Westboro Baptist Church’s Fred Phelps Dead at 84

PIC: Rudolf 1922 (PD)

PIC: Rudolf 1922 (PD)

Pastor and founder of the infamous Westboro Baptist Church has assumed room temperature. It’ll be interesting to see how the “church” proceeds from here. One of the biggest question will be who will take over pastoral duties. Fred’s daughter, attorney and church member Shirley Phelps-Roper ,has been one of the most prominent faces of the church over the last several years, but I doubt that the church, which describes itself as “Primitive Baptist,” will accept a woman as pastor.

According to the Topeka Capital-Journal media calls to the church are either going to voice mail or being hung up on by members. Guess they’re not as vocal when one of their own dies. I wonder if they’ll picket Fred’s funeral, Given rumors that he had been excommunicated from the church prior to his death.

As a personal aside, in December of last year, I  had contacted the church to arrange an interview with Fred on behalf of a media colleague. Even then, there were rumors that Fred was in poor health and very close to death. Church spokesman Steve Drain had denied those rumors in an email, stating that Phelps was in good health for a man of his age and just didn’t want to do interviews anymore. Needless to say, there wasn’t any mention of the excommunication.

Drain has an interesting, if not incomprehensible story. He was a philosophy grad student when he first learned about the church. Initially he had set out to film a documentary about the church titled Hatemongers, but was drawn in and became a member. In an interview with VICE, Drain admitted that he’s actually a fan of some of the bands that the church protests, among them Radiohead. This kind of contradiciton doesn’t seem to bother Drain – at least not enough to leave the church. Neither was losing his daughter. I’m curious if Drain, or any other members of the church, will take Fred’s death as an opportunity to leave.

Via the Washington Post:

Fred Phelps Sr., a fire-and-brimstone preacher whose anti-gay picketing at military funerals inflamed the nation and drew international scorn but was protected by the U.S. Supreme Court as an exercise in free speech, died March 19 at a hospice in Topeka, Kan. He was 84.

His daughter Shirley Phelps-Roper confirmed his death to the Topeka Capital-Journal. The cause was not reported.

Rev. Phelps was an ordained Baptist minister, a disbarred Kansas lawyer and, according to a BBC documentary, the patriarch of the “most hated family in America.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center, a prominent civil rights group, described his Westboro congregation as a “family-based cult” and “arguably the most obnoxious and rabid hate group in America.”

The expression of Rev. Phelps’s bigotry managed to offend the conscience of the Ku Klux Klan, which staged protests to counter Westboro’s demonstrations at military funerals.

The church’s following consisted mainly of the extended Phelps family and assorted outsiders who shared the founder’s view of an unforgiving, vengeful God poised to destroy a nation of sinners. Rev. Phelps dispatched followers to parks and street corners with anti-gay and anti-Semitic placards, some wielded by his grandchildren as young as 7.

Keep reading at The Washington Post.


  • Anarchy Pony

    Ding dong the bitch is dead!

  • Mick-Doscious

    He now resides only in everyones memories and only as a vile and bitter human being. I hope he experienced his own personal hell before he ceased to exist.

    • Andrew

      Nobody that hateful is happy. He lived a personal hell most of his life. People who suffer that much can’t but spread it to others.

    • Andrew

      “There was this humble, little old man who had spent his life laboring in that Word, in that vineyard, telling people just what the Bible says,” Drain says. “He’s not an aggressive self-promoter that people put him out as. He’s a man who every day spends several hours a day poring through the Scripture. He’s doing this out of a heartfelt fear that if he doesn’t do it, then the Lord is going to deal with him.”


      Sounds like the poor bastard took the Bible too seriously.

  • New Monkey

    This post has been left intentionally blank.

  • PrimateZero

    Phelps is dead, so it goes…. now I wonder what I’ll have for dinner?

  • Andrew

    Allegedly he was excommunicated for preaching “kindness” after his daughter was ousted by a group of male “elders.” http://m.cjonline.com/news/2014-03-17/elders-excommunicate-phelps-after-power-struggle-call-kindness-within-church

    And he may have become the way he was because he was raped while serving at West Point. http://www.examiner.com/article/westboro-baptist-church-was-fred-phelps-raped-by-a-man

    Let’s hope everyone gets out before the WBC goes Jonestown.

    • Anarchy Pony

      If god hates gays so much, why did he invent the option? For an all powerful being he’s not very proactive. Except when he sends the tornadoes and such to punish us tolerating the gays that he hates so much that he created in the first place.

