John M. Becker

Another Phelps Family Member Leaves Westboro

Filed By John M. Becker | May 07, 2014 12:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: cults, Fred Phelps, God Hates Fags, Kansas, Westboro Baptist Church, Zach Phelps-Roper

zach-phelps-roper.pngZach Phelps-Roper, the 23-year-old grandson of infamous hate preacher Fred Phelps, has left the Westboro Baptist Church, the Topeka Capital-Journal reports:

After 20 years of hate-filled preaching and picketing, 23-year-old Zach Phelps-Roper moved out of the WBC compound on Feb. 20. In the past nearly three months, he has developed a whole new message.

Empathy and unconditional love, he said, are the keys to solving the world's problems -- a lesson he has learned contrasting his time inside the WBC compound and the past nearly 11 weeks outside it.

"I feel like I have unconditional love for every person around the world," Phelps-Roper said Friday. "The Westboro Baptist Church sees things differently than I do now."

The church he grew up in was too busy pointing out problems to look for solutions, he said. He has been able to spend the past two months investigating the second part of that equation.

His conclusion: "Most problems come from a lack of understanding of how we affect other people and things around us. I feel like I have found the holy grail, the overarching solution to solving all of our society's problems, and I want to learn more. I want to do more."

And in news that's sure to make his notoriously anti-gay family sore, Phelps-Roper says that he's been touched by the kind way he's been treated since his departure from Westboro, especially by exiled family members -- and by gay people, who have "offered to buy him meals, drinks, and shown him empathy and love."

Beautiful, isn't it? It really warms my heart. For all our many warts, I'm constantly amazed by the love our LGBT community is capable of showing, even to those who so hatefully opposed us.

Zach Phelps-Roper is reportedly the fourth of ten Phelps-Roper siblings to leave Westboro Baptist, which the Southern Poverty Law Center calls "the most obnoxious and rabid hate group in America." Many other members of the Phelps family have also broken away; additional high-profile escapees include Megan and Grace Phelps-Roper, Libby Phelps-Alvarez, and Nate Phelps.

Video footage of Zach Phelps Roper's interview with the Topeka Capital-Journal is after the jump.

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