Y'all know about Fred Phelps, right? Westboro Baptist, um, semi-preacher? He, of the God Hates Fags signs? He who protests at the funerals of American soldiers?
Yeah, that asshat.
Well, turns out old Fred has a son, who spent a lifetime moving away from his father and is now speaking out about Freddy.
Nate Phelps, father of four and self-confessed atheist, now lives in Calgary, Canada, and is engaged to be married to his second wife. He spoke to the Canadian newspaper Globe and Mail about what it was like growing up the son of such a hate-filled man:
"I don’t accept the argument that growing up in a twisted environment is what led me to atheism....I accept the argument that growing up in a hyper-focus-on-God environment led me to search for answers. There’s no doubt about that. And I do accept that there’s damage there....I just don’t see any evidence for a God. But I see plenty of evidence for good and evil in humans."
Phelps did acknowledge that, after being raised by such a man as Fred Phelps, he feels the need for atonement, and the need to work out his feelings about his upbringing. These days, as part of what he calls his atonement, he speaks on the subject of his family and his father's religion at both secularist and gay conventions. In fact, earlier this year he returned to Topeka, Kansas, to speak at a gay rally, a move that "put him at the centre of his father’s hate campaign".
Speaking on the subject of homosexuality, Nate Phelps said he understands that gay men and women don’t choose their sexuality, but did admit that the religious teachings of his father were "hard-wired" into his brain, and that even today he sometimes doubts his thoughts. He does concede that it isn't intellectual thought that causes his doubt, but emotional thought that leaves him wondering.
After being raised by Fred Phelps, it's no wonder that Nate still wonders; being brainwashed by one's own parent can do that to a child, even a grown child. And Nate Phelps has had his share of suicidal thoughts and has battled depression, but he lives in hope, while his father lives in hate.
Nate Phelps is one of 16 of Fred Phelps's children, two of whom have changed their names and turned their back on the family for good.
Sometimes, sometimes, good does come from evil.
You can read more about Nate Phelps, and his life, and trials, and struggles, as the son of hatred, on his website HERE.