Megan Phelps-Roper Has Left the Westboro Baptist Church

You all know Nate Phelps — the atheist son of Fred Phelps who has nothing to do with the Westboro Baptist Church and has publicly spoken out against them.

Now, it appears that another two Phelps have followed suit and Jeff Chu has the story of one of them:

Megan Phelps-Roper

For nearly all of her twenty-seven years, Megan believed it: believed what her grandfather Fred Phelps preached from the pulpit; believed what her dad Brent and her mom Shirley taught during the family’s daily Bible studies; believed (mostly) what it said on those signs that have made Westboro disproportionately influential in American life — “God hates fags”; “God hates your idols”; “God hates America.”

I first met Megan in the summer of 2011… She seemed so sure in her beliefs, that I could not have imagined that some fifteen months later, we’d be having a conversation in which she tearfully told me that she was no longer with her family or with the church.

So why did she leave? It started small — someone questioning the literal-ness of one of her signs — and it went from there:

What “seemed like a small thing at the time,” she says, snowballed. She started to question another Westboro sign, “Fags can’t repent.” “It seemed misleading and dishonest. Anybody can repent if God gives them repentance, according to the church. But this one thing — it gives the impression that homosexuality is an unforgivable sin,” she says. “It didn’t make sense. It seemed a wrong message for us to be sending. It’s like saying, ‘You’re doomed! Bye!’ and gives no hope for salvation.”

In December, she went to a public library in Lawrence, Kansas. She was looking through books on philosophy and religion, and it struck her that people had devoted their entire lives to studying these questions of how to live and what is right and wrong. “The idea that only WBC had the right answer seemed crazy,” she says. “It just seemed impossible.”

She’s not an atheist. She’s still working through a lot of her thoughts and she’ll need time to do that. There’s no mention of Nate anywhere in the article, but I hope those two find some way to connect.

In a statement of her own, Megan explained what she’s going through right now:

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.

Incidentally, Megan’s Twitter account recently looked like this…

… and it now looks like this:

It’s a welcome site coming from a Phelps. And it seems like it may only get better.

***Update***: It seems that Libby Phelps Alvarez has also left Westboro Baptist Church.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • Glasofruix

    Inflicting pain on others wasn’t the goal, but it was one of the outcomes.

    The primary purpose of WBC is to offend, i don’t think the “god hates your dead family member” signs were meant to show their support to the families.

    • http://CoffeeShopAtheist.com/blog Patrick

      Their primary goal is to spread the message. Bad advertising is still advertising in the extreme.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    Ugh. Inflicting pain on others was precisely the goal. Not only that, but to inflict so much pain that someone would get upset and get physical… all so the Phelps Klan could file a lawsuit and get money.

  • Stev84
  • LesterBallard

    Good start. Hopefully she’ll be able to get away from the irrationality altogether someday.

  • Thygoddess

    While I think that hurting others is the WBC’s goal, hurting others wasn’t HER goal apparently. Which is why she started questioning and moved away from the hateful church of her gramps.

    I wish her all the best and hope she knows she’s doing something right. And while it’s extremely possible her self-searching won’t end in atheism, it’s at least WAY better than where she was at.

  • http://profiles.google.com/davydd.norris David Philip Norris

    While I’m glad that she’s finally seen reason and has left behind those lunatics, as a gay man who was raised in Christian fundamentalism, I don’t know that I personally could ever forgive Megan for the things she has participated in.

    • http://CoffeeShopAtheist.com/blog Patrick

      If you are incapable of forgiving anyone for being brainwashed, watching her mother be beaten, and seeing her come out of the closest thing to a cult possible, you are no different from the fundamentalists you seem so keen to hate.

      But you can always sadly coddle your past experiences as justification for your unflinching commitment to your befuddled rationale of hating people who change and seek to rectify their past wrongs.

      • http://profiles.google.com/davydd.norris David Philip Norris

        Sorry, hetero Patrick, unless you’ve walked the experience of the LGBT community and borne with the discrimination, hatred and prejudice that we face on a daily basis from Christians, conservatives, and of our own families (who are often the first to turn on us, and with particular animus), you have absolutely no right to judge me for my response to anti-gay bigots, even those who “go straight.”

        • Thomas Farrell

          I’m gay. And you know what? I’ll forgive her if she simply says that she was wrong, gay people are actually okay, and she’s sorry, and if she seems to mean it. I’ll forgive all of them but Fred, because I know he beat his family. But otherwise, it does nobody any good for me to hold a grudge against her – it doesn’t help me feel any better, and it doesn’t help her become a better person and start making a positive contribution to the world instead of a negative one.

          All of the crap we’ve suffered at the hands of christians for hundreds of years is finally winding down, and we’re now in that amazing transitional time when people are actually starting to realize “oh wow, I was *wrong*!”. If we want the world to actually be a better place for us, we need to accept those people and be glad that they learned and help them move on to being better people. Holding a grudge is a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by convincing them that we’re a harsh people who are unable to forgive.

          • http://profiles.google.com/davydd.norris David Philip Norris

            Well, good for you. I personally will have nothing to do with them, reformed or not, which is why I tacked on the caveat of “personally” in the first place.

          • Baby_Raptor

            No. If you WANT to accept and forgive those people, good on you.

            But all anyone is *required* to do for the “good of the movement,” as it were, is not openly flay them in public on sight.

            nobody should be required to forgive and help their oppressors, even if it makes the cause look good. Requiring forgiveness is one of the main ways that abused people are kept down.

            Let people handle their own pain in their own way on their own timetable. Forcing them to act a certain way for looks is wrong and it doesn’t help anyone but the bigots.

            • http://profiles.google.com/davydd.norris David Philip Norris

              Yes. It’s a bit like pressuring wives into not only forgiving abusive husbands but expecting them to be the pursuant in reconciliation.

              • Andrew

                If everyone who has been oppressed were like you, then people like Megan would stay the way they were. Personally, she didn’t really do anything to you so she really had nothing to do with YOUR experience. Which means, you should not only be happy that she has turned a corner, but should be willing to set aside the fact that you got butt-hurt from what the cult said and realize that she was RAISED that way, but came out of it.
                You have no reason to be angry with her. It’s just hypocritical of you.

                • http://profiles.google.com/davydd.norris David Philip Norris

                  “Butt-hurt”? Spoken like a true heterosexual prat there, asshole. You have no *fucking* idea the hell I endured at the hands of Christians as a teenager and young adult just for being gay. No, Megan wasn’t directly responsible but she was definitely a part of the problem, and she owes the gay community at least a huge apology for the things she said and did that were directed at us.

                • The Captain

                  “Spoken like a true heterosexual prat there, asshole” … You know it’s funny, no one else around here keeps bringing up everyone else’s sexuality but you! No one else is hurling sexuality charges like it’s some fucking insult but you!

                  No one else is claiming they had it worse than everyone else growing up so everyone should just shut up, and that lets them hold people like Megan personally responsible for all their woos in their life but you. Everyone else here gets that Megan probably did grow up in a terribly abusive home, everyone else gets how horrible and easy it is to brainwash a child, and how you can’t really assign as much “blame” to them as an adult who comes to those things on their own. Everyone else gets that only now she is getting to make her first real decisions about her life and how she treats others, everyone but you that is. Because everyone else can see past themselves, but you.

                  Maybe when you grow up and stop begin a fucking special little snowflake people will respect you more.

                • http://profiles.google.com/davydd.norris David Philip Norris

                  Fuck off, Captain. You already raised Godwin’s law, you’re done.

                  I bring up sexuality BECAUSE IT WAS A MAJOR POINT OF HER FAMILY’S CAMPAIGN OF HATE!

                • The Captain

                  No I didn’t actually, that was Andrew, pay attention to your own conversations. Or are all heterosexuals just the same to you, you fucking bigot.

                • Andrew

                  Btw, Godwin’s law was used when he believed that people would compare somebody else to a Nazi. Btw, I compared your mentality to the Jews who blame all Germans for the Holocaust. There’s a huge difference on that matter compared to the way that Godwin was using it. You made it perfectly clear that you feel the same way, considering as you seem to blame EVERY HETEROSEXUAL who disagrees with you for your own problems. Grow up, punk.

