Nate Phelps: What My Family Does Is ‘Morally Bankrupt’

I have concluded that any system sustained by hatred, any theology that acts with deliberate cruelty to others and laughs at the suffering it causes, any ideology that marginalizes a group of people based on whom they choose to love is morally bankrupt and I reject it.

—Nate Phelps, the son of Fred who’s proven to be the only reasonable thinker to come out of the Westboro Baptist Church, tells a high school audience that his father’s mission in life is a farce [via]

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #fredphelps #natephelps #weestborobaptistchurch stories and more


  • Riker

    Sweet water can come out of a swamp…

  • scott ny'er

    bravo for him. at least someone out of that crazy clan has come to their senses.

  • Shannon1981

    Good for Nate.Abandoning your family is never easy, but he definitely did the right thing.

  • DJ

    I have so much respect for this man.

  • craigers


  • SpiffyShindigs

    Good on him!

  • christopher di spirito

    I can’t imagine how horrible it is to be attached to the Phelps family.

    After WWII, Germans with the last name ‘Hitler’ changed it, so that they could get on with their lives and not suffer the stigma of being linked — however erroneously, to Adolph.

  • greenmanTN

    I’ve read an account of the Phelps family online, based on interviews with those who’ve left the family “church,” girlfriends of the sons when they were school age, etc. It was just as abusive and dysfunctional as you’d think. Fred Sr dictated all their actions based on his desperate need for attention, positive or negative. They were made to sell candy to support their mission, i.e. their family and they’d better come back with the amount Fred told them to or there’d be hell to pay.

    IIRC at least two of the children got the hell away as soon as they could. Before the Phelps latched onto the gay thing he was willing to use any other issue that allowed him to rant and rave in public and get attention. The gay thing worked for them because it’s still “controversial” enough that homophobia is still publicly acceptable in a way that racism or antisemitism no longer are.

    I’m surprised they haven’t latched onto Muslim-bashing yet.

  • Harbo

    You can’t choose your parents, but you can choose to get the hell out of a cruel and disfunctional family. Good for him. It took guts to do what he did. At least one member of the Phelps clan has some honor and reason.

    That sound you hear is Nate’s sister Shirley gnashing her teeth.

  • gregger

    @greenmanTN: he already has, look it up.

  • Scott Bonzitski

    New International Version

    “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

    I do not know [nor do I care] if Nate is trying to set himself apart from his [so called “family”] – he is doing the right thing…You don’t spew hate towards ANYONE! It DOE’S come back around twice as abd…SB

  • Scott Bonzitski

    PS: Can you say “cult!?”…SB

  • Scott Bonzitski

    >>> John 8.32 <<< New International Version:

    "Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

    Too bad ALOT of folk do NOT know this,

    [the TRUTH about ALOT of things]…SB

  • Scott Bonzitski

    BTW…I mean that in a GOOD way, NOT that I am dissing him.
    [Just “disclaimering before “harpo” and such tend to take my blogs out of context]…SB

  • GetBalance

    I’m very impressed with his choice of words.

  • Jeffree

    Nate has also turned into an LGB ally, according to the article Queerty quoted from. Click on VIA to see more about Nate’s background. Interesting. I’ m glad he escaped that hothouse of hatred.

  • John

    I don’t understand why the U.S government doesn’t stop this. I get that freedom of speech is a right but when others vilify and cause harm, there needs to be responsibility taken by the government to stop it. Anyone?
    Good on Nate for freeing himself of this mess.

  • Geoff B

    God loves Nate Phelps! The rest of his family, probably not so much.

  • mudgeboy

    I sometimes think that the disgusting actions of the Phelps clan are a big help to the LGBT community. I know it sounds ridiculous, but consider this: the homophobia exemplified by Westboro is an extreme form of the homophobia that most of us were taught when we were young and what we see every day. Because it’s so extreme, it’s also very obvious and undeniable. And they get a ton of publicity. So I just wonder if people don’t say, “those Westboro people just hate gay people” and then draw the obvious conclusion that, whether it’s extreme or mild, hate is hate and why don’t we just leave gay people alone. Maybe people will even see that discrimination is a form of hate and represents the antithesis of the message in the New Testament. Just a thought.

  • Josh in OR

    I’m waiting for the day when the Phelps clan admits that this whole thing has been a decades long bit of performance art to aid in the push for equality. I mean, wasn’t ol’ Fred a former civil rights crusader?

