Won’t Be Missed


Reader BG sent in this resemblance between Fred Phelps, founder of the Westboro Baptist Church, and Henry Kane from Poltergeist. Fred is knocking on heaven’s door, but not too soon for him to be excommunicated from his church for not hating hard enough.

74 replies
  1. 1
    Splitting Image says:

    Fred is knocking on heaven’s door

    He wishes.

    Down the hatch.

  2. 2
    Baud says:

    Atheists all across the nation are conflicted.

  3. 3
    Betty Cracker says:

    Good riddance to bad rubbish.

  4. 4
    Ben Cisco says:

    Xin loi, mofo.

  5. 5
    Chyron HR says:

    Phelps died because God hates gays. You know it to be true.

  6. 6
    c u n d gulag says:

    They better hide his tombstone.

    Either that, or as a convenience, leave a full toilet paper dispenser by his grave.

  7. 7
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    Vaya con Diablo.

  8. 8
    elmo says:

    We don’t know that the excommunication was for being insufficiently hateful, and the link certainly doesn’t show that. Could have been for anything. Financial improprieties. Caught with an underage boy. Or girl. Or goat. Gave money to Greenpeace AND Illinois Nazis.

    It would be irresponsible not to speculate.

  9. 9
    JPL says:

    Is there proof that he is ill or is this just like looking for a lost plane?

    The President is going to speak about Ukraine at 10:45

  10. 10
    El Caganer says:

    A truly dreadful human being.

  11. 11
    dmsilev says:

    He and his spawn showed up here a few years ago to protest something (something about us unleashing Barack Obama on an unsuspecting world. Yes, seriously). And he was greeted by, well let me let the student paper describe it:

    Across the street, the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity brothers lined their porch in bathrobes, awaiting the arrival of the protesters. When they appeared, the brothers stripped off their robes and began dancing to Diana Ross & The Supremes’ “I’m Coming Out,” Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer,” and the Weather Girls’ “It’s Raining Men.” The “Tiny Dancer” lyrics “Jesus freaks/out in the streets” elicited a loud cheer from the crowd on the other side of the street.

  12. 12
    MikeJ says:

    Topeka paper has more:

    After Phelps was voted out of Westboro Baptist Church this past summer, he was moved out of the church and into a house, where he was watched to ensure he wouldn’t harm himself, a son estranged from the church said Sunday.

    Phelps eventually stopped eating and drinking, and on Sunday, he was near death, son Nate Phelps said in a Facebook posting. The information also is based on an email sent by Nate Phelps to a Topeka Capital-Journal reporter.


    And still nobody’s really clear on why he was kicked out.

  13. 13
    Debbie says:

    Couldn’t happen to a more deserving guy.

  14. 14
    Chris says:

    I have always considered Fred Phelps and his church an irrelevance.

    They’re the “far right” group that everyone can get together and agree to hate, and also who don’t matter a lick. “Mainstream” homophobic churches from Southern Baptist to Roman Catholic have harmed far, far, far more people than these professional trolls ever will, and we still consider them Respectable. The Westboro Baptist Church is to American religion what the Aryan Nations are to American politics – freaks and outcasts whose contributions to harming society are nothing compared to what their Very Serious, Moderate, “Center” Right brethren have done and continue to do.

    Having said that… “a dead asshole is still an asshole.” “He’ll soon be in a better place, and so will all of us.” “I will not attend the funeral, but I will send some flowers and a note saying that I approve of it.”

  15. 15
    Baud says:

    He really knew how to bring people together.

  16. 16
    MikeJ says:


    They’re the “far right” group that everyone can get together and agree to hate,

    Last time they were here I remember the local media calling them an anti-war group, you know, because they hate soldiers.

  17. 17
    kindness says:

    Phelps excommunicated?!? wtf is up with that? Won’t matter much. Karma happens. Karma matters. Sounds like Fred is about to be confronted with a heaping helping of the Karma he incurred in this life as he shed his mortal coil and travels to the next phase.

  18. 18
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @MikeJ: Holy Missing-the-point, Batman!

  19. 19
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:


    And still nobody’s really clear on why he was kicked out.

    One less person to share in the loot?

  20. 20
    Ash Can says:

    Someone here or elsewhere was speculating that Phelps could have been excommunicated because then the Westboro Baptist Church wouldn’t be liable for his medical bills. That sounds like a good theory, but I don’t think anyone outside of the WBC actually knows why he was excommunicated, and the WBC hasn’t said anything about it.

    ETA @Higgs Boson’s Mate: That sounds plausible too.

  21. 21
    Schlemizel says:


    I’d bet on ‘under aged boy’ anyone that is that wrapped around the axle about where 2 consenting men put their manhood has some real suppressed issues he is fighting.

  22. 22
    Hob says:

    The Poltergeist resemblance is particularly ironic if you know that Rev. Kane was played by Julian Beck the avant-garde playwright, poet, anarchist, and polyamorous bisexual.

  23. 23
    Elizabelle says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:

    Vaya con Diablo.

    You made me laugh.

  24. 24
    Scott S. says:

    @MikeJ: I do hope Fred and his family really do realize how much they’ve done to make homophobia unacceptable for millions of people.

