'Destroyed by the monster he made': Son of hate pastor Fred Phelps

Nathan Phelps (L) discusses his ailing father Fred (R) with Michael Platt.

Nathan Phelps (L) discusses his ailing father Fred (R) with Michael Platt.

Michael Platt, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:34 AM ET

CALGARY -- He's apparently suffering from some form of dementia, slipping in and out of lucidity from what's expected to be his death bed.

Of course, many will say the poisonous pastor who preached "God Hates Fags" from the sidelines of funerals never had a healthy mind to begin with -- but his estranged son, living in Calgary, confirms Fred Phelps is in grave condition.

"One of my nieces who was in there and wrote down all the details told me he is in and out of lucidity, and I understand he was in serious stress a couple of days before that with his breathing," said Nathan Phelps.

"I wouldn't know what to say beyond that -- people can go both ways on something like this, and he may end up living for several more months. But the evidence is, he's seriously ill."

The 84-year-old's misery will be cause for celebration around the world -- and for that, Pastor Fred can only blame himself.

Under the guise of Christianity, Phelps led his flock at Westboro Baptist Church down a path of judgment and loathing, convincing the Topeka, Kansas, congregation to picket prominent funerals, starting with the 1998 service for gay hate-crime victim Matthew Shepard.

Phelps claimed he was only channelling God's hate for homosexuals in his sermons, but increasingly, the church became an attention-seeking vessel for the Phelps clan -- and pickets at the funerals of soldiers, school-shooting victims and rock stars brought the pastor plenty of attention.

And now the preacher's days of hate appear to be over -- leaving his son in Calgary to ponder a past filled with abuse and anger.

"I don't know if I forgive him. This whole question of forgiveness baffles me," said Nathan.

"For my own self, I am in a good place, but from that place I still see my father as an unapproachable person, and I don't trust him.

"To talk in terms of forgiveness, I guess that's an emotional or mental position that's no longer destructive, and I think I'm there. I'm OK now, but then, I don't want anything to do with him. So maybe I haven't forgiven him."


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