  • Ted from Cali


    There is not much that the Gov’t can do constitutionally. The Constitution protects against action that the gov’t causes. In this case it is speech (protected by 1st amendment), and the gov’t can’t intervene. A case was recently heard by the Supreme Court, Snyder v. Phelps about a similar issue (protesting at military funerals) the Court decided 8 to 1 that it is protected speech. It is important to note that unpopular speech need to be protected just as much as popular speech. The only recourse against the admitted filth that comes from Phelps Clan’s mouth is if they directly attack a specific person, who then can sue in civil court under slander laws.

  • greenmanTN

    @mudgeboy: I agree with you and have said pretty much the same thing.

    The Phelps/Westboro Church (same thing) can be hurtful and cruel but at the same time they’re hard to take seriously. I don’t know if it’s still there (there might have been copyright issues) but a few years back, just in time for Christmas, the Phelps had a video on Youtube of them all singing “God Hates The World,” set to the tune of “We Are The World,” the all-star charity song from the 80s. There’s Fred, Fred Jr, Crazy-eyed practically drooling Shirley Phelps-Roper and the whole clan including the kids rocking back and forth, singing about how God hates the world and everybody in it.

    That’s a moustache-twirling, Snidely Whiplash version of evil, so blatant and obvious it doesn’t really pose much of a threat. They’re like a schizophrenic stumbling around screaming in filthy clothes after not bathing for a month, except less sympathetic. Everyone knows better than to get too close to them or listen closely. As nasty and despicable as they are, they aren’t really that dangerous.

    FAR more dangerous are the Tony Perkins and Maggie Gallaghers of the world who speak softly and hide their real message behind “loving the sinner” or “protecting marriage.” It’s the haters who SOUND reasonable that you have to watch out for, not street-corner screamers like the Phelps. People like Perkins and Gallagher are the Ted Bundys of the religious world, seductive enough to lure people in with their bland, average looks and reasonable tone, drawing them in close enough to do real damage. THAT is scary, not funhouse devils like the Phelps.

    Not that I don’t applaud Nate Phelps for leaving them and speaking out against them. I do. It’s just that the Phelps are way down on the list of people the gay community needs to be really worried about.

  • Adam Kadmon

    The most tragic thing about the events happening in Japan right now is that they aren’t happening in Salt Lake City.

  • Adam Kadmon

    Oops. Meant to post that in the article about a Chris Buttars of Utah.

  • tjr101

    Wonders never cease!

  • Jack

    There is hope!

  • John

    @Ted from Cali:

    Hi mate, thanks for the clarification. I come from a country where free speech is also a right, however any form of vilification or inciting hatred against others take legal precedence. It’s simply common sense.
    No one or group deserves to have this form of hatred thrown upon them. Especially when it is done in a manner to garner support against them. It simply needs to be illegal.

  • BlogShag

    Kudos to Nate, but I blame the lame USA media for giving the attention to the Phelps family that they don’t deserve. If everyone would ignore these buffoons, they wouldn’t cackle so loud. But because people pay attention to their rude shenanigans and get millions of dollars of free advertising because of it, they continue broadcasting their hate.

  • BeRealOnce

    BlogShag : They don’t get that much attention, except on gay blogs.

  • Cam

    Westboro is actually good for gay rights in my opinion.

    The arch conservatives are afraid to come off too “Gay Bashy” now because they could be tied into this group of nuts who protest at soldiers funerals.

    The bigots want their reps to be like Carrie Prejean. Pretty, with a nice smile, who says things like “No office, but…”

    Westboro hurts their cause because it shows their real face. They all agree with the Phelps, they just don’t want other people to see them that way.

  • dee from topeka

    so easy to say the media is at fault for giving them press. however, here in the city where they live, we have been doing our best to ignore them and they have not lessened the amount or severity (otherwise known as cruelty and insanity, and blasphemey in the eyes of some)of their local protests. they protest the churches, events, in fact anything they can associate someone or something that is contrary to their “teachings”. sure, they do like the press, but they do it because they think they have to, and ignoring them does not make them stop, trust me.

  • Heather

    Couldn’t be prouder to be your friend Nate – you’re doing great things man!

  • RC Roeder

    Why would he do that. Looking at countries like Iran, they do not have the gay problem. Well that is what they say at the end of a noose. Phelps is not the only “Church” like this, “You Can Run But You Cannot Hide, Inc.” states “Muslim countries calling for the execution of gays and lesbians are “more moral than even the American Christians”

Comments are closed.