Former Westboro Baptist Church Leader Fred Phelps on Deathbed, Says Son
The infamous Fred Phelps, 84, who once headed the Westboro Baptist Church (known for their message "God hates fags") is dying, according to a Facebook post by his son.
Gawker reports Phelps' son Nathan Phelps left the Kansas-based vehemently anti-gay church in 1980 and now lives in Canada, working to support LGBT rights. Early Sunday morning, he took to Facebook to announce his father was on his deathbed in hospice in Topeka, Kansas.
"I've learned that my father, Fred Phelps, Sr., pastor of the "God Hates Fags" Westboro Baptist Church, was ex-communicated from the "church" back in August of 2013. He is now on the edge of death at Midland Hospice house in Topeka, Kansas.
I'm not sure how I feel about this. Terribly ironic that his devotion to his god ends this way. Destroyed by the monster he made.
I feel sad for all the hurt he's caused so many. I feel sad for those who will lose the grandfather and father they loved. And I'm bitterly angry that my family is blocking the family members who left from seeing him, and saying their good-byes."
As of this writing the post has 449 likes, 655 shares and several comments:
"Nathan, they can't stop you from going!! hell, show up with a sign & say your picketing the funeral (like he did so many others..) & just go," one user writes. "fuck what them folks tell you can or can't be done - did they ever listen when dead soldiers families said they couldn't come!?"
"Nate, what a painful and confusing time this must be. Whether or not you agreed with him doesn't change the fact that he was your father, and I wish more people were sensitive to that," another said in part.
Hemant Mehta of the Friendly Atheist confirmed Nathan Phelps' Facebook post. He writes:
"I just got off the phone with Nate and he confirmed what he had written. The rumors had been flying for several weeks, he said, but after a conversation with some of his fellow 'excommunicated' family members, he found out that the rumors were true. He elaborated on that final line, too, saying that the Phelps family is now blocking anyone who is no longer with the church from seeing him, including Fred's sons, daughters, nieces, and nephews."
The Westboro Baptist Church, which in reality is a hate group and is monitored by the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center, gained international recognition for spreading their bizarre message of hate via protests and picketing. They hold several of their anti-gay protests at the funerals of military members, but also target funerals of celebrities and other public events to get media attention.
According to the WBC's website (www.godhatesfags.com) the church "has taken forth the precious from the vile, and so is as the mouth of God (Jer. 15:19). In 1991, WBC began conducting peaceful demonstrations opposing the fag lifestyle of soul-damning, nation-destroying filth."
Most of the Phelps family are members of the WBC and it was reported in 2011 that the church had about 40 members.