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The Rev. Fred Phelps Sr. of Westboro Baptist Church (God Hates Fags) dies at 84 (updated)

BY JOHN HANNA
ASSOCIATED PRESS

TOPEKA, Kan. -- The Rev. Fred Phelps Sr., the fiery founder of a small Kansas church who led 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, whose actions drew international condemnation, died around 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. In the process, some believe he even helped the cause of gay rights by serving as such a provocative symbol of intolerance.

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Fred must have sweated when he went to his judgement and saw a sign that read ...
God Hates Fred Phelps"

George Vreeland Hill

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