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Fred Phelps, Founder of Westboro Baptist Church, Dead at 84

Supreme Court Hears First Amendment Case On Protests At Military Funerals
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Fred Phelps, who founded the Westboro Baptist Church, died late Wednesday night at a hospice in Topeka, Kansas. He was 84.

Phelps and his church were notorious for picketing outside military funerals with signs saying things like “Thank God for dead soldiers” and for their anti-gay protest signs like “God hates fags.” Their actions led to near universal rejection of the church’s actions, methods and, in particular, Phelps himself.

In August 2013 the church excommunicated Phelps, its founder, apparently for wanting the church’s members to be nicer to each other. The church consisted largely of Phelps’ own family members, many of whom continue their protests to this day, despite many states’ passing laws regarding picketing outside of funerals.

You might recall a few years ago when members of this “church” showed up at TRAC in Pasco to try to protest the death of an American soldier from the Tri-Cities.   They were met with thousands of residents, bikers, and others who didn’t let them come anywhere NEAR the memorial service.

While we are not going to open the proverbial “can of worms” with a thorny theological debate,  the only final comments we are going to offer about this supposed “Baptist” church are some words from the New Testament, paraphrased:

“Many shall come, bearing my name…”   I think you can figure it out.

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