Fred Phelps | Westboro Baptist Church

Fred Phelps Excommunicated After Internal Power Struggle At Westboro

Fred_phelpsThe news that the patriarch of the notorious Westboro Baptist Church is on his deathbed is something presently well-received by many gays and LGBT advocates and allies. Here to add some schadenfreude to the narrative is Fred Phelps' son Nate Phelps, who has revealed that not only was there a power struggle within the church between Fred and Shirley Phelps-Roper against the church elders, but that Phelps lost AND was excommunicated from the hate-church that he founded. The Shyamalan-esque twist to it all: Phelps was excommunicated for advocating kindness between church members.

The excommunication occurred after the formation of a board of male elders in the church. The board had defeated Shirley Phelps-Roper, the church’s longtime spokeswoman, in a power struggle, and Fred Phelps Sr. called for kinder treatment of fellow church members.

The board then ejected Fred Phelps Sr., who founded the church in the 1950s.

Fred Phelps. Excommunicated. For advocating kindness.

This is irony so dense that by all rights it should have collapsed in upon itself, creating a gravity well that pulled in the entire solar system and leaving nothing behind but a faint aroma of poetic justice.

It should also stand as a warning as to how deep this poison of hate runs through the Westboro clan. If the founder himself was ousted for asking their own numbers to be nicer to each other, one wonders what the elders now in charge will decide to do with the church.

On Sunday, church spokesman Steve Drain refused to talk about the excommunication of Fred Phelps Sr.

"We don't discuss our internal church dealings with anybody," he said.

...Among the all-male board of elders are Drain, Timothy Phelps, Jonathan Phelps, Samuel Phelps-Roper, Charles Hockenbarger and Fred Phelps Jr.

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  1. Somehow, I am having a hard time believing he was excommunicated ONLY for the kindness angle. There's other things I've taken into consideration. Like the last slap in the face to the state.

    If Freddie was sick last year, then it would seem plausible that medical expenses could rise. Since the church enjoys non-profit status, no one at the church would want to - in any way - be connected to Freddie, lest state recoupment were to settle in after he croaks.

    State Recoupment is that dirty little secret that only the savvy business people of the world know about. And, in their own non-profit way of doing things, it's a safe bet that Freddie knew his family could be subjected to a recoupment of his publicly paid medical bills if the state could connect him somehow to anyone, or anything, or any such "church" if you can call it that.

    Recoupment is a big deal; I've seen couples actually divorce over the prospects of it. Without a legal connection to someone else, or something else, there is nothing to recoup.

    Do I think this is a logical explanation? Oh yeah, many times over. It very well may be that last slap in the face to the state, and to everyone he hated while he was here.

    Picketing soldier's funerals and even fire fighters. He's deserving of death. Long and suffering death.

    Posted by: Mark | Mar 18, 2014 7:00:56 PM


  2. Satan excumminicated from Hell. Nice!

    Posted by: elwoodl | Mar 18, 2014 7:12:13 PM


  3. If you didn't know, you would think that there are in fact many members in such a sect. There are just the family members and not all of them. But they were very useful amalgamating everybody against their views, therefore favoring the LGBT by fear of association with them or something similar.

    Posted by: SAYTHETRUTH | Mar 18, 2014 7:12:54 PM


  4. I cannot find an iota of interest in this horse$h1t.

    Yesterday's news; yesterday's men.

    Let the dead bury the dead.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Mar 18, 2014 7:13:55 PM


  5. Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)

    533. WAR AND HIS BRIDE
    Perry 367 (Babrius 70)

    The gods were getting married. One after another, they all got hitched, until finally it was time for War to draw his lot, the last of the bachelors.

    Hubris, or Reckless Pride, became his wife, since she was the only one left without a husband.

    They say War loved Hubris with such abandon that he still follows her everywhere she goes.

    So do not ever allow Hubris to come upon the nations or cities of mankind, smiling fondly at the crowds, because War will be coming right behind her.

    Note: Hubris is a Greek word meaning reckless pride or insolence; as a feminine noun, hubris is, allegorically, a woman.

    Posted by: I'm layla miller i know stuff | Mar 18, 2014 7:44:04 PM


  6. Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)
    75. THE SNAKE AND THE FARMER
    Perry 51 (Chambry 81 *)

    There was a snake who used to lurk around the front door of a farmer's house. One day the snake struck the man's son, biting him on the foot. The boy died on the spot.
    The boy's parents were filled with immense sorrow and the grief-stricken father seized his axe and tried to kill the malevolent snake.

