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The Rev. Fred Phelps Sr., founder of the Westboro Baptist Church was a well-known clergyman but it wasn’t his message of love and tranquility that made him a newsmaker.

He and his congregation were infamously known to picket the funerals of military soldiers and celebrities to force their anti-gay and abortion views into the media. His son Timothy Phelps told the local news that his father passed away in his sleep at the age of 84 yesterday, just before the stroke of midnight.

Via NPR:

“Phelps made a name for himself by protesting military and high-profile funerals. He’d wave hateful signs with members of his Westboro Baptist Church and proclaim that the U.S. was being punished for its tolerance of homosexuality.

” ‘God’s wrath is upon this nation,’ Phelps said at one such protest. ‘And he’s pouring out his wrath by killing those soldiers and maiming those soldiers in Iraq. And its only gonna get worse.’

“An ordained minister, Phelps formed the Westboro Baptist Church in 1955. He also practiced law as a civil rights attorney but was disbarred from the Kansas state court in 1979 and later lost his license to practice in federal courts.

“Phelps is survived by many family members, who make up most of his church’s congregation.”

It was reported this past weekend that Phelps was on the brink of death and was admitted to hospice care.

What’s the over and under that his funeral is sarcastically picketed? Check out the gallery to see how his church used to get down. They once picketed a 9/11 rally in New York City.

A 9/11 rally.

Photo: WENN

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