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Fred Phelps is apparently on his deathbed

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  • Fred Phelps is apparently on his deathbed




    Westboro Baptist Church and its controversial anti-gay picketing will survive beyond the death of founder and Pastor Fred Waldron Phelps Sr., a son who left the church said.

    Phelps, 84, the only pastor the church has had in its almost 60-year history, is in Midland Care Hospice in Topeka, the church confirmed Sunday.

    When Phelps dies, it doesn't mean the end of Westboro Baptist Church.

    The church, its picketing, and its noisy anti-gay stance will survive his death and will continue, said Nate Phelps, a son of Fred Phelps Sr. who broke away from the church 37 years ago.

    "It's impossible to know, but I don't think it's going to disappear," Nate Phelps said.

    Contacted late Sunday night, Nate Phelps said he honestly didn’t know exactly how he felt about his father’s impending death.

    “I’m surprised I have any emotions about it,” Nate Phelps said. “I thought I settled this years ago.

    “There’s some sadness. It’s difficult.”

    [....]

    What will happen with the church after Fred Phelps Sr.'s death "has been a moving target for me over the years," Nate Phelps said. "Originally, my thought was he's the engine that powers it, it's his drive that keeps the message and the effort alive. So I said early on it can't continue to exist."

    But Nate Phelps has watched the church and had "encounters" with Tim Phelps, 50, his younger brother, and Steve Drain, who joined the church and is its spokesman.

    "The rhetoric and the intensity is there in several of them that matches my father or is close to it," Nate Phelps said. "I don't necessarily believe it will die off."

    Crawford said that in the typical pattern, a church led by a charismatic pastor peters out when that charismatic figure is gone because the church was "personality driven."
    Frankly, I've never really known anything about the history of the WBC. Never cared to. But there's a rather interesting article on Laura Drain today as well. I had never heard of her before either, but it's an interesting perspective. Among other things, I learned that Phelps was excommunicated last summer. It would appear that they have a real habit of eating their own there. Sad, really.

    As a Christian, I will pray for Phelps' immortal soul. It's not easy, but I'll do it.




    I have to confess, though, that there's a certain devious side of me that wonders if anyone will picket his funeral.
    It's been ten years since that lonely day I left you
    In the morning rain, smoking gun in hand
    Ten lonely years but how my heart, it still remembers
    Pray for me, momma, I'm a gypsy now

  • #2
    It's rather disappointing that the church will continue on its current path when Sr. passes; I was hoping the excommunication was a sign they wanted to break ties with the past. I feel bad that Fred is in poor health and will be gone soon and can only hope he has some sort of deathbed enlightenment before he meets his own harsh judgment.
    “Any sufficiently advanced capitalism is indistinguishable from rent seeking.” ~ =j

    Comment


    • #3
      To me this organization has always been more of a cult than a church. They had a charismatic leader, they isolated members from others (from the non-crazy part of the family since virtually all members are family or related by marriage), their message is unorthodox in a literal way, they support the idea that non-members are contaminated spiritually, they hope for a cataclysmic reckoning, and hold their own membership to a very high commitment level.

      That's a cult.

      Unless there has been a very strong and well identified succession plan, it's unlikely the group will hold together more than a few years. Sheer motivation by one or a few members is not enough to keep this wheel rolling without intense emotional and message relationships among the flock. Since most are older, they won't necessarily transfer allegiance to a son - particularly if he is less charismatic than the father or has a known history within the group of youthful breaks with their version of orthodoxy.

      Beyond that, Phelps' death is likely to be understood as a sign that all that can done, has been done. The purpose of the group has never been to avert or defer the End but simply to alert a chosen few that the time is near and reconciliation with God better happen NOW for the few who can hear it. They may see that window of opportunity as having closed now.
      "Alexa, slaughter the fatted calf."

      Comment


      • #4
        Died early this morning.

        Interesting bit I didn't know:

        Fred Waldron Phelps was born in Meridian, Miss., on Nov. 13, 1929. He was raised a Methodist and once said he was "happy as a duck" growing up. He was an Eagle Scout, ran track and graduated from high school at age 16.

