One of the weekend’s top news stories is the reported imminent death of the patriarch of America’s most hated family. Fred Phelps, founder of the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church — which call themselves “God Hates Fags” — supposedly is in hospice care and near death, or so one of his thirteen children says.
Fred’s estranged son Nathan posted to Facebook this claim:
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.
The “edge of death” part is not hard to understand, but how could the founder of a church be excommunicated? (The Phelps clan, by the way, describe their religion as “Primitive Baptist.”)
The Topeka Capital-Journal explains that “Pastor Fred Waldron Phelps Sr. was excommunicated from the Westboro Baptist Church after advocating a kinder approach to church members.”
Holy cow! How is that possible?
A “kinder approach to church members”?
But not non-church members, like LGBT people.
The excommunication occurred after the formation of a board of male elders in the church. The board had defeated Shirley Phelps-Roger, the church’s longtime spokeswoman, in a power struggle, and Fred Phelps Sr. called for kinder treatment of fellow church members.
The board then ejected Fred Phelps Sr., who founded the church in the 1950s.
The power struggle and excommunication was revealed by Nate Phelps, a son of Fred Phelps who broke away from the church 37 years ago, during an interview with a Topeka Capital-Journal reporter.
Among the members of the church’s board of elders are Fred Phelps’ sons Jonathan Phelps and Timothy Phelps, and Steve Drain, who is now the church spokesman. In recent months, calls to Shirley Phelps-Roper have been answered by Drain.
So, it sounds like a coup took place over at the God Hates Fags house this summer, and no one told us until now.
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