Thinking Out Loud

February 11, 2013

Westboro: Two Phelps Family Members Flee

Megan Phelps-RoperTwo members of Fred Phelps’ family have exited Westboro Baptist Church including one who was considered an heir apparent to give greater leadership to the clan in the future.  Megan Phelps-Roper and her younger sister Grace have posted their news online and Megan has given several media interviews.

The Toronto Star reported last week:

“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,” wrote Megan Phelps-Roper. “What we can do is try to find a better way to live from here on. That’s our focus.”

The Westboro Baptist Church was started in 1955 by Fred Phelps, Grace and Megan’s grandfather, exclusively for the Phelps family. The parish has been lambasted for protesting the funerals of American soliders, whom they claim died because of America’s acceptance of homosexuality.

The family gained notoriety after a 2007 BBC documentary by Louis Theroux, The Most Hated Family in America, was broadcast. Since then, they’ve gone on to protest at Michael Jackson’s funeral, gay pride parades and other churches. A White House online petition to have the church declared a hate group has garnered more than 330,000 signatures.

Megan Phelps-Roper, 27, was an active voice in the church; she spearheaded the church’s social media presence and was often the brain behind the controversial protests, including one in Newtown, Conn., after the Sandy Hook school shooting.

“She was the visible presence for the younger generation at that church, she was a leader,” said Nate Phelps, Megan’s uncle…

…“The rapid percentage of young people leaving has left this fragmented group,” Phelps told the Star, saying that the [church] has shrunk from 100 members to about 50. “Eventually this will die off. It can’t survive.”

continue reading here

In her online post, Megan Phelps-Roper demonstrates a very balanced perspective on her situation:

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.

continue reading here

The Christian Research Network points out a danger inherent in coming out from a group such as Westboro:

Here lies the tragedy of Megan’s story. In escaping a false, legalistic expression of Christianity, Megan Phelps-Roper finds herself without the saving truth of the gospel. Here it sounds as if she rapidly is wandering into a softer version of the common, yet damning, gospel of good works and a “right life.” And just as Westboro Baptist removed Jesus Christ from their message, so too is Megan Phelps-Roper, now separated from WBC, in danger of proclaiming a gentler message that is just as erroneous if it does not proclaim repentance and forgiveness of sins through faith in Jesus Christ alone.

continue reading here

In the view of Westboro, the sisters are now consigned to the same fate as those they regularly picket, they are going to hell. The Kansas City Star reported:

Steve Drain, a spokesman for the church, said in an interview Wednesday that the sisters had rejected the Lord.

“We can’t control whether or not somebody decides, when they grow up, that they don’t want to be here,” Drain said. “Those two girls were kind of straddling the idea that they wanted to be of the world but that they would also miss their family, the only thing they ever knew. If they continue with the position that they have, those two girls, yeah, they’re going to hell.”

Megan and Grace are among 11 children of Brent and Shirley Roper, who is the daughter of Westboro pastor Fred Phelps.

continue reading here

In an article subtitle, Salon asks, “[W]here do kids raised in hate go now?” The article continues:

And now … two members of the Phelps clan have shown that old Phelps’ revolting influence may not persist into a new generation…

…It’s almost impossible to imagine what it must be like to be that deeply steeped in a culture that almost anyone on the outside looking in would understand to be reprehensible. How strange and confusing it must be to grow up loving and depending upon people who would stand outside a dead soldier’s funeral screaming…

…Megan says, “The environment we grew up in was very ‘us vs. them.’ It’s been nice to see that the ‘them’ have been overwhelmingly kind — as we’d kind of hoped and suspected.” Welcome to the other side of the picket line, Megan. Welcome home.

continue reading here

Indeed, welcome home.

Related article at Thinking Out Loud: The Westboro Children (story of Lauren Drain)

April 2, 2011

To Our Muslim Friends: Everything You Need To Know About Terry Jones

  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for Baptists
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for Pentecostals
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for Charismatics
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for Episcopalians
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for Roman Catholics
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for Quakers
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for Methodists
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for Calvinists
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for Puritans
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for Anglicans
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for Free Methodists
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for Lutherans
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for Anabaptists
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for Mennonites
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for Wesleyans
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for Presbyterians
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for non-denominational Christians
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for the Amish
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for the Greek Orthodox Church
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for the Shakers
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for the Christian & Missionary Alliance
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for the Salvation Army
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for the Mormons
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for the Brethren in Christ
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for the Evangelical Free Church
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for the Pentecostal Holiness Church
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for the Southern Baptist Convention
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for the Apostolic Church
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for the Christian Reformed Church
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for the Church of God in Christ
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for the Assemblies of God
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for the Reformed Church of America
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for the Calvary Chapel Movement
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for the Church of the Nazarene
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for the Harvest Bible Fellowship
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for the Seventh Day Adventists
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for the United Pentecostal Church
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for the United Methodist Church
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for the United Church of Canada
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for the Willow Creek Association
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for Sovereign Grace Ministries
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for Samaritan’s Purse
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for Wycliffe Bible Translators
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for World Vision
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for Compassion International
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for Youth With A Mission
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for Campus Crusade for Christ
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for Youth for Christ
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for Christian broadcasters
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for Christian bookstores
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for Christian musicians
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for Christian bloggers
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for Christian schools
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for Christian universities
  • Terry Jones doesn’t speak for me.

Get the picture?

…And ditto Fred Phelps…Why do the smallest voices get the greatest media attention?

The Silver is the New Black Theme. Blog at WordPress.com.