She’s Trying to Help Westboro Baptist Church Members Escape and Start a New Life

A few months ago, I interviewed Lauren Drain, a former member of Westboro Baptist Church (a.k.a. The “God Hates Fags” people).

Drain had just written a book about her time in the hate group called Banished: Surviving My Years in the Westboro Baptist Church:

Now, Drain has a new mission: Helping others escape the church just like she did. She started a GoFundMe campaign aiming to raise $20,000 for the project (emphasis hers):

I do not know what is too much or too little for this fundraiser but I want to ensure that there is a fund to help out those few who are currently struggling and those who are bound to leave someday. If this is successful in helping even those few that have recently escaped maybe it will set a great example for those others who are thinking of walking away from the only family they’ve have, the only friends they know, the community they are forced to maintain and the only life they have ever had.

As of this writing, she’s raised $1,470. If you’d like to chip in, you can do so here.

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.

  • Itsrealfunnythat

    Oh I want to hear all about their crazy rules and regulations for day to day living!!!

    • the moother

      They should only fund deserters that are willing to spill the beans..

      • Itsrealfunnythat

        I dunno about only, but I definitely want to hear everything.

  • CoboWowbo

    The book must have struck a nerve with WBC… Jack Wu even gave a review.

    http://www.amazon.com/review/RP61HHFOOROR0/ref=cm_cr_pr_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=1455512427&linkCode=&nodeID=&tag=

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      Interesting he gave it 3 stars. In the grand scheme of things the # of stars from a single review doesn’t really matter, but I’m interested that he ‘gets’ that.

      • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

        So I got to thinking about who could have given her fewer stars.

        Third, and most importantly, as many other reviewers have pointed out, Lauren hasn’t changed her views at all. This is what saddened and disappointed me most. She reveals in the epilogue that she’s still a homophobe, still anti-abortion, and that the WBC pickets were some of her fondest memories. She still misses her “friends” in the church and wants her family to take her back. I kept waiting for Lauren’s epiphany moment–where she calls out her sociopathic family and reveals the WBC to be a cult–but it never came. Throughout the book, she speaks warmly of “Pastor Phelps” and goes to great lengths to explain why his views made sense to her. Her banishment occurred because she began corresponding with a fellow hatemonger she met on YouTube who wanted to join the WBC. After her banishment, she moved in with him. Not only hasn’t Lauren recanted her hateful beliefs, but she is still living those beliefs after her banishment. I sincerely hope Lauren Drain grows up someday, and perhaps writes something better then what she churned out here.

        http://www.amazon.com/review/R1C1FBI4Z21BBZ

  • adasdr

    Good job on making WBC more popular! I’m sure they’ll appreciate the upcoming paid interviews on Fox and CNN – seriously, where do you think they get the money from to pay for their member’s college funds? Isn’t it time we thought RATIONALLY about what their true intent is? Here’s a tip: THEY’RE ALL LAWYERS!

    • Tonee

      This isn’t about making the WBC more popular; which they never have been nor ever will be among sane, rational ppl. This is about helping those who want to escape from that Hell hole.

  • Ryan Hite

    This is a really bad idea. The best thing to do to them is to ignore them. They will only stop when we stop caring about them. They have no purpose other than the media.

  • prolesharon

    I am really skeptical of her gofundme campaign. First, she hasn’t been “out” of there long enough to really have undergone major internal change. She still has serious issues she must deal with. Second, she was raised to believe that it is okay to “milk” the heathen cow, and asking for money at this point….well, I won’t be donating. Third, if people want to leave, they can, the same way she did. Many of us have left cults and had to rebuild our lives.

  • alconnolly

    So sad to see how few comments are on here compared to other topics, and the ones that are are not very supportive. I posted some rather questioning comments when ex “pastors” who were adults that lived of their stories were being supported to leave their congregations. I got a lot of push back for being to critical of people who by their own story had lost all faith and continued to lie to their congregations for money for years (not the sort of dealing with doubts back and forth that many experience but a full fledged conclusion for years!). Now here comes someone who was raised in a completely controlling environment and left with nothing, trying to raise funds not for herself, for trapped children and young people raised in the same environment. Lacking the skills to navigate the world very well. I for one was happy to donate, and I sure hope it is a great success.


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