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(RNS) “My father was a man of action,” activist Nate Phelps said after his father's death, “and I implore us all to embrace that small portion of his faulty legacy by doing the same.”


  1. Susan Humphreys

    I wonder if Nate has or will write about (or if he understands enough to write about) what drove or brought his father to hold the positions/beliefs that he held and to act as he did. What were his motivations, underlying angst, how was he raised. We as in all of society need to figure out what drives some people to hate and what drives others not to! IF that is we ever hope to stop creating more haters.

    • That would indeed make for some interesting reading, Susan. I suspect that the answer lies in deeper understanding of human psychology, although admittedly I’m skeptical that we will ever stop haters from becoming so.

  2. Sister Geraldine M. Wagner

    How sorry I feel for people who hate for any reason. Hatred destroys the person who holds it and not the one hated. I wish all non-believers would read C.S. Lewis’ “Mere Christianity.” He didn’t only write “The Chronicles of Narnia!”
    Lewis started out as an atheist, too; he’ll tell you about it and what made him change.

    • Sister – I’m confused by your remarks here. They don’t seem relevant at all. This item has nothing to do with atheists hating anything or anyone, but rather about a professing Christian – Rev. Fred Phelps – whose hate not only became his legacy, but also separated him from his children.

      Indeed, Nathan Phelps (the atheist) is showing a great deal of charity to his father’s memory. Why sully that by casting unwarranted aspersions on a group of people who simply do not believe what you believe?

    • @Sister,
      Ah, yes. As Lewis said, “Jesus was either Liar, Lunatic or Lord”
      What an obvious flaw. Though the Jesus stories are probably based on some such figure, it is obvious that these stories have been embellished quite a bit.
      The missing word in Lewis’ analysis is “legend”.

      Look up Paul Bunyan and you will see what can happen when people start believing a bunch of nonsense made up out of thin air.

      Jesus is nonsense.

    • My irony meter just broke when I read that. This is a story about an atheist finding something to mourn about a person consumed with religious inspired hatred. You managed to criticize the person who acted with compassion. Why? Because they do not share your views of religion. I guess you found more in common with Fred Phelps than his son.

  3. Nate is one of my heroes. He knows faith is nonsense and he learned it the hardest way possible. But then, in our culture it takes a lot of courage to face this nonsense for what it is. Tragic story but Nate is a great man.

  4. Thank you Nate, for your words, I wish you and the rest of the family the peace and love in your hearts that seemed to elude Mr Phelps senior.

  5. The Holy Spirit is with you, Nate Phelps. Your words glorify God; your misguided father’s actions did not.