Another Westboro Baptist Church member abandons church

23-year-old Zach Phelps-Roper, a grandson of Westboro Baptist Church founder Fred Phelps, has left the church and has spoken about how kind gay people have been to him since leaving

Another Westboro Baptist Church member abandons church
07 May 2014

Zach Phelps-Roper has spoken about his decision to break away from the Westboro Baptist Church and reconnect with other family members excommunicated from the notorious anti-gay church.

23-year-old Zach moved out of the family compound on 20 February, with the help of cousins who had already left the church.

He is the fourth of his ten siblings to leave the church, now lead by his mother Shirley Phelps-Roper – the daughter of church founder Fred Phelps

Zach told the Topeka Capital-Journal that some of his earliest memories were taking part in church pickets as a small child, but he had begun to question his church’s teachings around his 18th birthday.

He also said his interactions with LGBTI people since leaving the church had been a shockingly pleasant surprise.

‘After I left the church I met some homosexual men who were very kind to me, and I was taken aback,’ Zach said.

‘I met this guy at Olive Garden one night with my sister and he offered to pay for my entire dinner and I was so taken aback… I was like, “I don’t know what to say,” so I said, “No, no, let me do that, I’ll just pay for that, I’ve got it.”’

‘It was so funny because the very next day I saw him… I went out for a very moderate drinking [session] with my friends and family and … he just came up to me and just kindly got me one of these fruity kind of drinks that I like and he just said “Here you go man,” and just walked off – he didn’t even expect a thank you.’

Zach also shed some light on his grandfather’s mentality in his final weeks and on why he may have been excommunicated by his own church in his final days, saying he seemed to have become more moderate in his views towards the end.

‘When I was in the church they had described him as being someone who was manipulative and had mistreated other people in the church,’ Zach said.

‘[So] I was very ambivalent, I wasn’t sure what to think of my grandpa after he passed.’

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

Couple takes UK to court as it delays turning civil partnerships into marriage

A Barnsley couple say they have waited long enough, hoping to be a part of the historic day when the first gay couples get married in England and Wales
No thumbnail available

Trailblazer: Eldon Thiele – 'gay cruises are the most fun'

With new music on the way, the Canadian musician shares his travel stories with Gay Star News.
No thumbnail available

Scholar looks at what it means to be a gay man

David M. Halperin examines what gay is and what gay is not
No thumbnail available

Kathy Griffin gets serious about bullying

Gay rights activist Kathy Griffin joins Ellen DeGeneres in support for documentary Bully
No thumbnail available

Colin Powell comes to Chuck Hagel's defense

Colin Powell  stands up for Defense Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel
No thumbnail available

Stephen Fry: 'I used drugs like pudding after work'

Gay broadcaster calls himself a 'fool' for the way he acted in his early career
No thumbnail available

Anti-gay preacher Pat Robertson advises parents to skip child's same-sex wedding

'By your attendance at the ceremony, you are agreeing ... I just wouldn't go'
No thumbnail available

The rise and fall of the lesbian shock factor

GSN asks if girl-on-girl action and celebrity lesbian publicity stunts have lost their ability to shock and titilate
No thumbnail available

Australian Speaker in hot water over gay sexual harassment

Australian Speaker of the House of Representatives, Peter Slipper, in hot water over gay sexual harassment allegations
No thumbnail available

Nikolai Alekseev, gay Russian activist, attacked by masked skinheads

Three masked men attacked Nikolai Alekseev, who received minor injuries, as he was about to board a train leaving from Kostroma to Moscow, Russia