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Huckleberries Online

Westboro Baptist Founder Phelps Dies

Margie M. Phelps, left, stands with her husband Pastor Fred Phelps and her daughter Margie J. Phelps during a demonstration outside the federal courthouse in Baltimore, Maryland, on Oct. 31, 2007. The Westboro Baptist Church members protested in Coeur d'Alene in October 2010. Fred Phelps died this morning. (AP Photo/Baltimore Sun, Jed Kirschbaum)

The Rev. Fred Phelps Sr., the fiery founder of a small Kansas church who drew international condemnation for outrageous and hate-filled protests that blamed almost everything, including the deaths of AIDS victims and U.S. soldiers, on America’s tolerance for gay people, has died. He was 84. Daughter Margie Phelps told The Associated Press that Fred Phelps died shortly after midnight Thursday. She didn’t provide the cause of death or the condition that recently put him in hospice care. Throughout his life, Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church, a small congregation made up almost entirely of his extended family, tested the boundaries of free speech, violating accepted societal standards for decency in their unapologetic assault on gays and lesbians/Associated Press. More here.

Facebook Friend Nathan Empsall on Tuesday: “How is the hatred of those cheering the fact that he is near death any different than Phelps's own hatred? Let us walk the path of Christ and show Westboro a new way. Let us cheer for love and repentance, not bitterness and death.

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About this blog

D.F. Oliveria is a columnist and blogger for The Spokesman-Review. Print Huckleberries is a past winner of the Herb Caen Memorial Column contest by the National Association of Newspaper Columnists. The Readership Institute of Northwestern University cited this blog as a good example of online community journalism.

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