Nate Phelps, the estranged son of Fred Phelps, has condemned Westboro Baptist Church for planning to picket the funerals of the 26 people killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting last week.
As we recently reported, Margie Phelps made the announcement that the church planned to picket the funerals of the shooting victims. Her sister, Shirley Phelps-Roper, tweeted that Westboro Baptist would “sing praise to God for the glory of his work in executing his judgment.”
Members of the church also released a video named “God Sent the Shooter.” In the video, they claim that the shooting at Sandy Hook was God’s vengeance for gay marriage.
Now 54 years old, Nate Phelps left his father’s church when he was 18. He is an activist for gay rights and is the executive director of the Center for Inquiry Canada, a non-profit, secular organization that advocates for science and reason. He is also on the board of directors of Recovering from Religion, a non-profit organization “dedicated to providing multi-dimensional support and encouragement to individuals leaving their religious affiliations.”
Phelps said in a statement:
“The news that my sister & the rest of my family intend to protest the funerals of those lost in this national tragedy is, to me, a stark reminder that anyone’s interpretation of religious texts serve more as a reflection to the character of those reading it than whatever the author intended in the first place…
“To those considering offering WBC an alternative to protesting these funerals, I say, ‘let them show up’. WBC is running out of money & their leader is a frail old man whose power & reach is tremendously limited to those who provide them an audience… These counter-protests have, many times, prevented the grieving mourners from being impacted by WBC’s childish, attention seeking behavior.”
Nate Phelps is the sixth of Fred Phelps’ thirteen children. Three of his siblings — two sisters and a brother — are also estranged from the family. Phelps has said that he never had a relationship with his father and claimed that the elder man was physically abusive to his wife and children.
Also striking back at Westboro Baptist Church is the hacktivist group Anonymous. The group filed a petition on the White House website to have Westboro Baptist recognized as a hate group. The petition has gained over 118,000 signatures so far.