Wow. Our experiment is off to a great start—let's see if we can finish it off sooner than expected.
If you know Mother Jones, you know the Reverend Fred "God Hates Fags" Phelps. In just the past week, we've carried two stories touching on the Kansas hatemonger and the extended family that comprise his Westboro Baptist Church—a "crew of sign-carrying flat-earthers, whose shtick involves loudly thanking God for smiting gay-loving, libertine America and its sworn defenders." They crisscross the nation, spreading their "God is hate" gospel at the funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan; at grade schools; and anywhere else they can score a permit and a TV crew.
Never let it be said that Phelps doesn't practice what he preaches. He's had 13 children, and a few of them—the ones who rubbed a few extraneous brain cells together and found Daddy's command of theology wanting—have found themselves on the outs with the family. After copious beatings, that is.
One of those children, Nate Phelps, quietly slipped into the ether, working as a cabbie in Cranbrook, British Columbia. But a chance encounter with a journalism student in his taxi led to a riveting news article...which led to a speaking engagement at an American Atheists convention...which led to this. Last week, Phelps sat down for an extended TV interview with reporter Peter Klein of The Standard, Canada's 60 Minutes. This is no prodigal son; he ain't ever going back. But the story of where he's been and what he's seen is absolutely amazing, from the stories of abuse to his father's drug dependency. Watch the full video and read selected quotes after the jump.