  25. 25
    CaseyL says:

    It was my understanding that Phelps’ “church” consisted of himself and his family. If he was kicked out of it, that means the family is splintering (which it definitely was, as at least one of his kids had left and denounced him) – which makes his deep depression more understandable.

    Once he’s good and dead, it’ll be interesting to see what happens to the survivors. Grifting-by-outrage is all they know, SFAIK.

  26. 26
    Fuzzy says:

    “Dead as a Doornail” and less relevant. There should be a protest at his funeral that he doesn’t deserve one.

  27. 27
    MomSense says:

    I never understood their “reasoning” that soldiers die in combat because god hates gays? It always seemed like 1+1=liver and onions. Makes zero sense.

  28. 28
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:

    That was my thinking, too. Or making sure that no one could sue his estate after he dies because, hey, he was no longer a church member, so now you can’t sue!

    There are also some family issues, with other family members leaving the church, so that may have something to do with it as well, especially if said family members would have a claim on a piece of the church.

  29. 29
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:


    Once he’s good and dead…

    He’s certainly dead. Buried at a crossroads with a stake driven through his heart would be good.

  30. 30
    EconWatcher says:

    Would be kind of ironic for Phelps if it turns out God is a tone and buff gay man with a fabulous sense of style. Maybe there was just a miscommunication: It was actually, “God hates flab….”

  31. 31
    Schlemizel says:

    Trying to understand some peoples reasoning is like trying to smell the color 9.

  32. 32
  33. 33
    Schlemizel says:


    god hates figs!
    Matthew 21:18

    18 Early in the morning, as Jesus was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. 19 Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered.

  34. 34
    Chris says:


    Oh, they love that. Every time they find a “far right” group they don’t like, they try to associate it with the left in order to tar the entire left by association. See also Jonah Goldberg with fascism. Fits the binary worldview of “with us or against us” to a tee.

    @Scott S.:

    Well, you could also argue the flip side of that – that they’ve made it easier for others to be homophobic by telling themselves “hey, it’s not like I’m thanking God for dead soldiers. I’m not one of those crazies, you know.” Much the same way white people with racial anxieties today delude themselves that you can’t be a racist unless you’re burning crosses, lynching people, and wearing white robes and a dunce hat.

  35. 35
    Baud says:


    That reminds me of those Snickers commercials where the person’s hungry and acts like some Hollywood jerk.

  36. 36
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Trying to understand some peoples reasoning is like trying to smell the color 9.

    Hey! Don’t knock synæsthesia until you’ve tried it!

  37. 37
    WereBear says:

    Back when DailyKos was more sane, there was a diary with some published transcripts of Daily Life with Fred from a lawsuit between the kids who stayed and the kids who fled.

    Sounded very Moonie: barely fed, dragged around town selling candy, beaten at the slightest provocation, little in the way of furniture, schedules, or even normal speech. And this was before Fred hit upon the crazy-religion/sue-them-for-objecting method of supporting himself.

    I’ll never forget the college classmate who interned at a hospice. He once discussed how the people who were surrounded by family and friends went very peacefully and made him believe in an afterlife.

    The ones who had been mean and cruel and treated their family poorly… that was an entirely different story.

  38. 38
    scav says:

    Speaking of Crazy Old Men screaming at things, I’ll bookend this with twittering Australian Murdoch ranting about, telling the Irish what to do in the name of Irish Religious Freedomzzzzz as exemplified in NYC formerly beer-sponsored parades.

  39. 39
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Ash Can: It’s a good theory because it’s a way of severing any legal claims on WBC property, and Medicare comes after your estate when you die to cover the costs of your end of life care.

    Of course, knowing the WBC crowd, Fred might have taken to listening to show tunes and that could be doctrinal grounds for excommunication, too.

  40. 40
    Xantar says:

    Any chance there will be people picketing Phelps’ funeral waving signs that say, “God loves you”?

  41. 41
    boatboy_srq says:

    @CaseyL: Dead seems to be coming along. Good will take some doing.

  42. 42
    Roger Moore says:

    Fred is knocking on heaven’s door

    And St. Peter is singing “I hear you knocking, but you can’t come in”.

  43. 43
    Gravenstone says:

    @Schlemizel: There was no more reasoning behind what the WBC does than applied grift. Their whole shtick is to roll into town, loudly trying to stir up attention and anger. Then when someone takes a poke at a “church” member, or otherwise threatens them, they sue the individual, anyone remotely associated with them, and the municipality where it occurred. Then they live off the inevitable settlements before moving onto the next victim.

    Old man Phelps may have been a legitimate homophobe and racist, but his “church” long ago evolved into an organized con job.

  44. 44

    Never assume people can’t grift and believe at the same time. Selfish people who believe find ways to squeeze that belief for cash, and con artists time and again fall for their own hype.

  45. 45
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @EconWatcher: “In my father’s house, there are many ab machines…”

  46. 46

    You’ve already seen it all over your facepage, but George Takei says it with class:

    I take no solace or joy in this man’s passing. We will not dance upon his grave, nor stand vigil at his funeral holding “God Hates Freds” signs, tempting as it may be.

