Westboro Baptist Church leader Fred Phelps Sr., best known for picketing the funerals of soldiers and holding up signs that say “God Hates Fags”, is reportedly on his deathbed.
Fred Phelps’ son, Nathan Phelps, who left the church when he was 18 and became an LGBT and child abuse advocate, announced on his Facebook page that his father had been ex-communicated in August of 2013 “after some kind of falling out” and is now gravely ill. He didn’t mention specifically why his father was ex-communicated last year or what he was dying of, but he did offer up his mixed feelings on his universally hated father.
“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,” Nathan Phelps wrote.
“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.”
But will the Westboro Baptist Church die along with him? Probably not. Given Phelps’ age (84), he acts more as a figurehead and most of the churches activities have long been delegated to other members of the church – mostly to his horrible daughter Shirley Phelps-Roper.
Members of the Westboro church, founded by Fred Phelps in the 1950s in Topeka, Kansas, frequently protest at funerals of soldiers with signs containing messages such as “Thank God for dead soldiers” and “Thank God for 9/11”, claiming the deaths are God’s punishment for American immorality and tolerance of homosexuality and abortion.
Needless to say, when his time does come, Phelps’ funeral will be heavily picketed. And while protesting his funeral and desecrating his grave are probably well deserved, what would be even worse for him is to just be completely forgotten.