                • Andrew

                  Let’s look at the way that you responded to the first comment by Patrick. The guy made a perfectly valid response and you replied back by calling him “Hetero Pat.”

                  You’ve already proven that you’re bigoted against straight people in the first place, so why should I have any respect for you?
                  You claimed that Megan had somehow, PERSONALLY, hurt you, which isn’t true at all, so you refused to forgive her or you don’t believe her. Nobody cares about you, bitch, because you give them no reason to.

                • http://profiles.google.com/davydd.norris David Philip Norris

                  Don’t know what I did to PERSONALLY offend you, but your ass has been reported to the mods. Bitch.

                • Andrew

                  You can report me to the moderators all you want, but they’ll look at your crap too. They’re not going to do anything because I haven’t done anything EXCEPT for disagree with you so get used to it.

                • Andrew

                  Considering that you seem to call every heterosexual you come across a “heterosexual” something as if you’re pointing out the fact that they’re “not like you” is proof that you’re nothing more than a bigoted prick who dislikes heterosexuals and blames all of them for his problems. Therefore, Megan is just another one amongst many of us and you’re a loser.

            • Andrew

              If you really believe the crap that you spew, then tell David Phillip Norris to quit whining like a little punk and get over it because Megan Phelps-Roper will also handle her transition in her own way.

            • http://profiles.google.com/davydd.norris David Philip Norris

              Does anyone else think that Andrew is unhealthily obsessed with David Philip Norris?

              • Andrew

                You are unhealthily obsessed with yourself. You respond to every single person on this board and raise stupid claims and insults about people, so why shouldn’t I be allowed to respond to your bigotry and complete inability to accept that not everybody agrees with your opinion?

                • RobMcCune

                  You respond to every single person on this board and raise stupid claims and insults about people,

                  You wouldn’t happen to have a mirror handy would you?

                  not everybody agrees with your opinion?

                  You mean his opinion that he has the right to his opinion? Idiot.

                • Andrew

                  I’ve only gone after DPN because he’s the biggest violator of other people’s right to disagree with him. Not only that, but those claims that he has a “right not to forgive her” and yet attacks people who disagree with his opinion is patently absurd.

                • RobMcCune

                  You are telling him how to feel and who to forgive when he didn’t ask for that advice. The idea that he wouldn’t be offended by that is what’s absurd. That and the fact you get so easily offended by his right to have an opinion.

                • Andrew

                  I didn’t tell him how to feel. I told him that he’s being ridiculous acting like Megan has done something to him personally. There’s something wrong with a person that refuses to forgive a person for not doing anything to them.

                • RobMcCune

                  Megan has been part of a hate campaign against people like David, the idea he must immediately put that in the past is ridiculous.

                • Andrew

                  He put his opinion on a message board. He should understand that people aren’t going to care that he’s merely claiming his PERSONAL OPINION. You also don’t address the fact that he dismisses the opinion of “heterosexuals” as being that of “heterosexuals” as if that makes his opinion more valid.

                • RobMcCune

                  Heterosexuals were telling him he needed to forgive her when they didn’t experience homophobia themselves. His personal experience and his personal feelings are his basis for this whole thing, so yes that does make his opinion on how he should feel more valid than others.

                • Andrew

                  He STARTED the entire thing. Patrick disagreed with him and therefore, he called him “heterosexual Pat”. His opinion isn’t more valid because he’s a homosexual. It’s based on the merits of the given situation and he is being ridiculous. He disregarded the fact that Megan actually said that she “regrets that her actions hurt people” and he IGNORED that part and claimed that because she didn’t apologize to HIM that she isn’t really sorry.

                  That’s irrational and then disregarding the opinions of those who disagree based on the fact they aren’t gay isn’t a good defense.

                • RobMcCune

                  No other people started the entire thing telling him he’s wrong not to forgive. The fact you think that pointing out his critics don’t share his experience is more offensive to you than the condescention he’s responding to shows what warped priorities you have.

                • Andrew

                  No, they told him that RATIONALLY, he has no reason not to forgive, but he didn’t like that. My priorities are creating a more constructive society, which means that when somebody shakes off the chains of a destructive influence that they’ve grown up with, they are accepted and people at least TRY to understand what they were fighting against. By his own admission, DPN admitted that he is being irrational on this matter. “The pain is simply too deep on this issue.” Look back through the board and you’ll see that exact mentality.

                  I know plenty of homosexuals who, at least, make an effort to understand what she faced. She has shaken off those chains and will not act on that influence anymore, so DPN is being asinine when he acts like she hasn’t done so.

                • RobMcCune

                  And why should he, a victim of homophobia have to put up with shit because he won’t immediately go along with your “constructive society”? I’m not one to dictate how someone deals with their past experiences, especially since a few little words about how he feels are apparently a huge deal.

                • Andrew

                  It’s not about accepting or putting up with homophobia, it’s about accepting the fact that people change. It’s like I said in my other comment, “If every homosexual were exactly like him, then people like Megan and Grace would stay the way they are.” The reason being that there would be no justifiable reason to turn that corner.

                  He’s no better than homophobes. He’s a heterophobe because he can’t even accept it when people simply disagree with his opinion. He has to attack them as being “NOT LIKE HIM.” That’s where the disconnect is here. You condone that attitude and I don’t.

                • RobMcCune

                  Has David denied that she change? All he said was that her leaving the WBC didn’t change how we felt. People took offense at that, you most of all, to an irrational degree. That is what he and I are disagreeing with you on, his right to have an opinion, and his right to feel how he feels given his past experience.

                  David has in no way demanded that no one forgive Megan, he’s just resisted the assertion he must forgive her and is wrong not to do so. That is real disconnect here, the fact you call it “heterophobia” is telling. You expect people to just forget the past and move along like inequality never happened and get mad that there are still problems out there and people are angry about them.

                • Andrew

                  Yes, he has claimed that she didn’t change.

                  1) he said that she didn’t apologize to HIM, so he refuses to forgive her because “his pain is just too great on the issue.” In that case, when is his pain not too great and how far does that extend?

                  Nextly, at what point did I even say “heterophobia?” I could give two shits about your neurological disorders. I believe in equality at present, not equality over time. Homosexuals hating on heterosexuals until it is deemed even doesn’t solve any problems between them, so for you to suggest that it is somehow rational not to forgive someone because “the time is not now” is ludicrous.

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                  Not two comments above, you lying sack of shit.

                  “He’s no better than homophobes. He’s a heterophobe because he can’t even accept it when people simply disagree with his opinion.”

                  I have a screencap here, so don’t bother trying to go back and change it.

                • Andrew

                  So I said “heterophobe.” I stand corrected…and I stand by the comment because it’s exactly what he is. When he labels people by their sexual identity first because they disagree with him, then he’s defining them as their sexuality. I didn’t remember directly using the term, but I did take it straight-up, so I’m glad I did because it’s exactly the truth.

                • RobMcCune

                  Is it a whole new bowl for you little goldfish?

                • Andrew

                  If you see this as a bowl, then you don’t know anything about it and you should probably learn what a bowl actually is because this is not one.

                • RobMcCune

                  It’s about how you seem to immediately forget inconvenient parts of the conversation. There’s common saying about how a goldfish can’t remember it’s bowl in the time it takes to swim around it.

                • Andrew

                  That still doesn’t make sense. You are an idiot.

                • RobMcCune

                  You forgot you called David a heterophobe, you forgot I identified myself as straight in less than thirty minutes and you forgot you said nobody cares in the space of 2 comments, and those are the obvious examples I could find easily. Who care’s you’ve probably forgotten the subject by now anyway.

                • Andrew

                  I didn’t at all forget that I said “nobody cares” because I still don’t care about anything that you say because you’re an idiot. In fact, the reason that you still comment on this board is because you’re lonely due to the fact that not even your own parents give a damn about what you say. Poor pobrecito!

                • RobMcCune

                  Lol armchair psychiatrist fail again, you’re the one that necromanced this thread. Who am I kidding you don’t remember. Quit projecting your problems on to me, it’s getting quite pathetic.

                • Andrew

                  Actually, I’ve got your mom on speed-dial, so we’ll see what she has to say about you now.

                • RobMcCune

                  below average trolling … 2/5

                • Andrew

                  Why don’t you try asking her or is she still asleep. Last night was kinda rowdy.

