Westboro Baptist Church, the organization infamously known for picketing soldiers’ funerals and its “God Hates Fags” slogans, has lost two of its members.
Sisters Megan Phelps-Roper and Grace Phelps-Roper, the daughters of Brent and Shirley Roper and granddaughters of minister Fred Phelps, recently left the church and have been staying with their cousin, Libby Phelps Alvarez. Alvarez herself left in 2009.
Church spokesman Steve Drain, in addressing the girls’ decision to leave Westboro, had some ominous words for the young women: “If they continue with the position that they have, those two girls, yeah, they’re going to hell.”
Shirley Phelps-Roper has been one of the most outspoken of spokespeople for Westboro, and her daughter Megan had become much more active in managing media for the church until the Fall of 2012. Megan’s Twitter account had gone largely quiet since then, until a tweet surfaced from her account Wednesday morning.
That tweet links to a post on Megan’s blog, entitled Head Full of Doubt / Road Full of Promise, and is signed by Megan and her sister Grace. In it, they quote pop culture to reference the manner in which they’ve been raised under the influence of Westboro. And then, they offer a mea culpa of sorts.
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.
There are some things we do know.
We know that we’ve done and said things that hurt people. Inflicting pain on others wasn’t the goal, but it was one of the outcomes. We wish it weren’t so, and regret that hurt.
We know that we dearly love our family. They now consider us betrayers, and we are cut off from their lives, but we know they are well-intentioned. We will never not love them.
We know that we can’t undo our whole lives. We can’t even say we’d want to if we could; we are who we are because of all the experiences that brought us to this point. What we can do is try to find a better way to live from here on. That’s our focus.
Up until now, our names have been synonymous with “God Hates Fags.” Any twelve-year-old with a cell phone could find out what we did. We hope Ms. Kyle was right about the other part, too, though – that everything sticks – and that the changes we make in our lives will speak for themselves.
While the “church” under which they’ve been raised promises that the girls will surely go to Hell and won’t likely see their immediate family, it appears they’re leaving their fate to the public to decide, as they travel down a different path.