Two key members of the anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church have left the fold and apologized for their past.
Megan Phelps-Roper and her sister Grace, the daughters of lead group figure Shirley Phelps, have left the church known for their ‘God Hates Fags’ signs and the picketing of soldiers’ funerals.
The two sisters pioneered social media in the ‘God Hates Fags’ group, with Phelps-Roper posting parody videos of Lady Gaga’s music videos.
In the past, Phelps-Roper has said:
Fag marriage in NY! You need more evidence that God hates you? He's given you up to proud sin, "vile affections." #YouSprintToHell
— Megan Phelps-Roper (@meganphelps) June 25, 2011
Yesterday (6 February), Phelps-Roper linked to a letter from both sisters explaining their reasons why they left the group.
Beginning the letter with a quote from Batman, it says: ‘There’s no fresh start in today’s world. Any 12-year-old with a cell phone could find out what you did. Everything we do is collated and quantified. Everything sticks.’
They go on to say: ‘Don't act surprised that I'm quoting Batman. At WBC, reciting lines from pop culture is par for the course. And why not?
‘The sentiments they express are readily identifiable by the masses – and shifting their meaning is as easy as giving them new context. So put Selina Kyle's words in a different framework:
‘In a city in a state in the center of a country lives a group of people who believe they are the center of the universe; they know Right and Wrong, and they are Right.
‘They work hard and go to school and get married and have kids who they take to church and teach that continually protesting the lives, deaths, and daily activities of The World is the only genuine statement of compassion that a God-loving human can sincerely make.
‘As parents, they are attentive and engaged, and the children learn their lessons well.
‘This is my framework.
‘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.’
The sisters then apologize.
They say: ‘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.’