Staff Writerreported to be “on the brink of death”. His estranged son, Nate Phelps, who has been excommunicated from his family ever since he broke his ties with the church 37 years ago, stated on his Facebook page that his father was dying in hospice care in Topeka, Kansas. Westboro Baptist Church spokesman Steve Drain, has released a statement in which he says “I can tell you that Fred Phelps is having some health problems, he’s an old man, and old people get health problems.” Phelps’ son has also told the Topeka-Capital Journal that has father had been voted out of the church last year in August. Drain has declined to comment on this, instead telling the journal that they have no designated leader and that “We don’t discuss our internal church dealings with anybody.” However, Phelps’ son believes that his father being kicked out of the church is what led to his declining health as he moved to a house where he “basically stopped eating and drinking.” The church is well known for infamously picketing soldiers funerals with signs reading “Thank God for dead soldiers,” and “Thank God for 9/11,” believing that the deaths are God’s punishment for America’s tolerance of abortion and homosexuality. Phelps and other members of his church are also known for harassing members of the LGBTQ community and their families. Despite this, gay rights groups in Kansas have asked the members of the gay community to respect the privacy of the pastor and his family. Thomas Witt, the executive director of Equality Kansas, said in a statement “This is our moment as a community to rise above the sorrow, anger, and strife he sowed, and to show the world we are caring and compassionate people who respect the privacy and dignity of all.”
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