Nate Phelps, the son of Fred Phelps, posted late last night to his Facebook page that his father was near death and was in a hospice in Topeka, Kansas.
Fred Phelps, the founder of Westboro Baptist Church, made a name for his church and himself with the mantra, “God Hates Fags,” and by first picketing Matthew Shepard’s funeral. WBC, under Fred Phelps’ leadership, went on to picket numerous gay people’s funerals as well as the funerals of American soldiers, schools, celebrity events and anywhere else they could go to get attention.
Nate Phelps also wrote in his Facebook post that he believed his father was excommunicated from Westboro in 2013. Another son, Mark Phelps, however has denied his father is dying. But a church spokesperson told the Kansas newspaper the Topeka Capital Journal that Fred Phelps is indeed in a hospice with unspecified health problems.
From the Capitol-Journal: After Phelps was voted out of Westboro Baptist Church this past summer, he was moved out of the church and into a house, where he was watched to ensure he wouldn’t harm himself, a son estranged from the church said Sunday. Phelps eventually stopped eating and drinking, and on Sunday, he was near death, son Nate Phelps said in a Facebook posting. The information also is based on an email sent by Nate Phelps to a Topeka Capital-Journal reporter. “(Fred) is at Midland Hospice House where, as of yesterday (Friday), he is comfortable without the respiratory difficulty that he was having the day before and is unresponsive,” Nate Phelps wrote, quoting a message sent to him.
In 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Phelps and his church for its offensive picketing at the funerals of U.S. soldiers, saying they were protected by the First Amendment. The church, without Fred Phelps, came to Atlanta in 2010 to picket various schools with Grady High School students organizing a counter protest that brought out hundreds and hundreds of people. The group came back to Atlanta in 2013 to protest, among other things, the Final Four basketball tournament.
The news of Fred Phelps’ impending death has many LGBT people and others cheering, including his own daughter, Margie Phelps, who tweeted this last night
— margiejphelps (@MargieJPhelps) March 16, 2014
A Facebook page popped up named “1,000,000 Strong for Picketing Fred Phelps’ Funeral When That Bastard Dies”and there is also another one titled “Fred Phelps Death Watch.” From Nate Phelps’ Facebook page:
From local activists: