Westboro Baptist Church to Protest Waco Churches Sunday
If you sense some negativity in the Waco air Sunday, it's just the Westboro Baptist Church up to their usual attention seeking.
According to a media release on their website, the ultra-fundamentalist group are scheduled to hold "protests" at Antioch Community Church and St. Louis Catholic Church Sunday morning. The release doesn't offer any specific reason for the protests other than differences in scriptural interpretation.
While I'm loath to give the WBC any press, I do think this is a fantastic opportunity to share the story of Megan Phelps Roper, granddaughter of church founder Fred Phelps, who grew up in the church and spent her childhood helping spread its message, both at protests of military funerals and murder victims and online.
In 2012, Megan made the decision to leave the church after discussions with critics on social media led her to question the teachings pounded into her brain since birth. After leaving her family behind and starting a new life, Megan began working to expose the church's methods and try to make amends for the hate she helped perpetuate.
An article from the New Yorker titled 'Unfollow: How a Prized Daughter of the Westboro baptist Church Came to Question its Beliefs' offers an in-depth look at Megan's decision to leave and the work she's done to make things right. While still with the church, Megan took to Twitter to spread her family's message and debate critics, many of whom she'd met at protests and insulted to their faces. Over time, she came to be friends with many of them and started asking questions of her family, who, of course, were not pleased. Megan convinced her sister that they had to leave, and after the painful departure, Megan began rebuilding her life and later married one of the men she'd debated via Twitter.
I found the article incredibly moving. I can be an extremely cynical person, but Megan's story gives me hope that people can change and seek to make amends after honestly and rationally assessing their beliefs and taking responsibility for the damage they have inflicted upon others.
Megan's appearance on the Joe Rogan podcast is one of my favorite YouTube videos. If you want some insight into how the WBC operates and what it's like for someone who chooses to leave, or if you just need your faith in people and their ability to change for the better restored, it's well worth the watch.