Fred Phelps, the founder of the Westboro Baptist Church, died at the age of 84 on Wednesday.
Phelps started the Westboro Baptist Church in 1955. The church gained attention when members started picketing around the funerals of homosexuals and military personal. As a result of the picketing, President George W. Bush passed a law that made it illegal to picket within 150 feet of a military funeral within an hour of the funeral. President Barack Obama gave the legislation an upgrade to 300 feet and within two hours a funeral, reports USA Today.
With Phelps death, many believe that the Westboro Baptist Church will break apart. Included in those who believe the church will fall apart is Nathan Phelps, son of Fred Phelps. Nathan didn’t agree with his father’s beliefs and instead did speaking tours denouncing the church, USA Today notes.
“I will mourn his passing, not for the man he was, but for the man he could have been,” Nathan told The Los Angles Times. “I deeply mourn the grief and pain felt by my family members denied their right to visit him in his final days.”