According to his son Nathan, Fred Phelps, the founder and former pastor of the Westboro Baptist Church, is “on the edge of death.”
The church gained notoriety in the early 1990s when it began picketing the funerals of those it deemed to be sinful — including LGBT people and institutions, like the United States Armed Forces, that it believes support the LGBT causes.
“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,” Nathan wrote on Facebook.
“I’m not sure how I feel about this,” he continued. “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.”
Hemant Mehta confirmed by phone that Nathan Phelp’s Facebook update about his father’s condition was legitimate. Mehta wrote that Nathan had heard rumors about his father’s failing health from other “excommunicated” members of the church for the past few weeks, who said 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.”
As of this moment, there is no mention of Phelps’s impending death on the organization’s official website, and its Twitter feed is devoted to its usual anti-LGBT fare:
No matter where you are, fags/fag-enablers, Westboro Baptist Church will be there to warn in love with God's truth! https://t.co/35Y5VMxP5y
Scott Eric Kaufman is the proprietor of the AV Club's Internet Film School and, in addition to Raw Story, also writes for Lawyers, Guns & Money. He earned a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of California, Irvine in 2008.
Raw Story is a progressive news site that focuses on stories often ignored in the mainstream media. While giving coverage to the big stories of the day, we also bring our readers' attention to policy, politics, legal and human rights stories that get ignored in an infotainment culture driven solely by pageviews.
Founded in 2004, Raw Story reaches 9 million unique readers per month and serves more than 30 million pageviews.