Nate Phelps: A Personal History with National Implications

Friday, October 08, 2010

Nine-year-old Daniel Phelps (R), grandson of Westboro Baptist Church pastor Fred Phelps, listens to his cousin Jacob Phelps while they demonstrate outside the Supreme Court, Oct. 6, 2010 (Chip Somodevilla/Getty)

All this week we’ve been covering the developments in Synder vs. Phelps, currently being heard before the U.S. Supreme Court. The question at the heart of the case is whether Westboro’s members have the right to protest at the funerals of fallen soldiers, gay people and young chlidren, in order to put forward their message: that America is being punished for its tolerance of homosexuality and abortion.

On Wednesday we spoke with Larry Flynt about his landmark free speech Supreme Court case and his thoughts on the Westboro case. One person who commented on that interview was Nate Phelps, one of Fred Phelps' sons, and estranged from his family for many years. Nate wrote: 

I've been asked by a lot of people what I think about this case against my father. My own opinion on this matter flows from the certainty that no founding father could have imagined ever having to deal with people standing outside a funeral taunting the family and loved ones of the deceased. It is my hope that this is the reason the Court agreed to hear this case and that they will find good cause to protect the rights of mourners from the untimely exercise of free speech rights.

Phelps says it's hard to separate his personal history with the drama that is unfolding in our nation's highest court. But he feels it is his duty to counter the hateful rhetoric that his family preaches.


Nate Phelps

Produced by:

Jen Poyant

Leave a Comment

Register for your own account so you can vote on comments, save your favorites, and more. Learn more.
Please stay on topic, be civil, and be brief.
Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments. Names are displayed with all comments. We reserve the right to edit any comments posted on this site. Please read the Comment Guidelines before posting. By leaving a comment, you agree to New York Public Radio's Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use.