a year ago
nicolejb
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How Twitter Empowered a Westboro Baptist Church Member to Leave
You may not Twitter, and you probably definitely don't like the Westboro Baptist Church but you might enjoy this story...
Originally published in The New Yorker.
If haven't heard of Westboro Baptist church, they are known for their extremist Christian believes. They publicly shamed people and organize protests with signs saying, "God Hates America!" "Anti-Chist Obama" and even "Your Rabbi is a Whore" or "God Hates Fags!" They are known as an awful, hateful organization.

And Megan Phelps-Roper was one of them.

“Thank God for AIDS!” she tweeted one morning. “You won’t repent of your rebellion that brought His wrath on you in this incurable scourge, so expect more & worse! #red.”
She used Twitter as a tool to push her religion, and got a lot of followers because of it.
“GOD IS YOUR ENEMY,” “NO PEACE FOR THE WICKED,” “GOD HATES YOUR IDOLS,” and “MOURN FOR YOUR SINS.”
But Phelps-Roper began to have conversations on Twitter with a user named @F_K_A on Twitter, who at first was condemning her tweets. But then curious about her lifestyle.
And because he asked her nicely about what it's like to be in her church, she responded. Phelps-Roper and her new friend, who she eventually called C.G., formed a friendship.
“I just really liked him,” she said. “He seemed to genuinely like people and care about people, and that resonated with me.”

Her community forced her to stop all communication with him.

She still began to question the church, and her beliefs.
"What if the God of the Bible isn’t the God of creation? We don’t believe that the Koran has the truth about God. Is it just because we were told forever that this is How Things Are?”

“Does it really make you happy when you hear about people dying or starving or being maimed? Do you really want to ask God to hurt people?”

Then, she decided to leave.

Along with her sister Grace, they packed up a U-Haul and left the church. Living on the road and drifting until they settled in a small town in South Dakota.
After some time, Phelps-Roper reconnected C.G. and met him in person. Their started a relationship and are now living together.

If that isn't a happy ending, than I don't know what is.

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5 comments
Wow. An inspiring story. It's the first time I've heard of a WBC member leaving! It's good to know that reason and kindness can sometimes pierce the bubble of ignorance and hatred...
Wow this is great! If only everyone could use social media correctly...the Internet would be a beautiful place.
Totally @mchlyang!! I think we could connect so many people and so many people could learn new things and change their minds. I thought the same thing too @AlloBaber and @alywoah it's crazy how one persons willingness to understand and listen before judging converted her!