Controversial Westboro pastor Fred Waldron Phelps Sr. near death

Monday, March 17, 2014 10:24 AM
Last updated 7:21 PM
  • Follow Latest News

TOPEKA, Kansas — Pastor Fred Waldron Phelps Sr., the founder of the controversial Westboro Baptist Church, is a patient at a hospice with unspecified health problems, a church spokesman confirmed Sunday.

Pastor Fred Waldron Phelps Sr., the founder of the controversial Westboro Baptist Church, is a patient at a hospice with unspecified health problems, a church spokesman confirmed Sunday.  FILE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
FILE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Pastor Fred Waldron Phelps Sr., the founder of the controversial Westboro Baptist Church, is a patient at a hospice with unspecified health problems, a church spokesman confirmed Sunday.

That contrasts with Feb. 14, when church spokesman Steve Drain twice told a Topeka Capital-Journal reporter that Phelps was “healthy.”

Unlike calls in the past several years, Drain declined a reporter’s request in February to put Phelps on the phone.

In the past, Phelps would take the phone to chat awhile, sometimes chuckling because he understood the purpose of the call was to check on his health in the face of rumors he was ill or dead.

Drain said Phelps had done “his bit” in talking to reporters in earlier years and had passed the torch to younger church members.

After Phelps was voted out of Westboro Baptist Church last summer, he was moved out of the church and into a house, where he was watched to ensure he wouldn’t harm himself, a son estranged from the church said Sunday.

Phelps eventually stopped eating and drinking, and on Sunday, he was near death, son Nate Phelps said in a Facebook posting. The information also is based on an e-mail sent by Nate Phelps to a Topeka Capital-Journal reporter.

“(Fred) is at Midland Hospice House where, as of yesterday (Friday), he is comfortable without the respiratory difficulty that he was having the day before and is unresponsive,” Nate Phelps wrote, quoting a message sent to him.

For many years, Fred Phelps Sr. and his wife, Margie Marie Phelps, lived in an upper floor of the church.

On Sunday morning, the church and surrounding streets where many of the members live were quiet.

Drain declined to comment Sunday on a report that Fred Phelps Sr. has been excommunicated from the conservative church, which he founded in the 1950s and was known for its controversial anti-gay stance.

Nate Phelps, who broke away from the church 37 years ago, posted on his Facebook page that his father was excommunicated from the church in August 2013 and is “now on the edge of death at Midland Hospice house in Topeka.”

Nate Phelps made the Facebook post around midnight Saturday. He is one of five sons of Fred Phelps Sr.

Drain was asked Sunday morning whether Fred Phelps Sr. had been excommunicated.

“We don’t owe any talk to you about that,” Drain said. “We don’t discuss our internal church dealings with anybody. It’s only because of his notoriety that you are asking.”

However, a second Phelps brother estranged from Westboro Baptist Church confirmed Sunday morning that Fred Phelps Sr. is in poor health and has been excommunicated.

“Just a quick note to assure you the information you wrote and published this morning is accurate,” Mark Phelps e-mailed to The Capital-Journal at 10:30 a.m. “I do not know anything more than you know, at this time, but what you wrote I know to be true, personally, just as Nathan (Nate Phelps) knows to be true also.”

As for who is the leader of Westboro Baptist Church, there is no head of the church, Drain said.

Comments (25) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
soapy_725
44848
Points
soapy_725 03/17/14 - 10:39 am
0
0
This is not a church. It is a money making scam. Religious scam
Unpublished

This is not a church. It is a money making scam. Religious scam

myfather15
59557
Points
myfather15 03/17/14 - 10:41 am
13
4
I take issue with this!!

"Drain declined to comment Sunday on a report that Fred Phelps Sr. has been excommunicated from the conservative church"

This is NOT a conservative church; it's a RADICAL church!!! One can call themselves anything they please, but "By their fruits, ye shall know them".

Marinerman1
7283
Points
Marinerman1 03/17/14 - 12:09 pm
11
1
Just Rewards

When he meets his Maker, he will get his just rewards. I don't think there is air conditioning where he's going. I agree with you, 'myfather15" -- a surely radical church, if you can really call them "churchly". Good riddance.

my.voice
5912
Points
my.voice 03/17/14 - 12:25 pm
10
1
The church will disintegrate

The church will disintegrate if it hasn't already. Churches can be strange organisms, built around worship of the Lord, they can become a place of worship of the leader. In this case, the church has turned into a place of WHAT YOU DON'T DO IN YOUR FAITH rather than WHAT YOU DO BECAUSE YOUR FAITH. FAITH is about love, not about hatred.

Farmboy
1043
Points
Farmboy 03/17/14 - 12:15 pm
11
1
What an appropriate picture..

Him with his mouth wide open.

Farmboy
1043
Points
Farmboy 03/17/14 - 12:20 pm
10
1
No Sympathy..

For people that hurt people.

Farmboy
1043
Points
Farmboy 03/17/14 - 12:24 pm
13
1
Some people say..

That when people are dying you should give them grace and sympathy. That's an argument I just don't buy into. Especially in this case.

thauch12
7821
Points
thauch12 03/17/14 - 12:28 pm
12
0
Why does the media even give

Why does the media even give this waste of oxygen attention even in death? The only way WBC has become what it is is because news outlets have propagated their hateful messages. The only fitting end I can see for this guy is for him to die and not a single media outlet cover his death, funeral or subsequent changes in the "church" he founded.

