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Good Riddance: Fred Phelps Sr., Westboro Baptist Church Founder and World’s Biggest Asshole, Dead at 84

March 20, 2014 | 11:46 am

By Ben Goldstein

Fred Phelps Sr., longtime leader of the Kansas-based hate-cult known as Westboro Baptist Church, has died at the age of 84 after a long battle with who cares, fuck that guy.

Phelps was best known for his obsession with and hatred of homosexuality, and he spent much of his career organizing his equally insane followers to stage public protests, their “God hates fags” signs held high. The Westboro gang picketed soldiers’ funerals to let everyone know that God was punishing America for its tolerance of homosexuals. They thanked God for 9/11, and the Sandy Hook shootings, and the Boston Bombings. At every appearance, their messages of homicidal, delusional hatred were carried in the hands of children. (You can see some of Westboro’s most infamous signs in the gallery above.)

While most news stories related to Fred Phelps Sr. invariably contain the word “controversial,” that’s probably not the right word to describe him. “Controversy” suggests a heated debate. Phelps did not create controversy. His protests didn’t spur dialogue about whether or not picketing soldiers’ funerals is a good idea or not, or whether massacred children were actually a gift from God. In fact, Phelps was one of the few human beings who the vast majority of Americans — Liberal and Conservative, young and old, rich and poor — could agree on. Fred Phelps was the absolute worst that humanity had to offer. Perhaps he wanted to be controversial, but instead he was simply reviled.

Aside from his work in the “church,” Fred Phelps was also a vindictive, misogynistic disbarred lawyer who once cross-examined a female court-reporter for an entire week, “[accusing] her of a variety of perverse sexual acts, ultimately reducing her to tears on the stand” because she failed to have a court transcript ready for Phelps on the day he asked for it. He used to beat his kids, violently and regularly. He referred to America as a “sodomite nation of flag-worshiping idolaters” and was a pen pal of Saddam Hussein. He was a casually evil man, a living embodiment of anger and frustration. He hated pretty much everybody. If he knew you, he’d hate you too.

Good riddance, 2011 National Douchebag Tournament Winner Fred Phelps Sr. You had a good run, and you ruffled some feathers. If God really approved of the things you did during your time on this Earth, well then, I hope you assholes are happy together.

Related: Twitter Reacts to Fred Phelps’ Death

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