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Estranged son of Fred Phelps Sr. to skip bigot’s funeral 0

By Bill Kaufmann, Calgary Sun

Nathan Phelps

Nathan Phelps

The estranged son of North America’s most notorious bigot said he won’t leave his Calgary home for his father’s funeral.

Fred Phelps Sr., of the Topeka, Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church, infamous for its crude picketing at funerals of homosexuals, soldiers and shooting victims, died late Wednesday at 84.

His son Nathan, who fled the hate-filled rhetoric and his tightly controlled household at 18, said he’s not ready to honour his father by mourning him.

“I don’t believe I can handle a funeral,” Phelps, 54, said Thursday.

Though his father had been reportedly on his death bed earlier this week, what he’d heard from family members — who’ve long rejected him — recently left him confused about his father’s true condition.

“The language from my family left me second-guessing whether I’d overstated it, so this comes as a bit of a surprise,” he said.

He said he still planned to give a lecture at Mount Royal University Thursday night where he was expected to discuss his father’s excommunication last summer from Westboro Baptist Church.

He’s watched from afar as his father’s flock picketed funerals with signs reading “God Hates Fags” and “Thank God for Dead Soldiers.”

Earlier this week, he told the Sun he wouldn’t encourage protests at his dad’s funeral.

“Let them mourn in peace — how could I say otherwise when every time the church protested a funeral, I said it was wrong,” he said.

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