                • Andrew

                  She just confirmed it. She never liked you.

                • RobMcCune

                  I take back the gold fish remark, you’re just 8 years old.

                • Andrew

                  yeah, because 8 year-olds have a habit of making jokes about your mom being a prostitute. How many 8 year-olds do you know? Nvm, I don’t wanna know. I’m gonna guess that you’re a Catholic priest and you know a lot of them intimately.

                • RobMcCune

                  So are you an eight year old copying an older sibling, or a severely stupid jr high student?

                • Andrew

                  That’s a lot of “if”s. If you had a sibling…If they’re in junior high…IF pigs could fly, then so would I. You’re an idiot.

                • RobMcCune

                  sing-songy rhyme, I’ll interpret it as a sign you’re 8, maybe you shouldn’t repeat things you hear your older brother say.

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                  It’s called a metaphor, you neuron-deficient nitwit.

                • Andrew

                  It’s not even a metaphor, you git! It doesn’t remotely make sense as a metaphor. The point of a metaphor is that it makes sense with your given analogy and it makes no sense.

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                  Funny how you’re the only one who couldn’t understand it, innit?

                • RobMcCune

                  Thanks

                • Andrew

                  In addition, you are only defending him because he agrees with YOUR opinion. Your lack of ability to see through your own bias is ridiculous.

                • RobMcCune

                  I am fine with forgiving Megan, and I think this is a positive step that she left her church. Though I’m straight so I’m not going to give a forgive and forget speech to someone who has been hurt by homophobia regarding some of the worst anti-gay bigots. I also won’t take a sanctimonious attitude with a person who had their loved one’s funeral protested.

                • Andrew

                  I will question their reason and rationality because each person’s actions must be taken on their own merits. If there’s an individual that grew up being taught that everyone is going to hell and is worthy of death, they have to grow out of it and I, unlike DPN, understand that and am not tied up in ridiculous emotional quandries. I don’t caudle hypocrites..especially those who show no respect to people who disagree with them.

                  I don’t care what DPN THINKS he has on Megan Phelps, it doesn’t excuse him dismissing the opinions of heterosexuals by DEFINING them as heterosexuals. That’s not WHO THEY ARE and any claim that it supports his viewpoint over theirs is asinine.

                • RobMcCune

                  It’s easy to claim to have an objective, rational opinion on matters which don’t concern you. BTW great rationalist you are to be the judge of other people’s emotions about past experiences you’ve never had.

                  I don’t caudle[sic] hypocrites..especially those who show no respect to people who disagree with them.

                  Physician don’t coddle thy self.

                • Andrew

                  I have already demonstrated on numerous occasions that my thought-process is more rational on several occasions.

                  You know what I think? I think you bullied homosexuals at one point? Maybe you drove one to kill himself, so now you’re a self-loather so you go around pretending that every homosexual you come across has a reason to be upset because you were an asshole.

                  You should feel like crap because you’re entirely irrational and you’ll defend others who are ALSO irrational. Grow up, punk

                • RobMcCune

                  ROFL, you’re more rational than me, then proceed to make shit up. Also I’m straight, as I’ve said before, less than 30 minutes ago.

                  You’re just grasping at straws at this point, nice to see that faux-principled facade come crumbling down

                • Andrew

                  You show the same mentality as some bully who feels terrible about some decision he made. Read back through your own comments. It’s EXACTLY how you speak.

                • RobMcCune

                  Gone from superior rationality to psychic have we? I’m fairly sure you’ve run out arguments, or you wouldn’t try misdirection and personal attacks. Maybe it’s that I’m just not fun to troll, and you thought you could get a rise out of me with that one. Too bad your arm chair psychiatry was laughably wrong.

                • Andrew

                  You have the same mentality. The problem is that you’ve been on the losing end of this argument the entire time, you just couldn’t accept it.
                  Talking to people like you is like talking to a brick wall. Your brain is equally as small and you’re equally as moral as a brick, which is not at all.

                • RobMcCune

                  Just declaring victory again are we? Well you can’t really expect to “win” any other way can you? You are the one who is irrationally targeting someone for how feel about homophobes, and get incredibly offended by the idea he has a right to his opinion. If you’re bored you can go troll somewhere else.

                • Andrew

                  I’m not OFFENDED by anything. I simply pointed out how he was being irrational. YOU seem to have gotten offended because you’re acting like are the ultimate defender of “homosexuals” when you’re not really defending them at all..just his brand of homosexuals that take offense to everything NOT homosexual.

                • RobMcCune

                  What a bunch of bullshit, no one is taking offense at anything for not being homosexual. Try making actual arguments.

                • Andrew

                  He did just that by identifying people who disagreed with him by what he perceived as their sexual orientation. “Hetero Pat.” Now, I know that you’re him with a fake account.

                • RobMcCune

                  Wrong again, you are just full of fail today. David pointed out orientation because the people criticizing him for the way he feels weren’t victims of homophobia

                • Andrew

                  Wrong. Pat pointed out that he was being irrational by refusing to accept that she had even apologized. She said that she regrets that what she had done hurt people. Yeah, she didn’t turn the corner at all.(Sarcasm, since you’re stupid enough not to understand it.)

                • RobMcCune

                  And whether or not that makes David feel better about her isn’t about reason at all. Trying to tell him he’s wrong for the way he feels about his experience with homophobia, which most if not all of his critics don’t share, is condescendtion on Pat’s part. That you think calling some one hetero amounts to hating everything that isn’t homosexual is absurd. You’re making mountains out of molehills, and have a cranky obsession with it.

                • Andrew

                  Actually, it is EXACTLY about rationality and reason. Holding a grudge against somebody who didn’t do anything to you personally ISN’T reasonable OR rational.

                  Did you even read his comments. He called him “Hetero Pat” and went on to DISMISS everything that he said because he’s “NOT GAY.” That’s irrational to the highest degree.

                • RobMcCune

                  Telling someone how their emotions should work given personal feelings about a traumatic past is irrational to the highest degree to everyone but sci-fi robots. Try looking into what rationality really means.

                • Andrew

                  Rationality is how your mental process works to develop conceptions about the world and people around you. Rationality dictates that not every person in a group is directly responsible for how vile the group is, especially when they were indoctrinated into those views.

        • http://www.facebook.com/brian.westley Brian Westley

          It seems you think WBC members didn’t display the same hatred towards atheists.

          • http://profiles.google.com/davydd.norris David Philip Norris

            The WBC hates anyone who isn’t an intolerant bigot. They’re an equal opportunity hate group. They hate atheists, yet no one is born an atheist in the same way a person is born gay. Ultimately atheists choose to be atheists. I didn’t have a choice in being born gay, yet the WBC and fundamentalist Christians insist on attempting to make life hell for us because they find our very existence inconvenient.

            • http://www.facebook.com/brian.westley Brian Westley

              “Ultimately atheists choose to be atheists.”

              Uh, no. I can’t choose to be an atheist, either. And I don’t cotten to self-made martyrs.

              • http://profiles.google.com/davydd.norris David Philip Norris

                Yes, it’s true that we’re all born without religious belief. But no one is trying to deny basic human rights to atheists. No one has necessarily been mercilessly bullied in school or beaten to death in the street just for being suspected of being an atheist. Go ahead and call this whining if you want, but Megan has contributed to this culture of homophobia. She had a lot to answer for still, and I’ve yet to hear so much as an apology from her to the LGBT community or the families of soldiers whose funerals she picked at.

                • Conspirator

                  David, I’m not going to criticize or judge you for not wanting to forgive Megan. I don’t know you or what you’ve been throw, nor can I even imagine to relate to your experiences.

                  However what you’ve said about atheists is 100% wrong. We are the most distrusted group in the US. There are laws (unconstitutional but they exist) in some states preventing atheists from holding public office. Heck, in some countries it is illegal to be an atheist (just as it is to be gay no doubt). And atheists are bullied and attacked all the time. Just ask Jessica Ahlquist.

                • http://profiles.google.com/davydd.norris David Philip Norris

                  I clearly worded that insufficiently. Being gay and being an atheist are two entirely different things. Atheism is something that’s added on to who you are as a human being. It’s an important part that shapes how you view the world and make moral decisions. Being homosexual, on the other hand, is as intrinsic to self-identity as the color of your skin.

