It looks like there has been some kind of putsch at the Westboro Baptist Church with some kind of junta composed of all male members of the church taking leadership of the organization as founder Fred Phelps goes into decline.
The church believes that only men should be the leaders in the home and any other institution and they may have been concerned that Fred’s daughter Shirley Phelps-Roper’s high visibility during her father’s tenure might result in her assuming leadership when her father Fred dies. This move to strip her from being the spokesperson of the church (where she was highly articulate and visible) and the reported excommunication of her father may be a pre-emptive move to prevent her from doing so, though she always loyally said that only men could be leaders. Interestingly, one of the men behind the move appears to be one of her own children. That must hurt.
As I said before, the church is clearly in decline, and this kind of maneuvering is a symptom of an institution in distress. Four of Fred’s 13 children have left, as have 20 of his grandchildren. These things have taken a toll. I thought that Phelps-Roper had the energy and passion of her father (in his better years) and could have arrested the decline in the church’s fortunes and maybe even revived them. But she had the misfortune of being a woman and the church’s loss is our gain as I simply see its demise as a matter of time, and sooner rather than later.