      • Andrew

        Phelps said God doesn’t hate them because they’re gay, they’re gay because God hates them. Hardcore Calvinism doesn’t believe people have options when it comes to salvation. God wants lots of people to suffer in hell for eternity, just because he’s sadistic like that. And when God’s sadistic, sadism is good.

        • Anarchy Pony

          That much more reason to kill god.

          • BuzzCoastin

            according to the story
            they did
            but He can’t die
            so It’s a Mexican standoff
            god, you you can’t live with him & you can’t kill him

          • Mr Grim

            I dunno, I reckon if you cut off ALL His heads…

          • Kyle

            Good luck with that one… He’ll kill every last man before someone tries to figure out how to do that 😉

        • Rhoid Rager

          Ahh Calvinism, the handmaiden of Capitalism.

          • misinformation

            Corporatism? Cronyism?

          • Rhoid Rager

            No, just capitalism. It’s the link Max Weber made.
            Those other ‘c’ words are just offshoots.

          • misinformation

            I’ll check out Max Weber. As far as I understand, capitalism doesn’t involve the state. Those other two ” C” words, most definitely do, which, of corse, makes them very different ideologies – not just “off-shoots”.

            Seems to me, a lot of what people consider “capitalism”, today, is really fascism, as defined by Mussolini. But I probably just have a cursory understanding.

  • emperorreagan

    So a new group of elders didn’t think the church was hateful enough, eh?

  • Gjallarbru

    Taking for granted there is an afterlife, I really do wonder how a man that produce so much hate, in god’s name, is going to be received.

    I bet there is soooo much planed for him…

    • BuzzCoastin

      wait till he finds out god is a fag
      he’ll be spinnin in his grave

      • Andrew

        Spinning on God’s cock, having an anal orgasm.

        • BuzzCoastin

          and screaming THANK YOU JESUS!!

          • Andrew

            Holy Cum-union!

  • BuzzCoastin

    he who lives by the media
    dies by the media circus

  • jasonpaulhayes

    I’m sorry for his families loss.

    • Thurlow Weed

      They are happy as hogs. No feeling of loss there.

      • Andrew

        I doubt they know what happiness is.

        • Thurlow Weed

          You would have an easier time explaining what the flavor of vanilla tastes like than defining happiness. My point above is there is no “family’s lose”.

          • Andrew

            I disagree with that point. The death of an abusive parent doesn’t erase the damage done to his children and grandchildren.

  • Doubleutf

    This fucking nut job won’t be missed.

  • godozo

    I can’t help but wonder whether Fred Phelps tested positive for HIV and was excommunicated for that (proof, after all…)

    • Mark Pugner

      a.k.a. Max Hardcore

  • mauriziojuvefc

    like a fart in the wind, sadly he left skidmarks

  • VaudeVillain

    I am glad that his hate is gone. I am sorry that it took his death for that to happen. It is tragic, looking back, to see how much of his life and the lives of those around him were consumed by hate.

    I hope that in his final moments, or in whatever afterlife may exist, that he found the peace, love and joy which apparently eluded him for so many years.

    • Thurlow Weed

      If I were god, weighing the benefits of letting you into the afterlife, aka heaven, and I read your comment above, I’d send you directly to the void instead. People in the afterlife don’t need to be hearing how much anyone hopes Fred Phelps got it right in the final moments of his life.

      • VaudeVillain

        Good for you.

        That’s some really top-notch hostility you’ve cultivated, has it made your life better yet?

  • Ken_A1

    Fred who?

  • Dingbert

    Lord, if it is possible, have mercy!

  • LifelongLIb

    As far as who takes over, I don’t know about this particular church, but Baptists were among the first denominations to have women preachers (in the 17th century!).

  • tesisson

    A toast to the SOB…He was an attorney who began his career defending civil rights for blacks and fighting Jim Crow laws for which he was ostracized by the community.

    And that, not knowing him, is that the best I can say for the man. May he be discussing reality with Freddy Mercury right now.

    …It’s an Irish thing,

  • Noah_Nine

    The world of comedy will never be the same. With the determination of a well seasoned method actor and a dedication to character that makes Andy Kaufman look like a bumbling amateur, alternative comic and gay rights activist Fred Phelps fooled the world with an immersive, long-form performance piece that managed to beguile the media, the internet and and westboro church leaders in equal measure. Comedy has lost a true genius. I for one look forward to Sasha Baron Cohen playing him in the inevitable biopic…