                  Yes, I know the statistics about atheists being trusted less than rapists. Atheists are mistrusted, yes. Jessica Ahlquist was treated badly. But gays are truly despised in this country. Granted, that statistic is dwindling—but have you listened to what the likes of Maggie Gallagher, Brian Brown and John Nienstedt are saying to (successfully) stir up their audience? Who’s seemingly blamed for every natural disaster? For the perversion of children? For spreading AIDS and other diseases (gays still can’t give blood in the U.S.)? Hell, we’re having to appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States to have DOMA and Prop 8 overturned, just for the *potential* for the freedom to marry! When has an atheist couple had to carry all their legal documents on flash drives in case one of them ends up in the hospital and the other has to prove to doctors and staff that they’re spouses, just to be allowed in the hospital room?

                  We could play “Who Has It Worse?” all day. But the uncomfortable truth is that Megan contributed significantly to that culture of homophobia, and a simple “I left my family/let’s be friends now” isn’t going to suffice or undo the damage that I and other LGBT Americans have to live with.

                • Andrew

                  “and a simple “I left my family/let’s be friends now” isn’t going to
                  suffice or undo the damage that I and other LGBT Americans have to live
                  with.”

                  I don’t think she really much cares about being your friend with that attitude of yours. I know I wouldn’t. She simply said that she wishes that she didn’t hurt people like she did and she accepts the reality of the situation. The fact that you act like a self-righteous prick and find it necessary to degrade every person who disagrees with your personal opinion shows that you don’t actually care about the reality and difficulty of her decision.

                  That being said, your opinion is now rendered irrelevant by the fact that it’s misleading and self-destructive.

                • Zadius

                  David, I’m not going to address the issue of forgiveness other than to say it’s a personal choice. But, you’re too dismissive of the experiences of atheists. There are documented cases of school children being bullied and beaten for refusing to recite the pledge of allegiance over the words ‘under god.’ They’re attacked for being ‘godless’ which is a term used pejoratively all the time and rarely gets challenged. The national motto of the United States excludes us. We’re often afraid to tell our family and friends for fear they’ll disown us. We’re afraid we might lose our jobs if our employers find out we don’t believe in god. We’re assumed to be immoral and easily corrupted.

                  I’m sure you know all this, since you’re posting on an atheist blog, and I’m also not trying to make a false equivocation and say that atheists have it just as bad as gays and lesbians. But we don’t have it good either. We share a lot of the same problems. We have the same enemies. We’re natural allies. We don’t need this decisive argument about who has it worse. And the whole argument about whether it’s a choice is irrelevant. I don’t think homosexuality or atheism is a choice, but even if it was, consider me pro-choice. Why should a choice make someone a legitimate target for hate?

                • Vanadise

                  Hi, David. I got bullied in school for being an atheist. I got shoved, kicked, punched, had my belongings stolen, and had the administration turn a blind eye to all of that while other students told me I was going to Hell. There are atheists around the world who have been beaten and thrown in prison for being atheists, but I’m not going to do your research for you, you can use Google.

                  So stop acting like you’re the only person who’s ever been oppressed and nobody else knows what you feel like. You’re just making yourself look like an asshole who’s trying to be a martyr.

                • http://profiles.google.com/davydd.norris David Philip Norris

                  Jesusfuckingchrist, this isn’t about who has it worse! Up until now I’ve attempted to be respectful and not resort to name-calling. Yeah, you got kicked around for being an atheist, and unlike you I don’t belittle that. That’s your experience and that’s valid. And guess what? I was kicked around too for being gay, even before I came out. You at least can hide as an atheist. A gay kid in high school is born with a fucking sign taped to his back already, giving every teen asshole free license to make his or her life a living hell.

                  Who were Megan’s signs directed at? “Atheists Burn in Hell”? “God Hates Atheists”? Is what two atheists under the “U.S.A. Sin” sign? No. “God Hates Fags.” “Fags Burn In Hell.” Her signs were directed at me. That’s not making myself out to be a martyr. Those fucking signs were directed at me and the rest of the LGBT community, and she owes us the bare minimum of a fucking apology. Granted, few people take Westboro Baptist seriously any more than we take any crazy people seriously.

                  I’m pointing out that for years she was a major player in spreading toxic hatred of the LGBT community, targeting us specifically, and no one seems to realize that. She’s shown remorse, sure, but she hasn’t bloody apologized for the pain she’s caused. She doesn’t have to apologize to me [personally, but she damn well owes the gay community at least a couple years of volunteer service.

                • Vanadise

                  Are we reading the same thread? You’ve engaged in name calling and disrespect quite a bit so far. Some examples that were directed specifically at people in this thread:
                  hetero Patrick
                  heterosexual prat
                  asshole
                  Fuck off

                  And how exactly does it work that it’s obvious that you’re gay but not obvious when somebody is atheist? Are all of the people across the world who are “in the closet” just lying to themselves because they’ve actually got a big sign above them saying they’re gay?

                  I’m not saying anything about Megan’s behavior here. She’s committed plenty of offenses against the LGBT community, and it’s up to you whether you forgive her for anything. What I’m saying is that you’re being an asshole and need to get off your “Nobody can understand me because nobody’s been abused like I’ve been abused!” high horse and stop acting like a martyr.

                • http://profiles.google.com/davydd.norris David Philip Norris

                  Later, troll.

                • The Other Weirdo

                  I don’t think that word means what you think it means.

                • Andrew

                  Wait! Why didn’t I see this one earlier? You really are a son of a bitch! “Who has it worse?” is EXACTLY what you made this about. You claimed that you could never forgive Megan Phelps because of what you’ve been through and then claimed that nobody else could understand because they’re “NOT GAY LIKE YOU, GAY DAVID” and then she tells you that you’re not the only one who has been hated on and you should stop being selfish and you treat her like crap!

                  I didn’t actually say it before, “FUCK YOU!”

                • http://profiles.google.com/davydd.norris David Philip Norris

                  Please seek psychiatric help. You’re clearly mentally unhinged.

                • Andrew

                  Says the guy who can’t actually defend himself.

                • http://profiles.google.com/davydd.norris David Philip Norris

                  If you were a sane, rational person I’d bother making arguments. You, however, have proven yourself several times over to be a crazy person. One doesn’t argue with the insane.

                • Andrew

                  Yet, you can’t give any examples of statements that weren’t rational or are insane. Gee, what a valid point. You, in fact, have not actually justified your attitude, logically, one time on this entire chat board.

                • 2jackets

                  “Megan has contributed to this culture of homophobia”
                  I’m not sure that Megan or the WBC are the real culprits in all of this. (In fact even the possibility that their actions have alienated people into actively supporting gay rights is worth considering.) But the CULture of outwardly respectible conservative bible believing chritianity -which has far more adherents- is possibly far more culpable in creating a breeding ground for homophobia. And you could argue it has created the ‘cultural space’ in which WBC can operate.

              • ruth

                Right. Just like I can’t choose to believe in God. Many people think all I need to do is chose to believe. Sorry. it doesn’t work that way.

            • John_in_Vegas

              We are all born atheists. We choose religion. I am gay too and like you, I find it difficult to forgive those hateful people. However, if we are ever going to win true equality, we must acknowledge the converted and accept them openly as allies in our struggle or risk losing their support.

              • hmmm

                Am I blind or is all of this a pointless argument because nowhere in her article does Megan ask for forgiveness… she even goes so far as to say she may not even change what she has done up to this point…. If you choose to go out of your way to pre emptively forgive her, then more power to you, but if she isn’t apologetic or regretful, then I don’t see the point of this argument.

                • http://profiles.google.com/davydd.norris David Philip Norris

                  “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.”

                  She makes a public statement acknowledging that she’s behaved wrongly, yet couldn’t be bothered to actually apologize to the people she’s hurt. It’s as if a murderer said at the trial: “I know that I’ve done things that hurt people. Inflicting pain on others wasn’t the goal, but it was one of the outcomes. I wish it wasn’t so, and regret that hurt.”

                  Megan wants to be free of her monstrous family, yet refuses to take full responsibility for her actions by directly apologizing to the people she’s hurt. Were I in her place, I’d’ve issued a public apology, offering to make restitution in any way the people I’d wronged saw fit. Why is everyone so quick to accept her unconditionally when she yet hasn’t done the decent thing by acknowledging her victims and their suffering? The only thing she’s done here is offer a naive mea culpa.

