I really feel sorry for Senator Larry Craig, the senior Republican from Idaho. While many of the left may be smirking in delight that a man who has made known his disapproval of the gay lifestyle has been exposed as a homosexual himself, I can’t help but wonder what is going through his mind right now.

Certainly, I will be able to sleep fine tonight, but the thought crossed my mind not once today that the senator may just want to die right now, that’s how embarrassing this whole episode must be to that. Add to that that Mr. Craig is clearly–and I do believe he was “cruising”–dishonest with himself about his sexuality for so many years the public embarrassment of a lurid restroom apprehension, he may seriously just want to die right now.

There’s not much I can say about it more than that I hope he holds his life together. I may not agree with a war-hungry Republican politician but I certainly believe that this is a man who is capable of effecting great change and opportunities for his people. It is too bad  that to get ahead  in his career, Mr. Craig has bad to lie to himself and his family about the fact that he is attracted to men.

Several weeks ago, I went with my roommates to Home Depot to pick up some supplies for a painting project in my apartment. My roommate Jeff, who struggled for several years to be honest with himself about being gay jokingly told me that in gay circles the lumber outlet is referred to as “Homo Depot” as it is a cruising spot for many gay men across the country.

That America’s largest home improvement supplies store should be a haven for closeted gay weekend warriors is no surprise to me–after all, what better place to hide your sexuality from the naive than in a place that sells power tools,  electrical supplies and other purportedly manly things. What is bizarre about it is that there are could be so many people who are willing to invest the time and energy into pursuing such a double life to save face for family, friends and employers. Wouldn’t all those trips to pick up drywall or check out wire cutters end up wearing a poor soul out?

Of course my perspective is a little clouded. My sexuality is perfectly acceptable in mainstream society. And though there may be those who don’t want to hear about it, it’s still perfectly acceptable and not a stumbling block for me the way it is for a gay man.

Without hearkening back to a McCarthy-like attitude of paranoia–interesting as it is because Senator McCarthy was a gay man himself–I wonder how many gay men there are out there hiding in the shadows, the restrooms, the plumbing aisles waiting to express a side of themselves that is unacceptable to their culture and their own heart. It’s a sad thought. I’ve often thought that the clearest indication of one’s homosexuality is his attitude of acceptance towards gay people. The more opposed to gays one is or the more false machismo he exudes, I think the greater the possibility is that he could himself be attracted to men.

Hearing about journeyman ballplayer Carl Everett a few years ago tell newspaper reporters that he would retire if he ever had to suffer the horror of playing on a team with an openly gay teammate was a surprise. Of course Everett has always had a cleat in his mouth, but to expect that there weren’t already gays in Major League Baseball and professional sports already was a shock. Of course there are. I wouldn’t be surprised if the NFL leads all sports in that category.

We’ll see how this plays out, but the one lesson we can take is that some people are better than others at hiding their personal lives, but gay people are in all parts of social and professional life so we’d better get used to it.

I’m amazed that after more than a decade of growing publicity, antics more worn out than Paris Hilton’s and so many other more important events, people still bring themselves to care about Fred Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church.

Phelps, for the rare soul fortunate enough not to know him, is the spiritual founder of the church, a cantankerous, violent old man who preaches a type of Calvinism that teaches that God, rather than loving all of mankind, is actually more hateful than anything else, presdetermining the fate of all to either be a part of his elect or to burn in hell for all of eternity.

Phelps is best known for his message of God’s hatred towards homosexuals. Whereas most fundamentalists would argue that God does not hate homosexuals, but rather forbids their lifestyle and sexuality, Phelps himself teaches that they are loathed by God, as are their enablers, everyone from Rosie O’Donnell to George W. Bush.

In addition to picketing the funerals of those who have died of AIDS, Phelps’ followers have recently taken to picketing the funerals of soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who have been killed in the Iraq War. God hates the troops, Phelps says. Phelps’ God is sadistic if nothing else. He coaxes people into wars and even recently inspired the Virginia Tech shooting that left 32 people dead. Add to God some other acts of terrorism as well including the September 11, 2001 attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center, and Phelps says that the Almighty is the greatest terrorist.

None of us have any hope of Heaven in Phelps’ theology. Strangely, I’m comfortable with that. What’s the point of exerting energy to discredit this man. When he opens his mouth his anger and frustration with the world is plain to see. He’s a sadist, though I don’t think that Phelps, as some would say, is an evil man. He’s got issues, is all. People take him way too seriously.

I suppose that there is nothing that any of us can know for sure about God. He’s beyond our comprehension. Looking at Him intellectually, God could be either all-hating, all-loving, indifferent or have even the mentality of a person sitting at their PC and playing the Sims. What does it matter? We’re not in control.

Now, I’ll never argue that God is Fred Phelps’ God, but I will ask people to stop paying attention to this guy. He and his family (those who haven’t fallen away) feed off of the negative attention. How could anyone take them seriously. Reason, emotion and so many other things seem to indicate that this man is himself a false prophet.

But as the third video shows, there are religious extremist all around. Anyone who believes wholeheartedly in the many contradictions of the Bible has to be denying the reality that humans see in God what they see in themselves. For forgiving people, God is more likely to be forgiving. For angry people, God’s wrath flows like water. Fred Phelps is not the only crazy out there. He’s just the most well-known.

So stop worrying about Fred Phelps and his hatefulness. Get on with your lives. Pay him no mind. Afterall, this is the guy who praised Saddam Hussein and then after his execution turned around and said he was in hell, right? He’s nuttier than a shithouse rat. Pay him no mind.