Quoting Quiverfull: Fred Phelps Sr. of Westboro Baptist Dead

Quoting Quiverfull: Fred Phelps Sr. of Westboro Baptist Dead March 20, 2014

According to the website Towleroad the former head of Westboro Baptist Church Fred Phelps Sr. has passed on Wednesday evening. Earlier in the week the media had been reporting that Mr. Phelps was was expected to die at any moment.

Our sincerest condolences to his son Nathan Phelps, long-time NLQ friend. Losing a parent, even an estranged parent, is emotionally painful. Please be kind to yourself and remember the good memories of your father.

Quoting George Takei:

Today, Mr. Phelps may have learned that God, in fact, hates no one. Vicious and hate-filled as he was, may his soul find the kind of peace through death that was so plainly elusive during his life.

Westboro Baptist released a statement upon the death:

The world-wide media has been has been in a frenzy during the last few days, gleefully anticipating the death of Fred Waldron Phelps Sr.  It has been an unprecedented, hypocritical, vitriolic explosion of words…

…So – the death of Fred Phelps’ body, a man who preached a plain faithful doctrine to an ever darkening world, is nothing but a vain, empty, hypocritical hope for you.

It’s like every journalist in the world simultaneously set aside what little journalistic integrity they have, so that they could wait breathlessly for a rumor to publish:  in-fighting, succession plans, and power struggles, oh my!  How shameful!  You’re like a bunch of little girls on the playground waiting for some gossip!

Listen carefully; there are no power struggles in the Westboro Baptist Church, and there is no human intercessor – we serve no man, and no hierarchy, only the Lord Jesus Christ.  No red shoes, no goofy hat, and no white smoke for us; thank you very much.

No board, no separate decision making body, just humble servants of God – qualified according to the scriptures, and chosen by the church – privileged to feed the sheep for a time…

…God forbid, if every little soul at the Westboro Baptist Church were to die at this instant, or to turn from serving the true and living God, it would not change one thing about the judgments of God that await this deeply corrupted nation and world.  That is the pinnacle of your hopes, and by far the most vain.  Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, or the power of God.

Comments open below

QUOTING QUIVERFULL is a regular feature of NLQ – we present the actual words of noted Quiverfull leaders and ask our readers: What do you think? Agree? Disagree? This is the place to state your opinion. Please, let’s keep it respectful – but at the same time, we encourage readers to examine the ideas of Quiverfull and Spiritual Abuse honestly and thoughtfully

NLQ Recommended Reading …

Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment‘ by Janet Heimlich

Quivering Daughters‘ by Hillary McFarland

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement‘ by Kathryn Joyce


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  • “Ye do err …” That’s cute.

  • Nightshade

    George Takei is my hero.

  • brbr2424

    The torch does not need to be passed because Shirley has been running the show for quite some time. Now that the self loathing closeted gay patriarch has died, their reason to be may die with him.

  • Rachel Heston-Davis

    I agree with George Takei. God takes no part in hatred. Phelps may have been mightily surprised by what kind of God awaited him on the other side.

    I wonder what the deal was with him being excommunicated. I’m sure WBC is gleeful to call that news reporting “hypocritical” but really, what WAS the story there? Was he excommunicated or not? That’s kind of an important detail, dontcha think?

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    Apparently Shirley Roper-Phelps has been removed from authority as well. So we may well see this cult dissolve into nothing over the next year. Cults cannot survive without forceful visionary leaders.

  • Nea

    Well, now he knows for sure if there’s a god and if that’s the god he believed in. As a secular, I take a lot of schadenfreude comfort in knowing that he died reaping what he had sown. He hated and reviled people he’d never met, he preached intolerance, and he gleefully preached divided families. And so he has died, hated and reviled by people who have never met him, excommunicated from his own church, divided from his own family, thrown out of his home and in the knowledge that half his family ran from him and the other half rose up against him and his daughter Shirley.

    That, right there, is the best and most proper punishment Phelps could ever have suffered.

  • Nea

    Phelps lived long enough to see Shirley overthrown by his sons and her son. It seems fitting for both of them, really, hoist on their own petard.

  • Nea

    Fred was removed from power and the family home by a cabal consisting of a new guy who’d joined the church, a couple of sons, and one of his grandsons… that last being the son of Shirley Phelps-Roper, not that it spared Shirley from being deposed as well. That’s what I’ve been reading.

  • Saraquill

    So instead of an obituary they provide spite? That’s low, but I shouldn’t be surprised.

  • I believe Phelps faces a judge more fair, honest and compassionate than we can ever be. I can’t be glad for his death but I can hope that with it the church of hate and anger he founded will begin to fade away.

  • Rebecca Horne

    It’s cute, the way they try,

  • Allison the Great

    My thoughts exactly. That family is incredibly angry at everyone and everything. They always have done and always will do things for attention. I can do nothing but pity them. Their anger and spitefulness has and still is poisoning that entire family.

