It’s quite possible there’s no organization – religious or secular – more controversial in America right now than the Topeka, Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church. The group is perhaps known for their protests at the funerals of U.S. soldiers, the deaths of whom they consider punishment by God for America’s sinfulness, but they attracted new levels of scorn in December when they pledged to protest the funerals of the children that died in the Sandy Hook massacre for the same reason.
But drowned out in all that controversy is a recent and surprising defection from the church, the Rev. Fred Phelps’ own granddaughter Megan. Megan and her sister Grace officially severed all ties with WBC and their Topeka-based congregation last November after Megan, admittedly, began having doubts over the beliefs and dogma expressed by the church and her grandfather.
Megan has largely been quiet since parting ways with her old life. This is unusual because Megan was very much a force in the WBC, spearheading its social media outreach and often acting as a spokesperson for the church. Many even thought that she might even be a leader in the church someday. But her surprising departure is not so surprising once you hear her reasons why. In fact, an article found here by Jeff Chu, author of Does Jesus Really Love Me?: A Gay Christian’s Pilgrimage in Search of God in America, spells them out pretty good. The reason this comes to the attention of Nerd Bastards today is this quote here:
“There’s no fresh start in today’s world. Any twelve-year-old with a cell phone could find out what you did. Everything we do is collated and quantified. Everything sticks.”
The line was said by Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway) in The Dark Knight Rises, her justification for continuing to make a career as a thief rather than try to get out of the business. Megan opens a blog post quoting the line in an online comment posted today. In it, Megan talks about her and her sister’s difficulty in making a clean break from the only life they’ve ever known, and their anticipation looking forward at the unknowable road ahead.
“Up until now, our names have been synonymous with ‘God Hates Fags,’” she writes. “Any twelve-year-old with a cell phone could find out what we did. We hope Ms. Kyle was right about the other part, too, though – that everything sticks – and that the changes we make in our lives will speak for themselves.”
I wish I had a “Clean Slate” to give Megan, but I think she’s going to turn out fine. In the meantime, this is the latest round of bad news for WBC, which recently had to cancel their planned “Obama is Antichrist” Inauguration protest and has suffered repeated cyber attacks by Anonymous. I’m sure Westboro and Phelps have a conspiracy theory about all this, but maybe God just hates them.