Equality House, the resource center for all Planting Peace human rights and bully prevention initiatives, sits across the street from the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas to bring attention to the church's hate.
The group posted a note to its Facebook page last night from Zacharias Phelps-Roper, a member of the Phelps family and a former member of WBC, alleging that church founder Fred Phelps had "a change of heart" about his anti-gay hate which was what got him excommunicated from the church.
It's unclear what prompted the message from Zacharias, which reads:
Fred W. Phelps, my grandfather, came out in support of the Equality House before he was voted out of WBC.
Specifically, on the day that he was excommunicated, he stood outside of the front door of the church (but not within anyone's earshot but a few members of WBC who happened to be in the immediate vicinity)… I say, he spoke words to this effect to the Equality House: "You are good people."
I feel like he had a change of heart after my grandmother nearly passed away, and he felt the pangs of loss … he waited for news of her every day and night while she was in intensive care. I think this triggered a chain reaction whereby he developed great empathy for others… which would explain why he would support Planting Peace's anti-suicide and anti-bullying platforms, and their charities across the world….
I love my grandfather! And I believe people DO change, if they are inspired enough! – Zacharias Phelps-Roper.
Shortly after Phelps death, there were reports that the elder Phelps was excommunicated in a power struggle after calling for kinder treatment of fellow church members.