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Fred Phelps in poor health and forced from Westboro Baptist Church

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TOPEKA, KS (WIBW) — News that the founder of Westboro Baptist Church is seriously ill in hospice care has gained national attention.

WBC is known world-wide for its picket signs and protests at military funerals. The group claimed deaths of service members in Iraq and Afghanistan, were God’s retribution for America’s acceptance of homosexuality.

“We are going to undertake and picket their funeral,” said Fred Phelps back in 1993.

In a statement on Facebook, a son who left Westboro Baptist Church says family patriarch Pastor Fred Phelps Senior was in hospice and “on the edge of death.”

“And hopefully we can get there before the legislator of that state or the city council will work up a technical ordinance that we will have to work around,” laughs Phelps in 1993.

Nathan Phelps statement also revealed the man who became known worldwide for a movement first, protesting, against homosexuality, then later picketing military funerals, was ex-communicated from his own church in August 2013.

Nathan Phelps told the Topeka Capital Journal it was because the Senior Phelps advocated a kinder approach to church members.

Nathan Phelps posted, “I feel sad for all the hurt he has caused so many.”

Reactions from Topekans and community leaders varied.

“I extend my concern to the family. Their picketing of the churches and funerals was never the right thing for them to do, but hopefully in the years to come they will give all that up,” said former Topeka Mayor, Bill Bunten.

“I think he deserves time to rest and I hope he makes peace with God,” says Ashanti Spears, Topeka resident.

While some online posters suggested picketing Fred Phelps’ funeral. Stephanie Mott, Executive Director of the Kansas Statewide Transgender Education Project, disagrees.

“I think its important to take the high road. Hate doesn’t drive out hate. That’s what Martin Luther King says, it takes love to drive out hate,” said Mott.

Former Westboro Baptist Church member Lauren Drain’s Facebook post said, “the news to me is incredibly devastating. Consider this there are members still there, like my younger siblings, who can learn from experiencing compassion from others not polarizing hate. Prove the WBC wrong. We all seek peace not vengeance.”

Westboro Baptist Church spokesman Steve Drain told 13 News the church does not rise or fall with any man. And as far as who will lead the church next, Drain says the church has no leader, their head is the Lord Jesus Christ.

By Ariana Cohen


  • ByeByeToTheRite

    This is God’s retribution! God has spoken!

    I hope thousands show up with disgraceful and vulgar signs to protest his funeral. No, wait, better yet – I hope nobody shows up for the nobody.

  • eadavisblog

    You know hate only spawns more hate…let’s hope that God shows this man the error of his ways and let him move from this world in peace. If we stoop to their level we are no better than they are, and that isn’t a level I want to stoop, too.

  • ArmyChick

    I think he should die die die … he don’t deserve a funeral or anything else… is someone going to picket his funeral or harass his family members!!! OUR MILITARY went thru all the hate from this jerk let his family and friends and town who support him feel the pain all of the military families and others who had to when we lost our loved ones who FOUGHT for this jerk to be alive , breathing and able to form such a hateful group of people … everyone of them deserves something for this… you don’t show this much hate for someone who died for you to be free.
    People like this make me sick .. let him suffer !!!!!

    • Christina

      I hope the whole town fills up with protestors and show them just how it feels. I know this isn’t right but I would love to be there to see this.

  • Shawn Curtis

    People are looking at this the wrong way. If he dies, he’ll have to answer to God and try and justify to Him how he preached hatred and intolerance in His name. Then, he’ll get to be greeted by all the people whose death he rejoiced in and whose funerals he used as platforms for preaching hatred.

  • Stacie RN

    I’m ashamed of all of you. I disliked the man and whathe stood for just as much as the next person, but re-read the article. The quoted Dr. MArtin Luther King Jr. ” Hate does not drive out hate, only love can do that”. Yes this man had a sick and twisted sense of right and wrong but that is just one more reason to feel sorry for him. He never got to experience all the world has to offer because he kept his view too narrow. Instead of “pissing on his grave” or “picketing”. Show sympathy that someone lost someone close to them. And if you must stand outside his funeral, hold a sign that quotes Dr. MArtin Luther King Jr. or The Beatles. “All you need is Love”.

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