Megan Phelps-Roper Quotes
In spite of overwhelming grief and terror, I left Westboro in 2012.
There's a rich history at Westboro of parodying pop culture. The thing about pop culture is that it gives us a shared language. We were constantly trying to co-opt things that were popular to deliver our own message.
My life was forever changed by people who took the time and had the patience to learn my story and to share theirs with me. They forsook judgment and came to me with kindness and empathy and the impact of that decision was huge.
Whatever state you find yourself in, you're supposed to be content there.
We played video games and read books, and we went to public school. And yeah, we went to amusement parks. We did all of those things, but we also - that was all sort of organized around this nationwide picketing campaign.
If you can see these people... as human beings and capable of change, there is hope. We should be willing to reach out. Imagine what could happen if we kept reaching out to people like Westboro members?
Some people cannot believe there is an alternative interpretation of the Bible aside from their own.
You can't listen to the whole world tell you you're crazy, without wondering, 'Am I crazy?'
I do send messages to my family; I send letters in the mail, and when I'm in town, I almost always leave something in the door of my house in Topeka.
I no longer believe that the Bible is the literal and infallible word of God. And I don't believe in God as a figure in the sky listening to your prayers, things like that.
We believed it was a Good vs Evil situation: that the WBC was right and everybody else was wrong, so there was no questioning. It was a very public war we were waging against the 'sinners.'
My friends on Twitter didn't abandon their beliefs or their principles - only their scorn. They channeled their infinitely justifiable offense and came to me with pointed questions tempered with kindness and humor. They approached me as a human being, and that was more transformative than two full decades of outrage, disdain, and violence.
Whenever people would speculate about the death of my grandfather it was always this very retributive thing. That they were going to picket his funeral after all the things that he had done to so many other people. That vindictiveness is obviously completely understandable. It would make perfect sense.
Growing up in Westboro, there was a culture of celebrating death and tragedy... a very calloused way of seeing other people's pain. After I left, it took me a while to be able to really empathize with what it must have been like for the loved ones of people whose funerals we protested.
All I could do was try to build a new life and find a way somehow to repair some of the damage. People had every reason to doubt my sincerity, but most of them didn't. And - given my history, it was more than I could've hoped for - forgiveness and the benefit of the doubt. It still amazes me.
I was a blue-eyed, chubby-cheeked five-year-old when I joined my family on the picket line for the first time. My mom made me leave my dolls in the minivan. I'd stand on a street corner in the heavy Kansas humidity, surrounded by a few dozen relatives, with my tiny fists clutching a sign that I couldn't read yet: 'Gays are worthy of death.'
There are aspects of Westboro that are, of course, more extreme in the way that certain religious practices manifest. But the idea that the Bible is the infallible word of God, that it's unquestionable - this is common.
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