Westboro Baptist Church, known best for its recent Supreme Court win allowing its members to annoy the hell out of anyone grieving at a funeral for someone whose lifestyle they don't agree with, has lost ¾ of its flock in recent weeks. Once a thriving (by their definition) little Baptist Church with over 100 members, the Wesboro Baptist Church now has less than twenty members.
Instead of blaming the decline on his rather bizarre religious outlook, Pastor Fred Phelps blames the drop in attendance on "the rapture".
In Biblical prophesies, the rapture is scheduled to occur prior to the second coming of Christ, and many fundamental Christians believe that the faithful will literally disappear without a trace, joining others in the air, leaving behind only their belongings.
Phelps claims there is no other explanation for his Church suffering such small attendance numbers. "I speak regularly to each and every member of my flock," said Phelps, "and not one of them ever mentioned they was leaving the Church. Besides, they know better. They know I keep loaded guns."
It is for that very reason, i.e. Phelp's hold on his flock through fear, that Phelps comes to the only possible explanation for certain members of his Church being brave enough to leave without telling him. This past Sunday, while Phelps was leading yet another protest in front of the Heavenly Pines Cemetery, he broke off from his chant "God Ain't Gay" to announce to his followers that he is convinced they are being raptured.
Asked why, then, if he is the leader, wouldn't he be the one to be raptured first to allow him to lead his flock in the air? Phelps answered, "The good Lord needs me here on earth still to fight all homosexuals, Jews and anyone else bold enough to sin against God." Phelps claims he is the captain of his ship and like it or not, he's got to stay until every last one of his flock is "safely in the air before I go jumping into the rapture life raft and sailing through the gates of Heaven myself."