    He was a tormented soul, who tormented so many. Hate never wins out in the end. It instead goes always to its lonely, dusty end.

  47. 47
    gbear says:

    @Roger Moore:

    “You say you love me, but you can’t come in.”

    May he be welcomed to the afterlife by Little Richard. SHUT UP!

  48. 48
    gbear says:

    @gbear: Oops. Little Richard is thankfully still alive.

  49. 49
    WereBear says:

    I don’t think they will get another generation out of this “church.” It takes a helluva lot of energy and dedication to be that crazy. Without the old man making everyone miserable, do they have what it takes to stay that crazy, or will they opt for something so much better?

  50. 50
    Wally Ballou says:

    @Chris: This. Overton window, etc.

  51. 51
    Mandalay says:


    I never understood their “reasoning” that soldiers die in combat because god hates gays? It always seemed like 1+1=liver and onions. Makes zero sense.

    It makes a lot of sense if you are seeking attention.

  52. 52
    chrome agnomen says:

    breithart will have company.

  53. 53
    brettvk says:

    @WereBear: His daughter Shirley has been the public face of WBC for some time now, and I think she’s probably taken over the church and the grift — if Fred was deposed I’ll bet she was the instigator and the benefactor. I would lovelovelove to know the backstory here. There’s a great filmscript waiting to be written.

  54. 54
    chopper says:


    i always thought that was a prick move. it’s a fucking tree, dude, cut it a fucking break.

  55. 55
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Schlemizel: Yeah, he was kind of a tool.

  56. 56
    brettvk says:

    @brettvk: I guess we’ll have to see if a woman can maintain the homophobia at the right rolling boil; somehow females hating fags just doesn’t have the same resonance. And women aren’t really a good match for christianist leadership anyway. It just doesn’t feel right against the bedrock patriarchy of Bronze Age religion. Shirley and the WBC may retreat from the stage, or discover a new wrinkle to the grift, or maybe undergo a Refomation of some sort.

  57. 57
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @chopper: Well, it’s obviously a metaphor about people – but still one in which he’s acting like a prick.

  58. 58
    Woodrowfan says:

    @chopper: his blood sugar was low…

  59. 59
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @chrome agnomen: Breitbart and Phelps can talk about shit with Reagan, Falwell and Khomeini.

    And keep a place warm for Dick Cheney, should we manage to find and destroy all the horcruxes.

  60. 60
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Cris (without an H): George Takei is a wise and thoughtful man.

  61. 61
    satby says:

    @brettvk: Shirley has absorbed the most vile aspects of her father’s “teachings” and I’ve seen neo-Bircher neighbors stunned by the vitriol she spews.So she can maintain the homophobic cover for the con game just fine.

  62. 62
    Snarki, child of Loki says:

    He got kicked out for messing with the little boys?

    It would be irresponsible not to speculate.

  63. 63
    Woodrowfan says:

    why assume he was kicked out for a logical reason?

  64. 64
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: I think you mean MEDICAID, which is means tested and does not allow a person to keep more than a few thousand (one or two thousand) in savings.

  65. 65
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @PurpleGirl: Yup, you’re right. I know that my family’s attorney advised my mother to put the house in her name, alone, as my father’s end approached. Wise move.

  66. 66
    EriC says:

    I see a greater resemblance to Bat Boy, as reported by the World Weekly News.


  67. 67
    PurpleGirl says:

    Early in his life, Phelps was involved with Civil Rights and supported voting rights, etc. What happened that he became so weird no one was able to figure out. I think we should let him just go, however he goes and not make a fuss about a funeral and such. Show is family and followers how little importance he had at the end.

  68. 68
    brendancalling says:

    I hope that wherever Fred ends up, gay sex is mandatory. And, like the guy in “Green Eggs and Ham”, he finds out he likes it.

    I will have gay sex in this car/I will have gay sex at this bar…

  69. 69
    opiejeanne says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: what smells purple?

  70. 70
    opiejeanne says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: I thought it was Medicaid that could come after your estate, not Medicare.

    Never mind, I see that someone got there before me.

  71. 71
    another Holocene human says:

    @PurpleGirl: There’s a theory that Phelps was raped during a brief stint in the military. Certainly his mother believed something bad had happened to him there. Would explain his violent rage against men in uniform.

  72. 72
    Jebediah, RBG says:

    @another Holocene human:

    There’s a theory that Phelps was raped during a brief stint in the military.

    And crusading against sexual assault just wouldn’t make any sense at all. (Of course, grifty-wise, it probably wouldn’t.)

  73. 73
    UYRICH says:

    @Betty Cracker: How true!

  74. 74
    Interrobang says:

    I have an idea what this is about. It’s to cut Phelps off from the church’s (copious) assets so that the atheist kid can’t contest the will and drag out all the allegations of child abuse in discovery and wind up walking away with a huge settlement. Not sure it’d work, and the atheist kid still might be able to do it anyway, but I bet that’s it. I bet a good civil discovery could drag out all kinds of evil shit the Phelps gang doesn’t want seen.

    Phelps himself is/was a lawyer; he’d know all this, I’m sure.

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