  • Allison the Great

    We can only hope to see this church fade into nothing.

  • Allison the Great

    I’m amazed that they’re so surprised that people are rejoicing at the death of Fred Phelps. I’m not, but I know that many people are. I see it all over Facebook. Has this “church” done anything to earn something other than distain?

    I’ve always had the feeling that they mostly did this shit for attention. They did it to piss people off and the ceased every opportunity to try to get some more press and publicity.

  • Astrin Ymris

    You know, everything I’ve read in the media has been either cooler dispassionate or compassionate (like George Takei’s statement). There have been calls asking people NOT to pay back the Phelps’ family in their own coin. No “vitriolic explosions” anywhere that I’ve seen.

    I wonder if that infuriates the WBC? Their raison d’etre has always been disseminating hatred, and they seemed to feed on the fury they evoked. The fact that their official statement references a vituperative reaction that didn’t occur supports that hypothesis.

    Not hating the Westboro Baptist Church might be the ultimate revenge.

  • Astrin Ymris

    I’m not on Facebook, so I missed that. Still, doesn’t the WBC know the difference between Facebook– and other Discussion fora and social media sites– and the news media?

  • Allison the Great

    I haven’t read anything outside of Facebook about his passing. I just saw that several people were saying that they’re glad he’s dead and someone should disrespect him and picket his funeral.

  • Where’s the line for goofy hats? Do I get extra points if I wear it with red shoes?

  • Perhaps Fred Phelps will learn humility in the next world that he never knew in this one.

  • Trollface McGee

    Yeah, they’re like internet trolls in real life. And with trolls, the less you feed them, the less they keep coming back. I really wish they’d been ignored ages ago, but at least now, maybe people will finally tune out and give them the non-attention they so deserve.

  • gimpi1

    Agreed. Takei’s thoughts were so full of, well, grace. In contrast to those of Mr. Phelps surviving congregation.

  • Nightshade

    I’ve seen some pretty vicious comments on personal FB pages, but surprisingly few.

  • Astrin Ymris

    Local radio stations have bribed them with free airtime in the past to keep them from protesting funerals. Perhaps that should stop. There are so few of them now, and there are funeral protest ordinances that keep them from getting directly in the mourners’ faces.

    On the other hand… giving them free airtime doesn’t compel anyone to listen to the station at that time. I don’t think any advertisers would want their products associated with the WBC, so the time would be a dead loss to the station.

  • Trollface McGee

    It creates controversy – controversy attracts viewers, viewers attract advertisers. That’s why it’s a tactic for groups in political campaigns to buy ad time in some middle-of-nowhere extremist area and wait for the controversy to erupt all over the news.
    Plus it gives ‘normal’ homophobes cover. How many times do we see “outrage” over the WBC on Faux News and other right-wing outlets, when they’re peddling slightly diluted version of the same hate speech around the clock.
    But yes, I hope it stops with Phelps’ death. The best way to stop them is to stop feeding into their attention-seeking.

  • Astrin Ymris

    By chance, I found this thought-provoking contrary opinion today:


    Maybe the counter-protests are de trop now, but they did serve their purpose in the day. And the creativity and humor of the counter-demonstration signs were wonderful!

  • Trollface McGee

    Very good point, and I do love the counter-protest signs, if ever there was a decent demonstration around here, I know I’d steal some ideas 🙂

  • teaisbetterthanthis

    May whatever deity exists have mercy on Fred Phelps; I can’t spare any.

  • teaisbetterthanthis

    SInce WBC protests military and mass-shooting-victim funerals (not just LGBT/supporters), even dyed-in-the-wool tea-party conservatives don’t like them much.

  • Catherine

    I hope that in the end he was at peace, and perhaps even repented of his hatred once faced with his God.

  • Jennifer

    Suzanne, that’s such a kind article! Thank you for not stooping to the WBC’s level of gleeful celebration at someone’s death.

  • Astrin Ymris

    Since the more surreally absurd the signs are the better, I’d love to come up with some counter-protest signs! Weird and out-of-left-field is one of my specialties. ;-D

  • Sharla Hulsey

    I remember reading something somewhere about “folie a famille,” which is when the putative head of a family develops a mental illness, and the whole family becomes sick together. It turns out that the one cure for it is removal of the “head” of the family–whether that be through death or hospitalization or incarceration or whatever. Once that very ill person is out of the picture, the others tend to recover.

    In this case there’s more to it than just one man’s mental illness, though. There is a cycle of abuse that goes back before Fred himself ever laid a hand on his wife and children or shot the neighbor’s dog for no apparent reason. That may well complicate matters substantially. But the public manifestation of the family’s illness may well fade away soon.

    Incidentally, have you seen the picture of the folks counter-protesting WBC’s latest protest? The counter-protestors came with a banner that said, “Sorry for your loss.” A reporter asked a WBC spokesman about it, and his response was, “I don’t even know what they’re trying to say.” Telling, isn’t it.