US: Fred Phelps’ grandson renounces ‘God Hates Fags’ church

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Another member of the Phelps-Roper family has renounced the Westboro Baptist Church, labelling it a ‘mind trap’.

Zach Phelps-Roper – son of the church’s most outspoken member Shirley Phelps-Roper – joins his siblings Josh, Megan and Grace, who had previously left the extremist anti-gay group.

His uncle Nate Phelps – who left the group in the 1980s – was first to break the news of the declining health of the group’s founder Fred Phelps in March.

The church confirmed Fred Phelps’ death days later, but denied reports that the preacher had been excommunicated before his death.

The 23-year-old told the Topeka Capital-Journal: “Now that my mind is free from these mind traps, I can see clearly what needs to be done.

“After I left the church, I met some homosexual men that were very, very kind to me. I was taken aback.

“I believe that empathy and unconditional love are what is absolutely necessary for us to free ourselves and each other from mind traps and from the many problems that are plaguing our society.

“Most problems come from a lack of understanding of how we affect other people and things around us.

“I feel happier today than I did the day before. I see the world from so many different perspectives now.

“I want to learn more. I want to do more.”

His mother Shirley Phelps-Roper told the newspaper: “His never-dying soul is what hangs in the balance.”

Zach Phelps said he was beginning to reconnect with the 20 members of his extended family he was previously allowed no contact with, since they left the church.