Fred Phelps — the 84-year-old leader of Westboro Baptist Church’s infamous pickets of soldiers’ funerals and “God Hates F**s” placards — is reportedly at death’s door.
As you might imagine, after the news began percolating Sunday, many have been reacting with a certain degree of pleasure:
Phelps’ estranged son Nathan, who left the church long ago and is now an atheist, had this to say on his Facebook page:
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 good-byes.
But one writer posted a short piece Sunday for The American Conservative on the subject that is worth taking a look at. Here’s what Rod Dreher, author of “The Miserable End Of The Miserable Fred Phelps,” had to say on the subject:
And so it ends. Can you imagine having come to the end of your life, very nearly to the moment in which you will meet your God and be reckoned with, and all you have to show for it is … that? I’ve always thought the Westboro Baptist Church people were despicable, but there is something about the thought of that old man lying on his death bed, forsaken, the victim of his own sins, that makes me pity him. One tear of repentance from the vicious old preacher will open the floodgates of the divine mercy he spent his life trying to deny to others. I pray for that tear.
And I hope no one pickets his funeral, giving to his family the mercy they do not deserve.
It should be noted that a Westboro spokesman confirmed to Newser that Phelps is in hospice care but that “the source that says he’s near death is not well informed.”
So…what do you say? How does the news strike you that Phelps is reportedly near death? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.