After reading that Phelps and his hateful Westboro Baptist followers protested more soldiers funerals with "god hates fags" signs, I decided to research this man a bit... I found his biography to be fascinating--in a horrifying, deranged sort-of way...
Fred Phelps is 76 years old. He grew up Methodist. His mother died when she was 28 (he was 5) from throat cancer. His aunt (a surrogate mother after his mother died) was killed in a motorcycle accident. In high school, "by Fred's own admission, he never dated, possessing no interest in members of the opposite sex".
Phelps was accepted to West Point, but experienced his 'religious conversion' before his first class and dropped out. This conversion happened at a revival at East End Methodist Church in Meridian, Mississippi. He attended Bob Jones University, but was asked to leave because the administration was scared of him and he wouldn't agree to psychiatric help. He ended up at John Muir College in Pasadena where he received a two-year degree in theology. "Phelps received national attention for the first time when he was featured in an article in Time Magazine for his street-ministry efforts to outlaw kissing on campuses in the Pasadena city limits. Phelps also sought to outlaw profanity, which would become a staple of his sermons in later years."
He was ordained by a Baptist minister (though I can't find anything about him attending Seminary school) and married the family nanny. His first position at the Eastside Baptist Church in Topeka was short lived --"congregants would recall years later, he was a "reverend from Hell," encouraging his congregants to beat their wives and children; he was once forced to bail one of his parishioners out of jail after counseling the man to punch his wife in the face until she became "subjugated." Parishioners of Eastside recall one of Phelps' sermons in particular:
A good left hook makes for a right fine wife. Brethren, they can lock us up, but we'll still do what the Bible tells us to do. Either our wives are going to obey, or we're going to beat them!
Most congregants recall an incident one Sunday morning when Phelps' infant son, Mark, began to cry during his sermon; Phelps responded by walking down from the pulpit, punching the baby in the face, and then returning to continue the sermon, to the horror of his congregants. Phelps' dismissal from the church came when a female congregant admitted that she had committed adultery. The next Sunday, Phelps' sermon revolved around the woman, repeatedly referring to her as a whore and encouraging the congregation to draw up an official "form" declaring her to be damned to Hell and excommunicated from the church. In response, the congregants voted to kick Phelps out of the church."
This makes no sense what-so-ever, but his fellow founders in the Westboro Baptist Church were KKK members, yet Phelps worked as an attorney defending the civil rights of African Americans being discriminated against in Kansas. During that time it is said that he drug and food binged and sent his children door to door selling stolen candy to make money for the family. He was eventually disbarred (signed by every judge in Kansas) for ethical violations.
Two of Phelps' sons, Mark and Nate (he has 13 children), "claim that the church is actually a carefully planned out cult that allows Phelps to see himself as a demigod, wielding absolute control over the lives of his family and congregants, essentially turning them into slaves that he can use for the sole purpose of gratifying his every whim and acting as the structure for his delusion that he is the only righteous man on Earth. In 1995, Mark Phelps wrote a letter to the people of Topeka to this effect; it was run in the Capital Journal newspaper."
And, yes, I saved the best for last... HE'S A DEMOCRAT WHO IS AGAINST THE WAR IN IARQ!!!
"Phelps mourned the fall of Hussein's regime and has consistently criticized the invasion of Iraq, citing, "IRAQ=USA=SODOM" and keeping a toll on his webpage celebrating the death of every American soldier killed and pronouncing loyalty to Iraq."
And, like Oliver Stone, he is Pro-Castro:
"Phelps has also repeatedly championed Fidel Castro for Castro's stance against homosexuality; in 1998 Harper's magazine published a letter Phelps sent to Castro in which he praised Castro and lambasted the US."
THE WESTOBORO COMPOUND WAS THE HOST FOR AL GORE FUNDRAISERS AND ONE OF PHELPS' SONS WAS A CAMPAIGN MANAGER for Mr. Gore's Senate race. HERE are pictures of Gore and Phelps. Phelps was even a DELGATE for Gore at the Democratic National Convention. Phelps and his wife were invited to and attended Clinton's inaugural ball in D.C. He hates George W. Bush. I add this because I know that everyone on the left that sees a 'religious' gay-bashing zealot automatically assumes that he's a republican. Well, they would be wrong -this wife beating, pill popping, gay-bashing, military hating lunatic is a full-fledged lib. (source1, source2, source3, source4)
...perhaps he'll do us all a favor and die.