Fred Phelps Near Death, Excommunicated By Family
March 17th, 2014
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.
The Topeka Capital-Journal has just a little bit more:
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.
Westboro spokesman Steve Drain confirmed that Phelps was in a nursing home but refused to discuss the excommunication. Drain is believed to be the only member of the church who is not related to the Phelps clan by blood or marriage. His estranged and excommunicated daughter, Laura Drain, reacted to the news yesterday on Facebook:
If the rumors are true regarding Fred Phelps, & I have strong reason to believe that they are – this news to me is incredibly devastating. When I was back in the church 8 years ago, I witnessed various members get ex-communicated & watched in horror & fear as families were ripped apart at the seams.
There was one summer, that I can draw upon perfectly clear as to the nature of the harshness & severity of our beliefs. Our very own pastor, who supposedly was guided by God & helped guide our ministry, his own membership was being called into question by the remaining members (most of which were his own sons, daughters & progeny). This notion devastated me & I remember as a church we became obsessed with hiding it from the media. I couldn’t realize why. To protect the reality that all humans, including a pastor could sin? To protect the fact that we as a church could possibly make a mistake? To protect our “name” to the world? It was hypocritical that we weren’t more focused on how to treat one another! How to forgive! How to leave God’s judgments in His hands! Did we really reach the point where we thought we owned salvation to discard people like trash? The pastor was forgiven that summer & I saw a glimmer of humility in his eyes that day, that all of us are human & subject to feeling vulnerable & hopeless.
It stopped me in my tracks from ever considering leaving myself, feeling family love & connection was something I felt was most precious in life, to my very core. Because of my non-compliance to church policy, which I witnessed change day to day, I became ex-communicated myself, cut off from my family that I held so dear.
…I pray that despite all the many families & people affected by the WBC, that they will not have vengeance in their heart, but rather pity. …Consider this, there are members still there, like my younger siblings, who can and will learn from experiencing compassion from others, not polarizing hate.
Prove the WBC wrong. We all seek peace not vengeance.
Equality Kansas echoes that plea:
Equality Kansas (formerly the Kansas Equality Coalition) today urged members of the Kansas, United States, and worldwide LGBT communities to respect the privacy of the family of Fred W. Phelps, notorious pastor of the Westboro Baptist Church.
“If the reports of Fred Phelps’ declining health are accurate, then his family and friends are certainly saying their good-byes and preparing to mourn his loss,” said Sandra Meade, chairwoman of Equality Kansas. “We ask that everyone understand the solemnity of the occasion, and honor the right of his family and friends to remember and mourn his loss in private without interruption or unseemly celebration,” Meade said.
…“For over 20 years, Phelps and the members of his Topeka-based church have harassed the grieving families of LGBT Kansans and others,” said Thomas Witt, executive director of Equality Kansas. “He and his followers showed utter disregard for the privacy and grief of others for many years. This is our moment as a community to rise above the sorrow, anger, and strife he sowed, and to show the world we are caring and compassionate people who respect the privacy and dignity of all,” Witt said.
I agree. We are certainly much better than them. Besides, Fred Phelps was undoubtedly the best gay rights campaigner we ever had.
There’s an old saying about some enemies that if they didn’t exist, we’d have to create them. Phelps is his own creation, and now he is reaping the rewards of his creation. He taught his family the deepest intricacies of hate, and now his gift to them has earned dividends that are being rewarded back to him. That alone is justice.