Two granddaughters of Fred Phelps, the leader of the virulently anti-LGBT Westboro Baptist Church often found protesting with “God Hates Fags” signs, have left the group. Megan and Grace Phelps-Roper were among the most visible members of the group online, with active social media presences that promoted the group’s hateful message until last year. Megan posted her first tweet since October yesterday, linking to a statement announcing their exodus and apologizing for their actions:
“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.
Up until now, our names have been synonymous with “God Hates Fags.” 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.“
While this statement is presumably just a first step in those changes, it’s also a heartwarming reminder that regardless of the prejudices people are raised with and humanity’s most stubborn tendencies, they can actually still learn new things about themselves and their LGBT neighbors.
For more information on Megan’s journey away from the church, read this excellent feature by Fast Company’s Jeff Chu.