Nate: I think my father is a hateful person first. The religious beliefs gave him a forum and permission to be cruel to the world.
Another reason why the hate in the Bible and other books cannot be ignored - it is used by the haters to justify their hate.
As a matter of fact, religion has possibly been the most effective justification the haters have for the hate, because society, instead of finding religion repellent, find it attractive. Hate is thus disguised as wisdom, and sometimes even as love.
I'm so happy for Nate Phelps, that he could escape and that he did not become like his father.
I have a legal question: the way Nate describes his father would beat his children, is totally child abuse, very, very violent. Is that not punishable by law in that state?
The abuse would have to be proven in court and maybe no one wants to get involved - let me check. FromABC News
What's not well known, Nate Phelps told us, is the brutality and abuse that he says Fred Phelps inflicted upon his own family.
Phelps said his father would beat his young children with a barber's strap.
"He used it so frequently that the ends of it frayed, so you had this kind of cat o'nine tails whipping around, and it would open the flesh on the other side of the hip," said Nate Phelps. "So it was doing that kind of damage."
As the kids got older, Phelps said, his father would beat them with the handle of a mattock, a farm tool similar to a pickax.
"It's about four feet long and it's a solid, long, heavy piece of wood," said Phelps. "He would go down the back of the legs and up to the lower back, and when he was really angry and raging he would use it to hit you with the arms. On one occasion I can remember being hit with it in the head and it split my scalp.
"And his fists... there were times that he would be raging, and he would spit into his fists. He would be completely out of control and it could sometimes last for an hour. Going back and forth between physical violence and screaming Bible verses and berating the child."
We contacted the Phelps family at the compound where they live in Topeka, but Fred Phelps would not comment.
So we asked Fred Phelps' daughter, Shirley Phelps-Roper, a lawyer who serves as the church spokeswoman, about her brother Nate's allegations.
"He spanked [Nate], he spanked all of his children," Phelps-Roper said of her father. "Sometimes with a strap, until you got so big. A strap on a kid who is 12 or 13 years old?"
We asked whether it was true that Fred Phelps used a strap first and then a wooden handle.
"Exactly," said Phelps-Roper, "...and let's be sure we call it what it was, a paddle."
Not even their mother -- now 84 -- avoided physical abuse ... or the fury of Fred Phelps, according to Nate Phelps. He claims that his father beat his mother.
Phelps-Roper said her brother was lying.
What a cesspool of a man = the reason or reasons are listed here
For the moment, however, it had gone beyond the pastor's control. Police detectives investigated the matter, and it was filed as juvenile abuse cases #13119 and #13120. Jonathon and Nate were assigned a court- appointed lawyer, as a guardian-ad-litem, to protect their interests. The assistant county attorney took charge of the cases, and juvenile officers were assigned to the boys.
In his motion to dismiss, the ever-resourceful Phelps filed a pontifically sobering sermon on the value of strict discipline and corporal punishment in a good Christian upbringing. "When he beat us, he told us if it became a legal case, we'd pay hell," says Nate. "And we believed him. At that time, there was nothing we wanted to see more than those charges dropped. When the guardian ad litem came to interview us, we lied through our teeth."
Principals involved in the case speculate the boys' statements, along with superiors' reluctance to tangle with the litigious pastor, caused the charges to be dropped. The last reason is not academic speculation. The Capital-Journal has learned through several sources that the Topeka Police Department's attitude toward the Phelps' family in the '70s and '80s was hands off-this guy's more trouble than it's worth'.