The late “Reverend” Fred Phelps, founder of the Westboro Baptist Church in my hometown of Topeka, Kansas, died a few short months ago, but his family carries on his hateful legacy still. These assholes continue to protest funerals, concerts, graduations, and just about any other venue they can find where they might get even a hint of media attention. Their message that God hates gay people, and basically everyone else, has become tired and anachronistic in an age where marriage equality and non-discrimination laws are spreading across the country faster than anyone would have imagined.
The hate, however, is real, and for many it still hurts. Phelps victimized thousands during his lifetime, but perhaps none as badly as his own children. Stories from within the Phelps compound indicate a pattern of abuse and cruelty aimed at anyone who was less than perfectly obedient at all times to the family patriarch.
One of the targets of that abuse, Phelps’s son Nate, escaped the church at midnight on his 18th birthday, never to return. Now residing in Canada, Nate is now a vocal ally to the LGBT community, and often speaks about child abuse, as well as the danger of religion.
Nate is now working on a Documentary Film, titled Not My Father’s Son, and has begun a Kickstarter to help fund its production. The film will follow his story through the abuse he suffered as a child, through his growth and healing as an adult, culminating with his development into an advocate for equality and justice for all people.
Perhaps his son’s legacy of fairness and equality will just maybe overshadow the legacy of hate that his father left behind.