Nathan Phelps, the estranged son of Fred Phelps, Sr., reports on Facebook that the infamous hate preacher is near death:
The elder Phelps, of course, founded the infamous Topeka, Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church, which is best known for its extremist homophobic views, craven publicity stunts, and picketing the funerals of U.S. soldiers, people who've died of AIDS-related complications, and victims of anti-gay hate crimes (including Matthew Shepard).
For many, Fred Phelps, Sr. and members of his extended family are the very face of anti-LGBT bigotry; the Southern Poverty Law Center calls Westboro Baptist "the most obnoxious and rabid hate group in America."
Fred Phelps, Sr.'s excommunication from his church has apparently been kept secret up to this point.
Nate Phelps left the church, and therefore became estranged from his family, as soon as he possibly could -- at midnight on his 18th birthday in 1976. He has since come out as an atheist and an ally of the LGBT community, and devoted much of his life to speaking out against the church.
While I certainly won't be shedding any tears when "Pastor" Phelps's life comes to an end, I can't imagine how strange and conflicted this whole experience must be for Nathan Phelps and the many other members of the Phelps family who've renounced that evil church.
While the dying Fred Phelps certainly won't be in my thoughts, they definitely are.