Nate Phelps, Fred’s estranged son, spoke on April 11th to the American Atheist Convention in Georgia. He speaks about his life growing up as a Phelps, as well as his own personal struggle with god and spirituality due to the harshness of Fred’s theology. It is an amazing testimony and worth the time it takes to peruse through it:
We learned that every thought and deed was laced with moral implications, that every decision was a decision for or against god’s will. If a judge ruled against one of my father’s clients, his raging eventually and inevitably became a righteous rant about the judge defying god, and attacking his people. Our father explained to us over and over about how our hearts were deceitful and desperately wicked. Our education about the world was profoundly colored by this fundamental assumption. One of my earliest doubts about our faith rose from the question that if, in fact, the Adamic race is so thoroughly cursed with this moral corruption, how is it that we so willingly turn to the writings of corrupt men to find our salvation?
Many Sunday sermons were spent poring over the nuances of Old Testament stories where Yahweh had brought his people to the point of despair then delivered their enemies into their hands with some violent, miraculous intervention. While it was clear that god was unyielding toward his enemies, it was equally clear that he seemed quite willing and even eager to violently strike down his appointed ones at the slightest provocation…
[After coming home to find his mother crying and her hair crudely cut…]
In my father’s world, obscure standards and requirements that he dug out of the Bible were far more important than improving one’s character, or demonstrating kindness towards others. When he took those blades to my mother’s head, he was making a powerful assertion that he had absolute control over her very salvation. So ingrained were these beliefs that I remember fearing that, by cutting her hair, my father had condemned her to eternal damnation.
Thanks to JereKeys for the heads up on this one.
And for people that are following, make sure you keep up to date on Belly of the Beast — Gossip-Boy.com’s expose of the growing movement surrounding, of all people, Anita-freakin-Bryant. The newest section
is late is due out any day now.