Pond Life
17682
Points
Pond Life 03/17/14 - 02:08 pm
7
5
I see lot's of religious
Unpublished

I see lot's of religious people denouncing everything this man and his church stand for. Too bad not all religions do the same. If you know what I mean.

karradur
2946
Points
karradur 03/17/14 - 03:28 pm
10
2
Even though I am an atheist ...

... I think that virtually every Chronicle commenter would agree that "Pastor" Fred Phelps has lived his entire adult in diametric opposition to actual Christian teachings and that he represents the absolute worst in humanity. He is worth less than nothing.

Jesus would have been ashamed of him.

Pond Life
17682
Points
Pond Life 03/17/14 - 03:31 pm
4
4
I believe we agree for once,
Unpublished

I believe we agree for once, karradur. Miracles DO happen.....no offense. :-)

karradur
2946
Points
karradur 03/17/14 - 03:30 pm
11
1
@Farmboy

He looks like the Nazi in Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Butterman
3694
Points
Butterman 03/17/14 - 03:32 pm
6
2
If there is a Hell
Unpublished

this man will surely go there

karradur
2946
Points
karradur 03/17/14 - 03:33 pm
12
1
@Pond Life

We most certainly do agree. This is a rare moment.

For what it's worth, I think Jesus was a real person. I do not believe in his divinity, but I struggle to understand how anyone, atheist or otherwise, could not learn something from his teachings.

Phelps obviously never bothered to actually read the Gospels.

Pond Life
17682
Points
Pond Life 03/17/14 - 03:36 pm
5
3
Dang it...we agree
Unpublished

Dang it...we agree again....he DOES look like that guy in Raiders of the Lost Ark.

bright idea
1272
Points
bright idea 03/17/14 - 04:55 pm
7
1
Too many

Too many voices here sound just like Phelps. He has zero legitimacy as a Christian pastor but who are we to judge him? That will be taken care of. I do agree that this group were great publicity hounds.

KSL
169854
Points
KSL 03/17/14 - 08:28 pm
2
3
I have no interest in

I have no interest in researching this hateful church. Was he dissed out because he was too radical or not radical enough?

bright idea
1272
Points
bright idea 03/17/14 - 09:41 pm
1
2
I bet he was stealing

money from the church.

Truth Matters
10296
Points
Truth Matters 03/17/14 - 10:53 pm
2
1
"I bet he was stealing.." Now

"I bet he was stealing.."

Now that is a "bright idea."
(Pun intended)

rebellious
22731
Points
rebellious 03/17/14 - 11:30 pm
4
1
No,No, No

Think it, but don't say (type it) is where I am. Although I have strong feelings about this man's destination, based on the fruit he yielded, it is neither my place nor anyone else's to judge. the Bible clearly says "judge not, lest ye be judged". And Lord knows I have things to be judged about.

So I will sit quietly, and keep my piehole shut. Cause I have nothing good to add to the discussion, and seriously want to escape judgement from being judgmental, if that makes sense.

Ands when that moment of reckoning comes for Fred Waldron Phelps Sr., I will not be involved, nor will i be called to account for judging him prematurely.

Darby
34341
Points
Darby 03/18/14 - 12:07 am
4
1
"He is worth less than nothing"

Never thought I'd live long enough to agree with Karradur on anything.

Someone run down and check to see if Hell has frozen over.

Truth Matters
10296
Points
Truth Matters 03/18/14 - 03:39 am
1
1
"Never thought I'd live long

"Never thought I'd live long enough to agree with Karradur on anything.
Someone run down and check to see if Hell has frozen over."

No thanks. I will just take your word for it!
Too funny...

karradur
2946
Points
karradur 03/18/14 - 06:45 am
2
2
@KSL

I implore you, for your own knowledge, to research the Westboro Baptist Church.

You will not like what you find.

KSL
169854
Points
KSL 03/18/14 - 07:13 am
2
2
I already know as much about

I already know as much about it as I care to. I did witness some of them in Aiken.. And they visited with their meaness near my hometown in Georgia. The research I was referring to involved his separation from the church, the reasons, and the direction the church has chosen to go in since.

Sorry you were confused. I promise you, I am a whole lot more intelligent and informed than you seem to think I am.

karradur
2946
Points
karradur 03/18/14 - 07:46 am
2
1
@KSL

I honestly misunderstood what you said in your previous post. Sorry about that.

scooter2762
26458
Points
scooter2762 03/18/14 - 08:11 am
2
1
Wouldn't be ironic if people

Wouldn't be ironic if people protested at his funeral?

CobaltGeorge
208963
Points
CobaltGeorge 03/18/14 - 09:24 am
0
2
Speaking Of Funeral,

I foresee another presidential trip and speech being made.

karradur
2946
Points
karradur 03/18/14 - 10:15 am
1
0
@CobaltGeorge

To Phelps's funeral?

I really doubt it.

bdouglas
6628
Points
bdouglas 03/18/14 - 10:16 am
2
0
Protest his funeral with

Protest his funeral with signs that say "God LOVES Fred". Because it's true. And it would be the ultimate insult to the hatred he spread while he was here.

Darby
34341
Points
Darby 03/18/14 - 04:42 pm
1
0
"Wouldn't (it) be ironic if people protested at his funeral?"

No, it would be funny. (And sad.) Particularly if they carried signs accusing him falsely of all sorts of transgressions and perversions as was his method of operation.

Back to Top
loading...
Search Augusta jobs