Westboro Baptist Church Founder Fred Phelps Is 'Near Death,' Son Says

The man who founded Westboro Baptist Church and made “God Hates Fags” a thing is almost dead, according to his son. Fred Phelps has been ex-communicated from Westboro and is “on the edge of death” at a hospital in Kansas, Nathan Phelps wrote in a Facebook post Sunday. Nathan, an LGBT activist who left the church, didn’t say what’s ailing his father.

“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,” Nathan wrote. “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.”

A spokesperson for Westboro confirmed to Bustle that Phelps has “health problems,” but denied that he’s on his deathbed.

“Fred is an old person, and old people have health problems - he has a few,” Steve Drain told Bustle. “I would not characterize him as ‘near death.’”

Phelps founded the Westboro Baptist Church in 1955. It has around 40 members, most of whom are part of the Phelps family, but has consistently attracted national attention both for its outspoken anti-Americanism and a virulent brand of homophobia that makes Vladimir Putin look like Harvey Milk. Classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, WBC’s highlights include screaming “God Hates Fags” at military funerals, thanking God for the Boston Marathon Bombings and, perhaps most disturbingly, indoctrinating its child members with the church’s ideology.

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WBC hasn’t made any public remarks on the report of Phelps’ impending doom. When asked if Phelps had indeed been ex-communicated from the Church, Drain said that “the church of The Lord Jesus Christ does not speak of its internal affairs publicly.”