(KMOV/Mark Schnyder) --- I talked to the son of Pastor Fred Phelps, the founder of the Westboro Baptist Church that "hates gays" and shows up saying so outside soldiers' funerals.
Nate Phelps is the opposite of his father and he wants the world to know it.
Nate is going to be speaking at Clayton High School at 7:30 Thursday night. The public is invited to this free event.
Nate is working on a book on his life. He says his first 18 years were so painful (verbal and physical abuse), he took off on his 18th birthday and never went back home.
Where his father "hates gays," Nate speaks out in support of gay rights.
He says besides the violence in his early life, Nate says his father was "constantly driving home that extreme religious message and insisting that every aspect of our lives conform to what my father thought the bible taught."
Nate says there was no decension in Fred Phelps' home or any original thought. You went along with him or you went away.
I asked Nate if his father is evil. Nate said, "Evil is when people do things that are deliberately hurtful and destructive to others and by that definition, yes, he and his followers are evil."
Nate Phelps says there's no justification for what the Westboro Baptist Church does, but clearly his father and his father's followers (which include some of Nate's siblings) think otherwise.
Nate calls it nonsense and hopes by being the anti-Fred Phelps, he can one day generate the amount of publicity his father has but in a positive way.
Mark Schnyder is a reporter at KMOV-TV. He can be reached at MSchnyder@kmov.com