In November, New Yorker published the profile of Megan Phelps-Roper, a former member of the Westboro Baptist Church. It is an important look into the church and the family behind it.
We preview the story with this audio preview.
On December 1, 2009, to commemorate World aids Day, Twitter announced a promotion: if users employed the hashtag #red, their tweets would appear highlighted in red. Megan Phelps-Roper, a twenty-three-year-old legal assistant, seized the opportunity. “Thank God for aids!” she tweeted that morning. “You won’t repent of your rebellion that brought His wrath on you in this incurable scourge, so expect more & worse! #red.”
As a member of the Westboro Baptist Church, in Topeka, Kansas, Phelps-Roper believed that aids was a curse sent by God. She believed that all manner of other tragedies—war, natural disaster, mass shootings—were warnings from God to a doomed nation, and that it was her duty to spread the news of His righteous judgments. To protest the increasing acceptance of homosexuality in America, the Westboro Baptist Church picketed the funerals of gay men who died of aids and of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Members held signs with slogans like “god hates fags” and “thank god for dead soldiers,” and the outrage that their efforts attracted had turned the small church, which had fewer than a hundred members, into a global symbol of hatred.