Westboro Baptist Church Founder Fred Phelps Is Dead

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TOPELA, KANSAS - SEPTEMBER 12: The Rev. Fred Phelps leads the controversial Westboro Baptist Church. (Photo by Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post)
Photo: Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post

Fred Phelps, the 84-year-old founder of the gay-bashing, funeral-picketing Westboro Baptist Church, died before midnight on Wednesday, according to Kansas television station WIBW. Last week, Phelps's estranged son, Nathan, announced that his father was near death at a Topeka hospice. He also revealed that Phelps had been excommunicated from Westboro after calling "for kinder treatment of fellow church members" following a power struggle that led to the formation of an all-male board of elders. It seems safe to say that he died without asking that the same courtesy be extended to those outside the church.