Ever wondered what goes through the heads of the members of the Westboro Baptist Church? You know, the Kansas-based group that regularly threatens to picket the funerals of soldiers and innocent children, most recently those of the precious babies killed inside Sandy Hook Elementary School? You're about to find out!
Two granddaughters of Westboro's most vocal hatemonger, Fred Phelps, have escaped the cult. Now Megan Phelps-Roper and sister Grace Phelps-Roper are speaking out, along with Libby Phelps Alvarez, another of Phelps' granddaughters who escaped the clutches of the hate group several years ago. So what do we know now about this crazy group?
Thanks to the Today show and reporter Jeff Chu (who broke the story of the Phelps-Roper girls' escape), here are some of their biggest revelations:
1. They pray for people to die. Pretty much the opposite of what you'd expect from a "church," Alvarez says she did not join in but was around while members actively prayed for death.
2. They hate soldiers because of gays. The protests of military funerals happen because the WBC claims that American soldiers are "fighting for a nation that supports homosexuality," Alvarez told Today.
3. WBC followers aren't allowed to trust their own feelings. As Megan Phelps-Roper told Chu, "All that’s trustworthy is the Bible. And if you have a feeling or a thought that’s against the church’s interpretations of the Bible, then it’s a feeling or a thought against God himself.”
4. Women are forbidden to get haircuts or pierce their ears, and their heads must remain covered in church.
5. They are obsessed with pop culture. In a statement released by Megan and Grace about their decision to leave the church, they quote Batman, and then explain that's common at WBC because the "sentiments they express are readily identifiable by the masses -- and shifting their meaning is as easy as giving them new context."
Are you surprised by any of these revelations?
Take a look at how Libby Phelps Alvarez has tried to move on since escaping the Westboro Baptist Church:
Image via Today