TOPEKA, Kans. – With Nathan Phelps’s recent announcement that his father Fred Phelps, founder of the Westboro Baptist Church, was “at the edge of death,” the controversial church today began planning to picket the funeral of their spiritual leader of over 50 years.
“While we are naturally filled with sorrow at Fred’s imminent passing, we’re also getting that tingly feeling we get when a good picket’s just around the corner,” said church spokesman Steve Drain. “I mean it’s a funeral. How can we resist?”
While some were surprised to learn that the church, famous for picketing the funerals of dead American soldiers while carrying signs reading “God Hates Fags,” would consider setting up shop at the death of one of their own, The Topeka Capital-Journal recently reported that Fred Phelps had been excommunicated from his own church for “advocating a kinder approach between church members” after a group of male church elders defeated longtime church spokeswoman Shirley Phelps-Roper in an internal power struggle.
“Fred went a little soft in his old age,” confirmed Drain off the record. “We tried to let it slide, but when he suggested we shouldn’t be total dicks to members of our own church, we knew it was time for him to go.
“Being dicks to people is pretty much what we’re about,” he added.
Nathan Phelps expressed deep regret that the church, which he voluntarily left 37 years ago, had turned on his father. “Terribly ironic that his devotion to his god ends this way,” he said. “Destroyed by the monster he made.”
One obstacle the church will need to overcome is the likelihood that there will not be an official funeral for Phelps, since the Westboro Baptist Church does not believe in having funerals. So instead, church elders are contemplating burning a life-sized cardboard cutout of Phelps in effigy, and then stepping back to picket the flames.