[bold] Megan and Grace Phelps Leave Westboro [/bold]
Megan Phelps is the 27-year old who introduced the Westboro Baptist Church to the wonders of social media. Today, she posted this:
Until very recently, this is what I lived, breathed, studied, believed, preached – loudly, daily, and for nearly 27 years.
I never thought it would change. I never wanted it to.
Then suddenly: it did.
And I left.
Where do you go from there?
I don’t know, exactly. My sister Grace is with me, though. We’re trying to figure it out together.
She left last November but her announcement was apparently timed to coincide with this article from Jeff Chu. In Chu’s piece, Phelps describes the moment she started seriously thinking about alternatives to the viewpoint she was raised with:
“My doubts started with a conversation I had with David Abitbol,” she says. Megan met David, an Israeli web developer who’s part of the team behind the blog Jewlicious, on Twitter. “I would ask him questions about Judaism, and he would ask me questions about church doctrine. One day, he asked a specific question about one of our signs—‘Death Penalty for Fags’—and I was arguing for the church’s position, that it was a Levitical punishment and as completely appropriate now as it was then. He said, ‘But Jesus said’—and I thought it was funny he was quoting Jesus—‘Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.’ And then he connected it to another member of the church who had done something that, according to the Old Testament, was also punishable by death. I realized that if the death penalty was instituted for any sin, you completely cut off the opportunity to repent. And that’s what Jesus was talking about.”
The story supports the idea that I (and many other skeptics) have long stressed: the key to winning someone over isn’t to do it all in one argument but to plant a seed of doubt that eventually grows. It’s amazing that Megan and her sister were able to overcome years of indoctrination and leave. It appears from the article as though Megan still believes in a god, but I’d be very interested to know if the sisters are in touch with their brother uncle, atheist Nate Phelps, and whether or not they’ll be exploring the possibility that God doesn’t hate fags not because he’s a great guy but because he’s not really there.
I had a feeling she might leave after watching the BBC doc on them. She actually seemed intelligent and was friends with some Dutch or Norwegian people she'd met and seemed as if she could be nice.
Funny how social media tends to do that to people. You keep bumping into all kinds of viewpoints out there and eventually some seem to make more sense than others. Even if you were raised in a fucked up cult, logic ends up intruding if it is allowed to.
Good to hear this news...
Everybody should walk out on that insane, abusive old sadist, following which he should die in a grease fire.
He's probably too senile to even function anymore. Shirley Phelps seems to be doing a lot of speaking for the cult for the past few years.
Calling this group a "church" is so offensive. We should be calling it for what it is, a hate group and a cult. I believe that more of the younger generation Phelps will begin to slowly trickle away. I am sure there are a lot of abuse and horror stories from that family and their followers.
[quote]It’s amazing that Megan and her sister were able to overcome years of indoctrination
Not just yet. As far as I can tell from the article, Megan appears to still believe that gays (or whomever they consider "sinners") must repent. It will be a process for the girls.
Can you imagine how nice it must be for her--to wake up tomorrow and NOT have to hate all day and go picket children's and soldiers' funerals? Hmmm.
Oh, fuck it, still gotta make a living.
Ever since Michael left to become an Olympic diver, I knew it was only a matter of time before some of the others flew the coop too.
Diver? You must be a Broadway queen who only knows Sondheim.
[bold] Former Member: Westboro Baptist Church Prayed for People to Die [/bold]
Libby Phelps Alvarez, whose grandfather founded the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church, told the Today Show this morning that the Westboro Baptist Church was not satisfied with just protesting the funerals of fallen soldiers – that they began praying for people to die.
“There was a point when we started praying for people to die,” she said. “I didn’t actually do that but I was around when they did it.”
Having left the church several years ago, Alvarez now travels the country with her husband shedding light on the Church’s activities.