        Selected to attend the U.S. Military Academy, Phelps never made it to West Point.
        He once said he went to a Methodist revival meeting and felt the calling to preach. Ordained a Baptist minister in 1947, he met his wife after he delivered a sermon in Arizona and they were married in 1952.
        So, oddly enough, it would seem that he was a pretty intelligent guy. What a shame that he wasted his life on hatred.
        It's been ten years since that lonely day I left you
        In the morning rain, smoking gun in hand
        Ten lonely years but how my heart, it still remembers
        Pray for me, momma, I'm a gypsy now

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Gingersnap View Post
          To me this organization has always been more of a cult than a church. They had a charismatic leader, they isolated members from others (from the non-crazy part of the family since virtually all members are family or related by marriage), their message is unorthodox in a literal way, they support the idea that non-members are contaminated spiritually, they hope for a cataclysmic reckoning, and hold their own membership to a very high commitment level.

          That's a cult.

          Unless there has been a very strong and well identified succession plan, it's unlikely the group will hold together more than a few years. Sheer motivation by one or a few members is not enough to keep this wheel rolling without intense emotional and message relationships among the flock. Since most are older, they won't necessarily transfer allegiance to a son - particularly if he is less charismatic than the father or has a known history within the group of youthful breaks with their version of orthodoxy.

          Beyond that, Phelps' death is likely to be understood as a sign that all that can done, has been done. The purpose of the group has never been to avert or defer the End but simply to alert a chosen few that the time is near and reconciliation with God better happen NOW for the few who can hear it. They may see that window of opportunity as having closed now.
          I agree. Too bad he didn't go the Jim Jones route and take the Ropers with him. It's just possible his daughters are nastier than he was.

          I liked this comment, from a real Baptist clergyman: ""Westboro Baptist is to Baptist Christianity what the 'Book of Mormon' Broadway play was to the Latter-Day Saints," said the Rev. Russell Moore, who leads the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberties Commission. "They were kind of a performance art of vitriolic hatred rather than any kind of religious organization."
          "Since the historic ruling, the Lovings have become icons for equality. Mildred released a statement on the 40th anniversary of the ruling in 2007: 'I am proud that Richard’s and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness, and the family that so many people, Black or white, young or old, gay or straight, seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all. That’s what Loving, and loving, are all about.'." - Mildred Loving (Loving v. Virginia)

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Adam View Post
            Died early this morning.

            Interesting bit I didn't know:



            So, oddly enough, it would seem that he was a pretty intelligent guy. What a shame that he wasted his life on hatred.
            Fanaticism, like child abuse (of which he was also reputedly a practitioner), cuts across all demographics, including IQ.
            "Since the historic ruling, the Lovings have become icons for equality. Mildred released a statement on the 40th anniversary of the ruling in 2007: 'I am proud that Richard’s and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness, and the family that so many people, Black or white, young or old, gay or straight, seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all. That’s what Loving, and loving, are all about.'." - Mildred Loving (Loving v. Virginia)

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Celeste Chalfonte View Post
              I agree. Too bad he didn't go the Jim Jones route and take the Ropers with him. It's just possible his daughters are nastier than he was.

              I liked this comment, from a real Baptist clergyman: ""Westboro Baptist is to Baptist Christianity what the 'Book of Mormon' Broadway play was to the Latter-Day Saints," said the Rev. Russell Moore, who leads the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberties Commission. "They were kind of a performance art of vitriolic hatred rather than any kind of religious organization."
              This is an interesting take:

              For years I’ve half-mockingly debated with gay friends whether or not the Westboro Baptist Church was actually some kind of subversive political stunt by the gay rights movement or maybe a wild Borat-like performance art project. Alas, I think the joke here is on everyone, Phelps included.
              "Faith is nothing but a firm assent of the mind : which, if it be regulated, as is our duty, cannot be afforded to anything but upon good reason, and so cannot be opposite to it."
              -John Locke

              "It's all been melded together into one giant, authoritarian, leftist scream."
              -Newman

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Adam View Post
                Died early this morning.

                Interesting bit I didn't know:



                So, oddly enough, it would seem that he was a pretty intelligent guy. What a shame that he wasted his life on hatred.
                And yet he spent his early lawyering years defending a lot of black citizens in big civil rights cases, and was a firm believer in equal rights at a time when that was still an unpopular opinion in Kansas.

                Sent from my A700 using Tapatalk
                “Any sufficiently advanced capitalism is indistinguishable from rent seeking.” ~ =j

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by scott View Post
                  I've never understood this argument. There are fanatics in every faith. Nobody took them seriously.

                  I keep thinking what helped the gay rights movement was more and more gays coming out of the closet and being normal.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Gingersnap View Post
                    To me this organization has always been more of a cult than a church. They had a charismatic leader, they isolated members from others (from the non-crazy part of the family since virtually all members are family or related by marriage), their message is unorthodox in a literal way, they support the idea that non-members are contaminated spiritually, they hope for a cataclysmic reckoning, and hold their own membership to a very high commitment level.

