The 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.