Estranged son of hate pastor Fred Phelps won't attend dad's funeral

Nathan Phelps.

Nathan Phelps.

Bill Kaufmann, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:21 AM ET

CALGARY -- The estranged son of North America's most notorious bigot said he won't be leaving his Calgary home for his father's funeral.

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

His son Nathan, who fled the hate-filled rhetoric and his tightly-controlled household at age 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 morning.

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 (death) comes as a bit of a surprise," he said.

"I literally found out about it three minutes ago."


Videos

Photos