                • Francoise

                  It’s early days for Megan and Grace, so I counsel patience and compassion. Remember, we only know some of the crap about their lives. They’ve suffered- everyone in WBC suffers because of Foamin’ Fred’s narcissistic delusions, but we’ll never know the full extent of their pain. I know how screwed up a cult can make a person, and when they’re “decompressing”, they do need time to chill out and grasp new realities. I’m sure they’ll apologise when they learn empathy for others. The fact they they had the guts to defect is wonderful news, and I commend them for it. I had a violent, narcissistic father and I know how deeply damaging and wounding it is for all who have to live with such a creep.

                • ReadsInTrees

                  I agree. I sent Megan a message on Facebook just to tell her how brave I feel she is.

                • http://profiles.google.com/davydd.norris David Philip Norris

                  If she were brave, she’d have waited to go public until she could apologize for the pain and misery she’s caused. Honestly, people!

                • Pseudonym

                  I’m not saying that she isn’t brave, but she should have waited to go public until she could apologize for the pain and misery she’s caused.

                  I’m completely ignorant on this point, but let me suggest that you may have had one advantage that Megan and Grace don’t: at the time that you left fundamentalism, you weren’t already a public figure.

                  How to issue a public statement may well be part of a WBC child’s upbringing (I don’t know), but how to issue a public apology probably isn’t. Plus, in these days of social media, it generally doesn’t occur to people under the age of 30 that they should hire a PR firm before saying something that the world can see.

                • Andrew

                  Nobody cares what you consider an apology or what you have to say on the matter. She was granted an interview and she made sure she used it to admit that she regretted her actions. Who cares whether or not you liked it?

                • RobMcCune

                  You apparently care a great deal, a bit too much, IMO. Why are you still here?

                • DavidNorris

                  I’m thinking someone is obsessed with David Philip Norris…

                • Andrew

                  I’m still here because “David Philip Norris, who likes to talk about himself in third person, continually shows a disregard for th viewpoints of all those who disagree with him. You don’t have a problem with him consistently talking crap on people, but when somebody disagrees, you have a problem? You two are ridiculous.

                • http://profiles.google.com/davydd.norris David Philip Norris

                  Dude, I already have a boyfriend. Sounds like you need to find one too. Or maybe a TV show to obsess over.

                • Andrew

                  You already have a boyfriend, so you stalk articles about the WBC to prove what a “homosexual” you are? LAME!

                • http://profiles.google.com/davydd.norris David Philip Norris

                  Q.E.D.

                • RobMcCune

                  You just said “nobody care” and you clearly care a lot, seriously am I arguing with a gold fish? Is this a whole new bowl for you?

                • Pseudonym

                  It’s early days for Megan and Grace, so I counsel patience and compassion.

                  This is very important. Megan and Grace have just lost the only family they have ever known, and are still coming to terms the abuse that they have suffered, not to mention the hurt they caused other people.

                  Right now, what they need is space. They need to look after themselves (and each other) first and foremost. If we have learned nothing else from airline safety messages, you need to put your own oxygen mask on before assisting others.

                • John_in_Vegas

                  Forgiveness is not really the point of the argument. Our ultimate goal is to gain full acceptance. As people begin to abandon their narrow-minded opinions, it is up to us to embrace them and provide encouragement to join our struggle to overcome the existing prejudice. Forgiveness is usually the next step.

                • Andrew

                  Does the word “regret” mean anything to you? She said that she “regrets” that her actions hurt people. She said she was wrong and she’s going to do her best to do it right from now on. That’s an admission, clown.

            • Andrew

              Are you kidding me? Every person on earth is born an atheist. Hate is a matter of nurture, not nature. Also, what you believe is not actually a choice. It’s a matter of how your brain is hard-wired to receive evidence and how you’re nurtured to understand information. She finally got over the failed nurturing of the church and realized that she is better than that so for you to act like she didn’t change, despite the fact that she left her family is asinine and hypocritical.

        • Bad_homonym

          Wow, I hope you can learn to be more forgiving at least to those trying to be better people. I haven’t walked your mile, or that of an African-American , or a native or etc. what I can offer is empathy! It’s all I have! I would hope for the same in return as I was also indoctrinated (although I wasn’t taught to be outwardly hateful) by the church and my family. I too no longer hold those ridiculous ideals and would hope that I could be forgiven for a shitty world view that I had no real control over as a young man. I faced my own battle with my questioning of doctrine and only after many years was able to realize who I used to be, but more importantly who I really am! I hope we can all realize the part we play in this great cosmic experiment called life!

          Cheers from a reformed bigot!

          • http://profiles.google.com/davydd.norris David Philip Norris

            I hear what you’re saying, and certainly wish I could be more forgiving, but for me the pain is just too great and too deep. Let those who haven’t suffered years of abuse by bigots do the outreach and the reconciling. For me, there’s too much wrong for them to answer for.

        • http://twitter.com/Corniwhistler Conja Summerlin

          David. I know you might not be able to forgive Megan. But as a Lesbian who has personally been hurt by WBC. Who has repeatedly had to cross their picket lines just to attend church Sunday mornings, I already have.

          You have your own journey but I know how vile these people are and how thoroughly brainwashed she was because I know how manipulative and evil her mother and her grandfather are. So I, for one, forgive her and pray for her healing.

          She may never get to the point I would like her to get, which is to see that being gay is definitely a biological state and not a sin, but to now see that it’s not an unforgivable sin and that a good person who happens to be gay won’t go to hell is almost tantamount to turning water into wine in my book.

      • coyotenose

        Right, because you are the Commandant of How Abused And Injured People Are Allowed To Feel. And in Commandant’s World, being upset at having been abused is exactly equal to abusing people. Sod off.

      • Baby_Raptor

        Uh, yeah, Fuck you and the horse you rode in on. In no way, shape or form are victims EVER required to forgive. And you’re not moral for thinking we are. You’re an enabling asshat.

        • The Other Weirdo

          Required? No. But it can help, for some people and under some circumstances. Not because of the effect it can have on the offender, but on the victim. No one is obligated, however, that is true.

    • The Captain

      Don’t get me wrong, I can hold a grudge for decades, but only when someone does something to me personally. So just wondering what did Megan PERSONALLY do to YOU?

      You say you could never “personally” forgive her, so that mens she “personally” did something to you. So what was it? I’m betting it was nothing. I bet you have never “personally” meet her have you? No, Megan’s unforgivable crime was she belonged to a group that broadly hated other groups and for that you will forever hate her in exchange no matter how her opinions have changed. Fine, that’s your right, but it makes you not a whole lot better than them in my book, and at the least a general asshole.

      I’m reminded of a long article I recently read about how Rwandans who had survived the massacre where asking to, and meeting with the people who had in some cases killed their families or friends. These people where forgiving (and asking for forgiveness) each other for the horrific atrocities that had been done to them. I can’t help but think what better human being those people are than you. But I suppose personally forgiving the person who chopped up your village with a machete while you hide under your relatives bodies pales in comparison to forgiving someone who held up a sign at someone else funeral huh?!

      • http://profiles.google.com/davydd.norris David Philip Norris

        No one asked for your magnanimous feedback, Captain. I’m sick of all the bloody heterosexuals telling me I should be happy to bury the proverbial hatchet and play nice. As coyotenose wrote above, Sod off.

        • The Captain

          Hmm let me see, I’d say about as many people asked me for my opinion as asked you for yours to begin with right? Or do you think your opinions are somehow “special”.

          Also when did I say I was “heterosexual”? What information are you basing that belief on? And why would a heterosexuals opinions be invalidated because of their sexuality? Your not saying some peoples sexuality makes their opinions better than others are you? Sounds like what Meagan used to do, at least she came around and left that bigoted way of thinking. You seem to have a real problem with “heterosexuals” don’t you?

          • http://profiles.google.com/davydd.norris David Philip Norris

            Your dismissive tone is consistent with that of privileged white heterosexual males accustomed to having everything handed to them. My apologies if that reading was mistaken.

