Fred Phelps 'supported gay rights' before he died, claims grandson

Sun. May 25, 2014 10:09 AM by News Staff

fred waldron phelps, sr.

Topeka, KS - The controversial founder of Westboro Baptist Church supported gay rights before passing away in March, claims a family member.

Fred Phelps' 23-year-old grandson, Zacharias Phelps-Roper, who left the church in February, has spoken out on his grandfather's alleged change of heart.

According to Phelps-Roper, Fred Phelps shared appreciation for the LGBT charity Planting Peace, which built the Equality House, a house painted in rainbow colours in support of the LGBT community, across from the Westboro Baptist Church compound in Topeka, Kansas.

On Thursday, Equality House posted a statement from Phelps-Roper on its Facebook page.

"Fred W. Phelps, my grandfather, came out in support of the Equality House before he was voted out of WBC," Phelps-Roper said.

"Specifically, on the day that he was excommunicated, he stood outside of the front door of the church (but not within anyone's earshot but a few members of WBC who happened to be in the immediate vicinity)...I say, he spoke words to this effect to the Equality House: 'You are good people.'"

"I feel like he had a change of heart after my grandmother nearly passed away, and he felt the pangs of loss ...he waited for news of her every day and night while she was in intensive care. I think this triggered a chain reaction whereby he developed great empathy for others...which would explain why he would support Planting Peace's anti-suicide and anti-bullying platforms, and their charities across the world... ."

"I love my grandfather! And I believe people DO change, if they are inspired enough."

In an interview with HuffPost Live, Phelps-Roper confirmed his statement and shared more details. 

"My family took great notice of that and they called it rank blasphemy that he was coming out in support of the homosexuals," said Phelps-Roper.

In a statement following the claims, Planting Peace told The Huffington Post: "Although Fred spent many years believing and teaching very destructive ideology I think this is a great example of how even the hardest of hearts can change."

Fred Phelps passed away March 19, 2014. He was 84.

Westboro Baptist Church claims it will picket Chicago Pride Fest

Westboro Baptist Church is planning to protest next month's Chicago Pride Fest, according to a Tweet posted by the controversial hate church. The Phelps' clan has a history of failed protests in Chicago.

Chicago's 'Legacy Project' unveils Equality House installation

In April, Chicago's Legacy Project partnered with Equality House to install a new memorial, mirroring The Legacy Walk that lines North Halsted Street in Boystown. The Equality House is now home to 18 plaques, framed in bronze and under glass, representing influential people from throughout history that contributed to the LGBT community in a positive way.