    When the snake fled his pursuer, the man hurried after him, raising his weapon, determined to strike, but as the farmer was about to deal the snake a deadly blow, he missed and managed only to cut off the tip of his tail.

    The man was terrified at the thought that he might have killed the snake, so he took cakes and water along with honey and salt and called to the snake, wanting to make peace with him.

    The snake, however, only hissed softly at the farmer from where he had hidden himself in the rocks and said:

    'Man, do not trouble yourself any longer:
    there can be no possible friendship between us any more.

    When I look upon my tail, I am in pain.
    The same is true for you: whenever you look again upon the grave of your son, you will not be able to live in peace with me.'

    The fable shows that no one can put aside thoughts of hatred or revenge so long as he sees a reminder of the pain that he suffered.


    Posted by: I'm layla miller i know stuff | Mar 18, 2014 7:48:16 PM


  7. Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)
    75. THE SNAKE AND THE FARMER
    Perry 51 (Chambry 81 *)

    There was a snake who used to lurk around the front door of a farmer's house. One day the snake struck the man's son, biting him on the foot. The boy died on the spot.
    The boy's parents were filled with immense sorrow and the grief-stricken father seized his axe and tried to kill the malevolent snake.

    When the snake fled his pursuer, the man hurried after him, raising his weapon, determined to strike, but as the farmer was about to deal the snake a deadly blow, he missed and managed only to cut off the tip of his tail.

    The man was terrified at the thought that he might have killed the snake, so he took cakes and water along with honey and salt and called to the snake, wanting to make peace with him.

    The snake, however, only hissed softly at the farmer from where he had hidden himself in the rocks and said:

    'Man, do not trouble yourself any longer:
    there can be no possible friendship between us any more.

    When I look upon my tail, I am in pain.
    The same is true for you: whenever you look again upon the grave of your son, you will not be able to live in peace with me.'

    The fable shows that no one can put aside thoughts of hatred or revenge so long as he sees a reminder of the pain that he suffered.


    Posted by: I'm layla miller i know stuff | Mar 18, 2014 7:48:20 PM


  8. Religious belief is a mental illness.

    There is no 'god'.

    Posted by: MaryM | Mar 18, 2014 7:55:34 PM


  9. Consider another possibility. The church is almost entirely funded with government money. All major members work for the state. And they create offensive pickets in order to solicit laws to stop them. The family is made up of lawyers who then sue on behalf of the "civil rights" of the church against the law that created by their own offensive behavior. Under various civil rights legislation the "lawyers," who are the people doing the picketing, then get paid by the federal government as "civil rights" advocates.

    With a history of milking the system could the excommunication be an excuse to say to the county facility where Phelps is at, that he is now poverty stricken--I would bet all property is in the church name--and thus another means of getting the government to pay their costs.

    The Mormon fundamentalists do similar scams where they makes sure that their cult is funded via various welfare benefits and federal programs to finance towns (they create their own school districts, towns, airpots, etc., for their own use but by claiming they are town get federal and state subsidies.)

    Posted by: James Peron | Mar 18, 2014 7:55:42 PM


  10. Facing Shame by Marilyn Mason (amazon.com)

    The Rough-N-Tough Family Archetype

    The mask of toughness is worn firmly in this family. Often the roles are highly stereotypic gender roses, with the macho male and the culturally stereotyped passive female. The rhetoric of the family is the language of toughness – “Get your butt out of that chair and let your mother sit down.”

    The family script is “life is tough; we’ll survive it.” Family members wearing this mask blame each other as well as everyone outside the family; the rules are those of blame (“his fault” her fault but never “my fault”)

    The rules are clear: It is not all right to be sad, lonely, needing, or tender is this family. This is the mask of survival; the coping has been manifest in putting up multiple fences in order to push back the pain of the shame.

    The communication style is defended in a shield armor of harshness and obscenity. The pain is often buried so deep that family members begin to believe that such behavior is normal.

    At the end of an intense group therapy session in which several people show vulnerability, one young man form a halfway house for felons asked his friend, “hey man, do you thing we could talk like this when we’re with the guys back at the house?’

    Posted by: I'm layla miller i know stuff | Mar 18, 2014 8:13:10 PM


  11. The gravity well paragraph gave me a really good laugh. Thank you for that. Hopefully this "church" also collapses in on itself.