            A heterosexual’s opinion isn’t invalidated because of their orientation. It’s only invalid if said heterosexual dismisses the abuse and pain that the LGBT community has suffered at the hands of people like Megan, and assumes to know anything of being on the receiving end of that abuse and denigration.

            • The Captain

              “privileged white heterosexual males accustomed to having everything handed to them” Free thought Blogs are that way —>

              But really you claim I’m the one “dismissive” yet it’s you who feels you can judge individuals and the worth of their opinions by arbitrary categories you group them into and then judge them and their experiences by. How do you know a white heterosexual male hasn’t had a shit life, or doesn’t support LGBT rights? But hey, as long as you feel those groups categorically dismiss you, you can categorically dismiss them. Why bother rising above the shit when you can willow in it huh? The A+ crowd must love you.

              • http://profiles.google.com/davydd.norris David Philip Norris

                Perhaps you missed this, El Capitan: “A heterosexual’s opinion isn’t invalidated because of their orientation. It’s invalid if said heterosexual dismisses responses to the abuse and pain that the LGBT community has suffered at the hands of people like Megan as merely reactive, and assumes to know anything of being on the receiving end of that abuse and denigration.”

                I dismiss opinions that come from prats, or people who clearly don’t know what they’re talking about. Frankly, no heterosexual male who supports LGBT rights or has an ounce of empathy would flippantly equate me with the WBC or sarcastically refer to what Megan did as a member of the group as an “unforgivable crime,” as if I’m making mountains out of proverbial molehills. That’s about as dehumanizing and degrading a tactic as a person can make.

                Plus, no gay man would ever choose a handle like “The Captain.” Call it linguistic gaydar. (And it’s “wallow,” not “willow.” Proofread!)

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-De-Fleuriot/611844223 Mike De Fleuriot

          So how is that burden of hate that you are carrying working out for you?

          From here it looks like a tough load to carry, but I guess that is sitting acceptably on your shoulders now, and you have gotten used to the pain. Well used to it until you see another human willing to treat you like a human, then you fling that pain at them and tell them to sod off.

          You are your own problem and generate responses like mine with that attitude. Time to grow the hell up and be a better human I think.

          • http://profiles.google.com/davydd.norris David Philip Norris

            “Time to grow the hell up and be a better human I think.” Hello, pot. Meet kettle.

            See my reply to The Captain below.

          • Baby_Raptor

            I’ve seen no proof that Megan is willing to treat gays (or anyone else she used to hate) like a human being. All I see is a person releasing a statement about how she escaped a cult. She may be serious, or she may just be doing PR. We don’t know.

            Until she actually shows some remorse, I’m not going to go around assuming anything.

            Also, look in the mirror and read your last statement again. You’re no better than you think David is being. He’s miles above you; he’s trying to work through years of abuse and pain. You’re just being a child and degrading him because he doesn’t meet your personal standards.

        • Andrew

          Stop feeling sorry for yourself, you whiny little rodant! The reason that people don’t respect you is NOT because you’re gay, but because you’re a whiny, little, self-righteous prick and act like you have never treated anyone badly. We should hold a grudge against you for that, alone.

          • http://profiles.google.com/davydd.norris David Philip Norris

            No, I haven’t treated anyone badly, but I’m willing to bet you have. You’ll also notice that I haven’t called anyone names. I guess there are just as many atheist assholes as there are Christian assholes.

            • Andrew

              Yeah, you have. Every time somebody disagrees with you or voices their objection to your hypocrisy, you not only dismiss them, but you always have to take some shot at them. You’ve already wronged people on this board alone. You refuse to forgive Megan Phelps-Roper because you’re a hypocrite of the lowest order. You do the LGBT community a disservice when you pretend that you even remotely represent them.

              • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                Oh, SHUT UP. He has EVERY right to his feelings and opinions, so STOP.

              • RobMcCune

                Because telling him how to feel is everyone’s business, especially yours. You haven’t exactly taken the high road in this conversation your self, you clearly don’t exemplify the tolerance and forgiveness you preach. How about you fuck off until you can behave in way you expect to, hypocrite.

          • RobMcCune

            Let’s see a person quits a cult without necessarily changing their bigoted beliefs, then you throw a fit because not everybody responds with smiles and group hugs?

            Fuck you and the horse you rode in on troll.

            • http://profiles.google.com/davydd.norris David Philip Norris

              I wouldn’t say that Megan hasn’t changed her bigoted beliefs. If we’re to take her at her word, she and her sister have. It’s her non-apology that I take issue with. It’s she and not Chris Culliver who ought to be logging years of volunteer hours with the Trevor Project.

              • RobMcCune

                I didn’t read the news article, so I don’t know whether she still views homosexuality as a sin. From the selected quotation it seemed she only changed her view about repentance for gays and church authority. I could easily be wrong about that though.

      • Baby_Raptor

        Shut the Fuck up until you’ve been there. Only then can you even begin to have any idea what you’re talking about.

        • The Captain

          “Shut the Fuck up” … you don’t tell me what to fucking do or what I have a idea about!

      • Mogg

        What’s with the forgiveness police? I always thought the belief that someone could dictate when and if they feel hurt or offended or should forgive something belonged to Christians. Seems I was wrong! There’s absolutely nothing wrong with refusing to forgive something hurtful just because someone on the internet says so.

        • http://profiles.google.com/davydd.norris David Philip Norris

          Sigh. That’s what I’m wondering. All I said was *personally*, I don’t think I could forgive her for what she’s done. Never said that anyone else shouldn’t. Criminy…

          • Andrew

            She didn’t do ANYTHING to you personally, so you holding a grudge is the equivalent of a black man who has never been a slave holding a grudge against all white men because their ancestors were enslaved or a Jew who was never part of the Holocaust holding a grudge against all Germans, despite the fact that it wasn’t them, personally being involved. You’re ridiculous!

            • Ibis3

              David isn’t saying that he blames all straight people for the oppression of gay people. You’re strawmanning. And Godwinning for good measure.

              • http://profiles.google.com/davydd.norris David Philip Norris

                Exactly. We can hold people responsible for the things they say and do.

                • Andrew

                  You’re not holding her responsible at all. She turned a corner and admitted that what she did was wrong AND she also said that she’s sorry about it. They just didn’t show that part of it in this article. She has made other apprearances. You, frankly, just don’t seem to care because you LIKE holding grudges, clown!

              • Andrew

                That’s not a strawman at all. Megan has done nothing to him so him blaming her is the equivalent of the same mindset. I also never said that he DOES blame all straight people. It’s called an analogy. Who’s strawmanning again?

            • http://profiles.google.com/davydd.norris David Philip Norris

              And there it is, Godwin’s law. The conversation is now over.

              • The Other Weirdo

                Here’s Godwin’s Law for you. I don’t think it means what you think it means.

            • RobMcCune

              From what I’ve read David isn’t holding a grudge against innocent people, he’s saying he’s not going to instantly feel better about a bigot after they change a little. Disliking homophobes isn’t the same as racism, because people aren’t born homophobic.

              Btw, he didn’t do ANYTHING to her, so I don’t see how he’s obligated to change in anyway whatsoever.

              • Andrew

                No, he doesn’t have to forgive her. He has to stop lashing out and being a douchebag to people who disagree with him. When he gets angry, the punches get sloppy. People simply say, “Well, isn’t that a bit childish of you?”, which is simply a question. All he has to say is “I don’t believe so,” but he lashes out instead.

                • RobMcCune

                  Right, because everybody coming out of the woodwork to tell him how to feel about this only want what’s best for best for him and aren’t condescending assholes in the slightest. Btw you seem to be projecting about the whole lashing out thing.

                • Andrew

                  No HE came out of the woodwork to say that he would not forgive Megan Phelps-roper because of his personal bias. People disagree with him. It’s a fact of life. What he should NOT have done is lash out at EVERY SINGLE PERSON who disagrees with him by labelling them as “heterosexual,” thereby dividing himself even further from them.

                • RobMcCune

                  It’s an internet comment thread you idiot! He has a right to his opinion, then you and a bunch of other people showed up to tell him he didn’t. Why are you so aggrieved that someone resents being told how to handle abuse you didn’t have to deal with?

                • Andrew

                  He has the right to an opinion, but you’re attacking me for mine. Right. You’re an idiot.

