Charlotte Hannah
February 07, 2013

Megan Phelps-Roper and Sister Leave Westboro Baptist Church

The Westboro Baptist Church has been traveling the country, spreading their message of hate, for about two decades. There’s no doubt that their heinous actions have caused deep and lasting pain to the loved ones of the deceased whose funerals the WBC picketed.

But another less obvious casualty of the WBC is the children who grow up in the shadow of the church – young people who are brainwashed from birth to believe whatever the WBC wants them to believe.

Thankfully, some of these people, like LGBT rights activist Nathan Phelps, have managed to extricate themselves both physically and mentally from the church’s hold. Now, we can add two more young women to the woefully short list of people who’ve escaped the WBC: Megan and Grace Phelps-Roper.

At one time the head of the WBC’s social media efforts and the woman the Kansas City Star once declared the “future leader of the congregation,” Megan is now taking the first steps toward finding herself and her true beliefs. She and her sister have cut ties with the church and its families, and are working toward being known for kindness rather than hate. An interview with Fast Company editor Jeff Chu revealed that Megan has also begun attending a Reformed church that welcomes all ethnicities and orientations.

In a compelling blog post that’s well worth reading in its entirety, 27-year-old Megan describes the hold the church had on her and the factors that led to her and her 19-year-old sister’s decision to leave.

“We know that we’ve done and said things that hurt people,” she writes. “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.”

I admire these two young women’s strength. I hope other members of the church will follow their lead.