuny
It has to be said, when you're dead you are dead
Gay or straight, may death never come early

Listen/view OS on YouTube here.
*The distinctive Dorian-tuned electric guitar accompaniment which drives this classic epic ballad is played by Detroit-born Terry Clements, Lightfoot's premier session and touring guitarist for many years. Sadly, he passed away in Feb 2011.
* Though the song charted well in the States and Canada, it's much less known in Britain/Australia, though Lightfoot's signature songs 'Sundown' and 'If you could read my mind' are still well-regarded.

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Pacing: 3.7
How Funny: 3.7
Overall Rating: 3.7

Total Votes: 3

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Patrick - July 23, 2013 - Report this comment
I live about 50 miles away from Fred Phelp's compound. It's actually English Tudor architecture. Tall fence, security cameras. Basketball court. Flag pole with US Stars and Stripes upside down, and a very gay looking rainbow flag above it. A gay organization bought the house directly across from the "church" on the east side of Orleans Street and painted it in vivid rainbow stripes. Very attractive, but one has to wonder what the other neighbors think. I met Fred years ago. Just a typical right wing kook, then. I consider myself a right wing kook, as are most of my friends. Fred gives right-wing kooks an even worse name than we already had. Former Topeka residents tell me Fred likes to jog wearing flamboyant pink and green fluorescent clothing. He has a son who is gay, and of course he has disowned him. At least one of his daughters ran away at her first opportunity. The story of the Satanic wedding reminds me of the Mormons who went to the Holocaust Museum and wrote down the names of Jewish victims of Hitler so they could be posthumously surrogate baptised into the Mormon Church. If you dare take the risk, the Westboro Baptist Church has an extensive collection of song parody lyrics and a few recordings on their web site. Fred would not try to harm anyone's computer, but I can only imagine that every hacker in Christendom or Satandom is trying to crash the site. I really like your parody, learned something about Satanism and Lesbianism. Will be interested to see what other viewers think. Also read somewhere that the Phelps clan are barred from entering the UK. I guess their reputation spread further than I would have expected. So many good lines, well-matched to the original. Especially liked "Lucifario takes in what fake-eerie can send him". This is a classic. L'Chaim!
Lifeliver - July 24, 2013 - Report this comment
Thanks for the compliments and the fascinating background detail, Patrick. I read that old Fred's 85 now, so not out jogging too often I imagine. I didn't know his son was gay. The news reports referred to Fred Jr, which confused me, unless it was his grandfather's name too and he's FP III.

I taught you something about lesbianism and satanism? Wow - how did I do that? I'm not very well qualified in either of those fields, believe it or not. Don't know 'L'Chaim' - is that Hebrew?
Al Silver - July 24, 2013 - Report this comment
Is that Hebrew? Even better. It's a show stopper.
Patrick - July 24, 2013 - Report this comment
When I met Fred he was campaigning against property taxation. A good right-wing cause. The gay thing came later. He has been pastor of this operation since 1953, when he broke away from the Eastboro Baptist Church in Topeka. According to Wikipedia, Fred turned down an appointment to the US Military Academy to pursue a ministerial vocation. His Father was Fred Wade Phelps. His son is Fred Phelps Junior. Phelps is a disbarred lawyer. He received awards from Black civil rights organizations for working against racial discrimination in Kansas. When he ran for governor his lieutenant governor running mate was a Black postal worker from Kansas City, Kansas. He has said "God doesn't hate Black people, just fags". After he became abusive to a witness in a civil case he was disbarred by the state. A real strange character.
Lifeliver - July 25, 2013 - Report this comment
Thanks once again for filling me in, Al. I'd seen this great musical, too, long ago, and even parodied 'If I were a rich man' a while back.
Lifeliver - July 25, 2013 - Report this comment
Additional info appreciated, Patrick - that explains the name anomaly. Strange, to be sure, but I have to say a man with the courage of his convictions. It was the activism and the targets he chose that was the problem, it appears, not his interpretation of the bible. The thing that appealed to me here was two diametrically opposed crackpot religionists fighting fire with fire in a supernatural arena. I'll stay up in the bleachers, thanks, and watch the blood flow.
Patrick - July 25, 2013 - Report this comment
A man was arrested for stalking Phelps, or the Phelps klan while they were picketing somewhere. Police found guns in his car. I have heard that someone once threw a fire bomb at the "compound". It's actually a large house on a corner lot, Orleans and West 12th in Topeka. Most churches have sign boards listing times for services. The Westboro board simply reads "Fags Doom Nations". For all their venom, I don't recall the Westboro Church ever advocating violence. They just applaud it.
Dave W. - July 26, 2013 - Report this comment
Man torments man......better than Gods or demons ever will.....Is that a good view from the bleachers, Lifeliver?
Lifeliver - July 26, 2013 - Report this comment
Well Dave, men use the notion of gods and demons to torment each other (and themselves) would be my way of putting it. I think that's a clear view but certainly not a pretty one.

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