                • RobMcCune

                  Your opinion is that you can attack him because he will not easily forgive a WBC member for their hate. You are telling him how to feel about his experience being a gay evangelical. You are the one intruding on his business and the flying into a rage because he doesn’t like it.

                  I doubt you can comprehend why that is wrong, but there’s a clear difference between what you are doing and calling you out on your bullshit.

                • Andrew

                  It’s not merely about his opinion on Megan Phelps-Roper, but also about how he regards people that don’t agree with him. He couldn’t defend his position, so he called Patrick “hetero Patrick” as his way of saying, “You couldn’t possibly understand because you’re not like me.”
                  It’s the most juvenile tactic that you can possibly use and he’s refered to several other people, including myself, on this board by their sexuality as a way of trying to distinguish himself and pretend that he’s some kind of expert. It’s INCREDIBLY dishonest and a patent violation of the very opinion that he wants to claim.

                • RobMcCune

                  Which is a good defense of his position, considering his position is about who he personally will forgive.

                • Andrew

                  If you consider that a “good defense,” then you’re already lost.

                • RobMcCune

                  Of course you just declare it rather than prove it, so rational.

                • Andrew

                  I don’t have to prove it. It’s NATURALLY not a defense. I’ve already demonstrated that it’s flawed. You haven’t given a reason why it’s a valid way to assess an opinion.

                • RobMcCune

                  The discussion has been people telling David how to feel and the response from David has been that they can’t understand how he feels if they lack his experience. His feelings on the issue have been informed by his experience with homophobia. A heterosexual is unlikely to have experienced the receiving end of homophobia. As a result it’s a pretty safe bet that a heterosexual doesn’t the same feelings as a result of experience and probably won’t have an analogous experience. Because of this the person criticizing David probably has no frame of reference to relate, all the while dictating how he is to respond.

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                  Exactly!

    • Matthew Delemos

      I doubt I can either, but I will stop short of saying it’s impossible. Oh, and I see you’ve managed to attract people that are willing to demonstrate why there is still a problem with their line of thinking. Perhaps they have trouble reading the signs these people display on a regular basis.

      • http://profiles.google.com/davydd.norris David Philip Norris

        Not impossible, but certainly extremely difficult. Thanks, Matthew.

      • Andrew

        Hey clown, I’m an atheis from Kansas, so I’m not unaware of their bigotry. I grew up a Christian and STILL hated WBC. I’ve had 4 different run-ins with them protesting things that I was a part of.

        They protested across from the church where I had Music, Art and Drama Camp and we counter-protested in our off-time and ran them off.
        They also protested a play that I was a part of in college and I attended a counter-protest when they were objecting to a speaker at one of the other schools in town.

        They also protested near the school where we had choir contest in high school, so I’m not unaware of their bigotry.
        However, unlike you two, I understand that it’s not easy to break free when you grew up in a religious household..not to mention from a grandfather and mother who are tyrants. I’m willing to forgive her actions from those times because I care about the human condition and I understand that it’s important for the very fabric of our society. We live together in this country and practicing bigotry in response to bigotry does nothing but pour gas on the fire and make it harder for people to change.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=593952864 Angelia Phillips

    Knowing Nate’s story I wonder how much of the same abuse this young woman faced. At least now she can seek her own answers and what ever path she chooses from here on out will be her own.

  • Haha USA

    Is this an early Xmas gift or a late one?

    Whatever. I’ll take it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=608057740 Greg Scott

    Good for her.

  • Jacob

    More evidence that WBC is falling apart.
    Seeing this brings me much joy.

  • Carter

    Hopefully she will become an atheist and finally throw off the shackles of utter delusion…

  • Rain

    She’s the one that did the Lady Gaga parody music video. I figured there was a pop star in her wanting to break out.

  • http://www.twitter.com/alcrans Aloysius Cranston

    I am very moved by this development, and I’m thrilled that visiting a public library contributed to it.

    • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

      A proposed billboard for Topeka, Kansas in the WBC neighborhood:

      • http://www.twitter.com/alcrans Aloysius Cranston

        I support this. Knowledge is the enemy!

    • Supermoves3000

      And talking to someone on the internet. Who asked her a question that made her think.

      I’m also moved by this. Religious people like to use the word “saved”… I think Megan has been saved in a more real sense. She’s a bright young woman with a world of potential, and she could do great things now that she has decided to look beyond the WBC.

    • A Portlander

      I was shocked (though gratified) when I read that. I don’t know how I got this impression, but I thought WBC members didn’t leave the compound except to protest.

      Hm. Maybe that’s why; the word “compound”, which is invariably how their spread is referred to in the media, comes loaded with certain connotations.

      • Andrew

        Actually, that’s not completely true. The kids were actually allowed to go to public school. They just really couldn’t date unless they left the group. They were allowed to interact with the other kids at the schools, but remember also that they were told to look at everything through the lens of their religion.
        The chains aren’t easy to break, regardless, so I’m glad that she and Grace got free because I always thought from what I saw of her, that she was among the cooler members.

        • RationalThinker

          Interesting….

          Do you have any idea how they do find ‘mates’? Her last name is hyphenated…. is that because she is married, or does she have both parents last names? Just curious.

          But seriously, I would love to know how these people meet mates….. I guess there are enough pathetically lonely people in the world that even they can find someone to breed with.

  • http://hauntedtimber.wordpress.com/ timberwraith

    The thing is, the Westboro folks are the demented clowns of Evangelical/conservative Christianity. They are so completely over the top that even the Christian Right is ashamed to be associated with them. You can always count on the Westboro clown car to unload at the most inappropriate times in the most inappropriate places. Their impact has been limited because nearly everyone thinks they’re warped and idiotic.

    I think the right wing Christians who are PR savvy are a far bigger a problem. The Westboro clan often serves as a distraction from far more hurtful groups who engage in far more hurtful actions.

    Nevertheless, I think it’s great that these two women left this church. I wish them the best.

    • Lagerbaer

      Well, they have their share in defining the Overton window.

      • http://hauntedtimber.wordpress.com/ timberwraith

        Hi Lagerbaer. Sorry for responding days later.

        If I’m understanding the notion of the “Overton window” correctly, I think the effect of extreme voices such as the Westboro people to “push the boundaries of acceptable dialog” is limited in time. For the moment, it is, no doubt “broadening” the permissible dialog surrounding radical fundamentalism (and, in turn, what mainstream media sources are willing to publish). However, I think the long term trend of such radically oppressive voices is the fostering of a backlash against this oppression among younger people in both religious and secular demographics.

        There’s currently a lot of chatter in conservative religious circles about the genesis of the “emergent church”—a less conservative variant of literalist Christianity—and the tarnishing of Christianity’s overall image among the young. As I’m sure you’re you’re aware, there’s been much said about the latter shift in atheist circles. :) Thus, you have a kind of dialectic in which the broadening window of fundamentalist rhetoric generates and is challenged by an opposing cultural backlash.

        • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

          I wonder if perhaps WBC has actually helped gay rights, by being so over the top that they actually foster sympathy from those who would normally side against gay rights. Not helped a lot perhaps, but helped more than hurt. I can’t imagine how WBC has actually changed any minds to their position, but I could certainly see them pushing people away from their position.

          • http://hauntedtimber.wordpress.com/ timberwraith

            I suspect you might be right, Rich.

            I’ve read that one of the big turning points for the Civil Rights movement was the publishing of pictures and stories of the terrible abuse that southern Whites inflicted upon protestors who staged sit-ins and demonstrations against segregation. The raw hatred and violence brought into plain view served as a powerful emotional factor in moving society in a different direction.

            Perhaps something analogous is happening here. The Westboro people bring the hatred of LGBT people into plain view and have certainly served as a sensationalistic photo op for the media.

          • 2jackets

            Speaking for myself I remember seeing WBC on a documentary made me think more about how mainstream & “moderate” versions of Christianity nonethless have a lot in common with the more extreme versions, after all they all claim scripture as the basis for their beliefs. After some time I began to see WBC’s position as being no less likely to be the “true” form of Christianity than any other, milder variant.

            This led to a hardening attitude towards religion in general, on my part.

            So I wouldn’t be at all surprised if their message tended to produce a similar change in attitude among people who may have been on the fence with regard to gay rights.

