These days, I’ll take hope from wherever I can find it. I found it this morning in the news that two of Fred Phelps’ granddaughters summoned up the courage to realize the error of their ways and leave the Westboro Baptist Church.
Megan Phelps-Roper, age 27, and her 19-year old sister Grace apparently left the cult community and its hate back in November, and have just decided to go public with the news. Megan posted a blog entry she titled “Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise”.
“There’s no fresh start in today’s world. Any twelve-year-old with a cell phone could find out what you did. Everything we do is collated and quantified. Everything sticks.”
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.
Where do you go from there?
I don’t know, exactly. My sister Grace is with me, though. We’re trying to figure it out together.
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.
Up until now, our names have been synonymous with “God Hates Fags.” Any twelve-year-old with a cell phone could find out what we did. We hope Ms. Kyle was right about the other part, too, though – that everything sticks – and that the changes we make in our lives will speak for themselves.
Megan and Grace
Pretty powerful stuff. She then added a link … just like this: Some questions are answered here.
That link goes to an article written by Jeff Chu about Megan’s decision to leave.
I guess people can change and, perhaps, there is hope for the future.