The Westboro Baptist Church is a small church that has drawn national attention for many years as a result of their extreme stance on homosexuality. The church is know for picketing military, celebrity, and other funerals with large, colorful signs adorning extreme messages. The founder, Fred Phelps is also a lawyer famous for many landmark cases.
Nathan Phelps, who has been excommunicated from his family and the church since he turned 18 over 30 years ago, reports that his father is currently in hospice care in a Kansas hospital. Phelps announced this information in a Facebook post, in which he commented “I’m not sure how I feel about this,” and also stated “Terribly ironic that his [Fred Phelp’s] devotion to god ends this way. Destroyed by the monster he made.” Nathan also showed grief for all who have been targeted by his father’s actions in the post : “I feel sad for all the hurt he’s caused so many.”
Fred Phelp’s excommunication from his church isn’t the first time that he has been removed from an organization. In 1979 Fred Phelps was disbarred from practicing law in Kentucky after badgering and accusing a witness of obscene sexual acts while she was testifying on the stand. Fred Phelps also ran unsuccessfully to be a Kansas Senator in 1992, receiving 30.8% of the votes.
When asked to comment on the state of Fred Phelp’s health and reason for excommunication, the church is unwilling to give many details. A spokesperson for the church acknowledged that he is indeed in hospice care, however stated “We don’t discuss our internal church dealings with anybody. It’s only because of his notoriety that you are asking” when asked about why the founder was removed from his own church.