            (Note WBCs theology welcomes such changes among people – they see it as God “hardening mens’ hearts” against him, further separating the good from the wicked blah blah blah.

        • 2jackets

          “I think the right wing Christians who are PR savvy are a far bigger a problem. The Westboro clan often serves as a distraction from far more hurtful groups who engage in far more hurtful actions.”

          I agree with that. For a while I’ve been reading the contents of WND (unable to look away haha!) and have actually developed sort of a grudging respect for the (relative) honesty of Fred & Co., I mean they (WBC) ebody the extreme (& unseen) implications of Calvinism and they exhibit it out there in the public eye in all its demented fury & are not shy about it!
          All this in contrast to the type of dishonest PR driven populist right wing fundamentalism as typified by WND.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    He said, ‘But Jesus said’—and I thought it was funny he was quoting Jesus—‘Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.’

    (except that Jesus never said that, but moving on)

    And then he connected it to another member of the church who had done something that, according to the Old Testament, was also punishable by death. I realized that if the death penalty was instituted for any sin, you completely cut off the opportunity to repent. And that’s what Jesus was talking about.

    Probably Shirley’s divorce. Funny, lots of people have been pointing that out for a long time. It wasn’t until she had an ulterior motive to listen that she paid any attention.

    • Thomas Farrell

      Jesus never said anything. He’s a character in a bad novel. So why shouldn’t we be glad if the things people imagine he said are actually good and caring things, instead of harsh and evil things?

  • rg57

    This amazes me more than the UK vote for marriage equality.

  • Godlesspanther

    Another one bites the dust….

    Another one bites the dust…

    and another one’s gone and another one’s gone..

    Another one bites the dust!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-De-Fleuriot/611844223 Mike De Fleuriot

    Too soon to suggest a date for her appearance on the atheist speech circuit? My thinking is somewhere around 2015…

  • http://twitter.com/literatewench literatewench

    *everyone* can learn, grow, and change. And it must have taken her tremendous courage to do this. I hope she continues to look at the world in this new way, and finds joy.

  • roberthughmclean

    Jees, at this rate old Phred Felps will be like Caruso, the only one left. It gives us hope for other victims of religious fraud, all of it, can peel themselves away from it and learn to live in reality not subserviance.

  • http://www.facebook.com/priscilla.troop Priscilla Troop

    Thanks for posting this. I sincerely hope they can catch up with their uncle and make a connection. I hope the secular community reaches out to them as well and offers some words of encouragement and support.

    • http://www.facebook.com/mikehigginbo Mike Higginbottom

      Done. Because the rest of the world needs to be bigger than WBC. If we want to be seen as decent people then we have to BE decent people.

  • Goonies

    Louis Theroux the UK documentary maker recently returned to the Westboro Baptist Family for a follow up of his last doco. He spoke with Libby who had only recently left, she was very confused poor girl. I highly recommend it.

    Grace was also featured – Louis was questioning her about their doctrine and Megan kept feeding her the correct ‘answers.’ I was fairly sure Grace’s brainwashing had not succeeded but I am stunned that Megan has chosen to leave, she was one of their best ‘champions’

  • thorsen_v

    (typo “site” for “sight”)

  • http://www.facebook.com/edgarovrothbart Otis Odysseus Von Rothbart

    I’m so glad Megan Phelps woke up, I wonder what her opinions are in belief I sure hope she’d turn into a secular, humanist, or atheist :)

  • Sean

    Well, after Lance Armstrong, leaving the WBC is a piece of cake. Perhaps he can still be an inspiration – to those that have lied to themselves for so long……

    • The Other Weirdo

      There is a big difference between lying to yourself and being lied to from birth by your own family.

  • normanrusty

    Your turn Taylor Drain!

    • Andrew

      I had an e-mail conversation with Taylor about 3 years ago. It wasn’t much fun. Hopefully, that will change. This is just the first step to demystifying a cult.

  • CJ

    Good for her! It is only the beginning, but now at least she has a chance at a real life. Since she is so young still, hopefully it will also influence the other young kids in her family that are being brain washed by these idiots.

  • Stev84

    One thing that is a bit surprising to me is how normal they seem otherwise. With fundamentalist cult-like churches there is usually an extreme amount of isolation and people are often kept from “worldly” influences. But they seem to be well versed in pop culture for example. Megan likes normal bands and “Dexter” for example. So they have been brainwashed about some thing, but the control doesn’t extend as far as you may think.

  • J-Rex

    As far as whether or not she deserves forgiveness, just think about her life for one second. She grew up in an abusive cult. She was isolated from childhood and told exactly what to believe and probably would have been abused if she didn’t believe it. I feel nothing but pity for her even though she’s done some awful things because I’m sure I would have done exactly the same if I had been brought up the way she was.

  • eliautsumsmom

    THis is SO AWESOME!!! she’s getting ready to go on the ride of her life!!!!

  • DEFKNOL

    Getting angry at a brainwashed individual is not unlike getting angry with a toddler or a can of soup falling off a shelf. They don’t know better and trying to attribute a mature moral sense to them is pointless. Can you forgive the can of soup? Or the gravity that impels it to fall? Such a difficult moral dilemma.

    This girl holding up homophobic signs is like that can of soup falling. She was brainwashed. People who have never been brainwashed cannot understand what it is like to be brainwashed and the immense innocence that goes along with it. This one was brainwashed from birth. And I can only commend and cheer her on for taking the first scary steps of realizing her situation.

    • The Other Weirdo

      Brainwashed. Sometimes, when I look at those pictures, I wonder if it’s even a matter of brainwashing or “Here, go hold this sign up over there.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Karen-Glammeyer-Medcoff/1095061265 Karen Glammeyer Medcoff

    Thank you megan! i remember you from way back when. We talked when you were in denver about 17 years ago. I am glad you are about love now, instead of hate. Be well hun

  • brad

    I hope someone can get the message that our thoughts are with her. So many of us atheists, I know, are behind her. She doesn’t have to adopt our way of thinking to be accepted and supported. No one, and I mean no one, should change her mind immediately, because of some one argument or idea. She SHOULD go through a process–I just hope it is not too painful Someone who knows her, let her know that so many of us are behind her.

  • The Other Weirdo

    All I got from that was, “Public libraries, man. They help people sort their shit out.” We need to fund them more.

  • Igor

    Jesus warned for those who slip away from the Narrow Way. I feel sorry for Megan and her sister. They returned to their broad road to Hell. Proverbs 14:12.

  • Igor

    As it is written. A dog returns to his own vomit and a saw after her wallowing in the mare. Megan and her sister are reprobate dogs and pigs who will split Hell wide open, when they die each at giventh time. Revelation 20:15.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    Another former member has joined the NOH8 campaign. And yet, she says:

    In the end, I think God will judge us all; however I think He wants us all to have the freedom to make our own decisions.

    http://www.noh8campaign.com/article/former-wbc-member-speaks-out

    So it’s not up to her to tell anyone they’re going to hell, that’s God’s place. I guess?

  • Rumin8

    Perhaps the Phelps family have a genetic predisposition to being unusually responsive to memes, and have fallen foul of a particularly insidious meme the nature of which is that it compounds itself as they follow through the thought processes that it leads to, resulting in bizarre and extreme behavior. If this is the case, they are only an extreme example of something that plagues the whole of humanity. I suspect the more rational among us are the ones less predisposed to accept memes, perhaps out of finding them uninteresting in general, or having learned at an early age the excitement of freedom of thought. (However I don’t think there is such a thing as being meme-free, and one person’s meme may be tyranny for another.) Anyway it looks like the WBC meme is so virulent that it is destroying its host, which makes it less likely to propagate than something that is a more benign parasite.

  • whosoever

    One cannot know what they truly believe if they have never been given the chance to doubt. I am very happy for Megan and Grace.
    I’ve had it.
    I would never have understood without it.

  • RationalThinker

    Sorry, but she never says that she is sorry, at all, only regrets the hurt. And, she thinks that her family is ‘well intentioned’. If I weren’t an atheist, I would hope that g-d would tell her that there is no redemption in her continued stupidity.

  • RationalThinker

    Here’s a thought. Actually, the WBC is in a way the atheist’s friend. At least religious people that see these freaks question themselves because of them. If there is no more WBC, then the Tea Party / religious right might have an easier task to climb to political control.


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