    Posted by: SpaceCadet | Mar 18, 2014 8:14:17 PM


  12. The challenge is immense. Personal growth in these families has been stunted. Like blades of grass shooting up in growth, they have been mowed down time after time, unable to attain healthy growth due to the constant “mowing” of personal assaults.

    Shame is ping-ponged back and forth – “I’ll shame you first so you can’t shame me.”

    This is a vital part of their big-little relationship. It escalates, often erupting in abusive interaction. We often model limit-setting with these families, demonstrating that our rules will be followed – no abuse is allowed in our space. They can swing plush bats, they can beat on pillows, and express all their feelings – but they cannot abuse.

    Many of these family members are fearful of their sexuality; they are so frightened of their own feelings of vulnerability and softness or gentleness that they confuse tenderness in a man with homosexuality. They joke about sexuality, make racial and ethnic slurs and downgrade women. They fear the softness in themselves and suspect it in others.

    Often women in these families are dependent on their “men” and have been victimized in their early years. The women often seem to be at either end of a continuum – wearing either a mask of hardness or one of meekness (“he’s in charge here”). They allow themselves to the objects of jokes and sexism and often do not respect women, since they do not respect the woman in themselves.

    Posted by: I'm layla miller i know stuff | Mar 18, 2014 8:15:47 PM


  13. That well of hate is not confined just to the Phelps clan, I'm afraid.

    Posted by: chasmader | Mar 18, 2014 8:44:36 PM


  14. Is he dead yet?

    Posted by: NotSafeForWork | Mar 18, 2014 8:48:13 PM


  15. Remember just a year ago when MaryM's whole deal was that she was a devout Christian trying to empathize with LGBT people and evolve to respect them? Somehow this persona morphed into an atheist. If only Rick could keep the back stories of many aliases consistent.

    Posted by: Tyler | Mar 18, 2014 8:52:39 PM


  16. So from the looks of it, one of the elders that bounced Shirley from power in the church was her oldest, ILLEGITIMATE son, the one whose biological father Mrs. Phelps-Roper has steadfastly refused to identify.

    I'm betting that Shirley is wishing she'd kept her legs closed right about now.

    Posted by: Jerry | Mar 18, 2014 8:57:24 PM


  17. This sick, sad soul has caused so much suffering and pain, it's only natural to be tempted to gloat and cheer at his downfall, however we should be cautious and not allow ourselves to be sullied by hatred as he allowed himself to be. As tough as it is, we should wish this tormented waste of a life the comfort and solace that he sought to keep from us and others. Our humanity, forgiveness and compassion will be our victory.

    Posted by: Jon | Mar 18, 2014 9:45:49 PM


  18. PLEASE STOP WRITING ABOUT THESE PEOPLE.

    Posted by: JeffNYC | Mar 18, 2014 10:32:19 PM


  19. @Jerry : wouldn't it be ironic if the unidentified person were Fred?

    Posted by: Bill | Mar 18, 2014 11:52:52 PM


  20. Maybe they'll all do a Jonestown and do the world a favor.

    Posted by: Jack M | Mar 19, 2014 8:19:03 AM


  21. WAIT!.. Wait a minute!
    "Among the all-male board of elders are Drain, Timothy Phelps, Jonathan Phelps,..."

    DRAIN? Drain, as in a drain on society, is actually a board member... heeeeeeeeeee!

    No seriously, that is too befitting.

    Posted by: MarcusIT | Mar 19, 2014 11:14:20 AM


  22. I'm not we can believe any of this. If there was a power struggle, it was over money.

    Posted by: anon | Mar 19, 2014 1:45:48 PM


  23. That's an unholy number of Phelpses on that board, huh? What's the collective noun for that? Something icky, I'll bet. A cesspit of Phelpses? A vituperation of Phelpses?

    Posted by: Leroy Laflamme | Mar 19, 2014 2:55:37 PM


  24. ...Ding Dong the bastard's dead...and Shirley is out....this "ex-communication"clearly centered around money that was stolen from the U.S. Government based on a "church-state" exemption. We all get to pay for their horrid existence...These people are inhuman and money grubbing grifters...they are NOT Christians nor are they even related to God in any way. May the last of them fade away into the filthy miasma they have created. They are trash, pure and simple...and this guy Drain is a real devil in disguise. He bears watching..

    Posted by: thom | Mar 20, 2014 1:22:06 PM


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