[caption id="attachment_81551" align="aligncenter" width="306"] Dying? The son of Fred Phelps Sr. the founder of the controversial Westboro Baptist Church has said his father is gravely ill
[/caption]Nate Phelps, one of the five sons of Fred Phelps, the founding pastor of Westboro Baptist Church, says that his father is dying in a hospice.
The elder Phelps' church is best known for arranging protests of military funerals where picketers carry signs saying "God Hates Fags" and stating that the United States is in the end times because of its permissive laws concerning homosexuality.
Nate Phelps has been estranged from his father for more than thirty years, and states that Fred Phelps had been voted out of the church in August of 2013. Fred Phelps and his wife, who used to live in an apartment above the church were moved to a rental property, and Phelps has been moved to Midland Hospice House in Topeka, KS.
The elder Phelpss health had been in gradual decline, with attendant care to ensure that he didn't harm himself. He's refused food since Friday and is non-responsive with troubled breathing and chest congestion.
Westboro Baptist will continue on without Fred Phelps, though its impact has perhaps been the opposite of its members intended message. The high profile protests have been cited as a prime cause for states to pass laws permitting gay marriage, as proof that high profile bigotry exists.
The likeliest long term impact of Westboro Baptist Church's activities will come in new laws putting a minimum safe zone between protesters and funerals. In Missouri, where there's been an eight year fight over whether or not this minimum separation is constitutional, the law has finally gone into effect, and similar laws are in legislatures in other states.
Source 1: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/westboro-baptist-church-founder-fred-phelps-sr-on-the-edge-of-death-son-says/
Source 2: http://m.cjonline.com/news/2014-03-16/wbc-spokesman-said-fred-phelps-sr-was-healthy-month-he-entered-hospice