                    That's a cult.

                    Unless there has been a very strong and well identified succession plan, it's unlikely the group will hold together more than a few years. Sheer motivation by one or a few members is not enough to keep this wheel rolling without intense emotional and message relationships among the flock. Since most are older, they won't necessarily transfer allegiance to a son - particularly if he is less charismatic than the father or has a known history within the group of youthful breaks with their version of orthodoxy.

                    Beyond that, Phelps' death is likely to be understood as a sign that all that can done, has been done. The purpose of the group has never been to avert or defer the End but simply to alert a chosen few that the time is near and reconciliation with God better happen NOW for the few who can hear it. They may see that window of opportunity as having closed now.

                    Actually, it's an extortion racket. They make their living by making a nuisance of themselves and then filing first amendment lawsuits.
                    The year's at the spring
                    And day's at the morn;
                    Morning's at seven;
                    The hill-side's dew-pearled;
                    The lark's on the wing;
                    The snail's on the thorn:
                    God's in his heaven—
                    All's right with the world!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Tom Servo View Post
                      And yet he spent his early lawyering years defending a lot of black citizens in big civil rights cases, and was a firm believer in equal rights at a time when that was still an unpopular opinion in Kansas.

                      Sent from my A700 using Tapatalk
                      Did he do that for free?
                      The year's at the spring
                      And day's at the morn;
                      Morning's at seven;
                      The hill-side's dew-pearled;
                      The lark's on the wing;
                      The snail's on the thorn:
                      God's in his heaven—
                      All's right with the world!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Novaheart View Post
                        Did he do that for free?
                        Does it really make a difference?
                        It's been ten years since that lonely day I left you
                        In the morning rain, smoking gun in hand
                        Ten lonely years but how my heart, it still remembers
                        Pray for me, momma, I'm a gypsy now

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Adam View Post
                          Does it really make a difference?
                          I think so. While it's possible that Phelps represented blacks in civil rights cases out of vocation, and also made a living doing it, given what else we know about him it's much more likely that he simply did it for the money, perhaps even setting up the circumstances leading to the lawsuit. That's what the Phelps family does.
                          The year's at the spring
                          And day's at the morn;
                          Morning's at seven;
                          The hill-side's dew-pearled;
                          The lark's on the wing;
                          The snail's on the thorn:
                          God's in his heaven—
                          All's right with the world!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Novaheart View Post
                            I think so. While it's possible that Phelps represented blacks in civil rights cases out of vocation, and also made a living doing it, given what else we know about him it's much more likely that he simply did it for the money, perhaps even setting up the circumstances leading to the lawsuit. That's what the Phelps family does.
                            Meh.

                            I dunno.

                            It's certainly worth asking your sister, but it's been my observation that most of your Clarence Darrow/Perry Mason-type trial lawyers who take on civil rights cases are usually in it not so much for the money, but to make a name for themselves down the road, IOW for "future money," rather than some big payout on what is usually a dog of a case.
                            It's been ten years since that lonely day I left you
                            In the morning rain, smoking gun in hand
                            Ten lonely years but how my heart, it still remembers
                            Pray for me, momma, I'm a gypsy now

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Adam View Post
                              Meh.

                              I dunno.

                              It's certainly worth asking your sister, but it's been my observation that most of your Clarence Darrow/Perry Mason-type trial lawyers who take on civil rights cases are usually in it not so much for the money, but to make a name for themselves down the road, IOW for "future money," rather than some big payout on what is usually a dog of a case.
                              Couldn't tell you. The one case I have had that made the papers not only never put a nickel in my pocket, it was most definitely NOT the sort of case which meant future money in my chosen field of law. The case I had that made the casebooks brought in a small fee, only because the other side took a frivolous appeal and had to pay my fees for the appellate work I did on it. I took them both through a pro bono program and never expected anything but the satisfaction of doing the right thing. I made my living doing something else and the pro bono cases were worked on my sparse free time.
                              "Since the historic ruling, the Lovings have become icons for equality. Mildred released a statement on the 40th anniversary of the ruling in 2007: 'I am proud that Richard’s and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness, and the family that so many people, Black or white, young or old, gay or straight, seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all. That’s what Loving, and loving, are all about.'." - Mildred Loving (Loving v. Virginia)

                              Comment

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