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Fred Phelps Sr, once pastor of the infamously intolerant Westboro Baptist Church, is close to death, according to his son.
Nathan Phelps, who has been estranged from his father for 30 years, posted a statement on Facebook which said: “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.
“I’m not sure how I feel about this. Terribly ironic that his devotion to his god ends this way. Destroyed by the monster he made.
“I feel sad for all the hurt he’s caused so many. I feel sad for those who will lose the grandfather and father they loved. And I’m bitterly angry that my family is blocking the family members who left from seeing him, and saying their goodbyes.”
Nathan Phelps, the sixth of Fred Phelps Sr’s 13 children, ran away from home when he was 18. He now lives in Canada and works to promote LGBT rights.
The Topeka-based Westboro Baptist Church gained notoriety in the US and beyond through its practice of picketing funerals, often of service members killed in Afghanistan or Iraq but also of public figures, in order to promote a virulently anti-gay message under the slogan “God Hates Fags”.