Meet the two defectors of the Westboro Baptist Church

In a surprisingly public display of soul-searching, two members of the hate-mongering Westboro Baptist Church are defecting. Fred Phelps’s granddaughter Megan Phelps-Roper declared Wednesday that she and her sister Grace have left their Kansas congregation, and apologized for the pain their organization has inflicted. Or, as she said in a text message to the Kansas City Star, “We ripped the Band-Aid off.”

The Phelps name is strongly associated with the vile 83-year-old patriarch Fred, a man whose contribution to our national dialogue has, for the past several decades, consisted almost entirely of the motto GOD HATES FAGS. The Phelps clan and its congregation, Westboro Baptist Church, have earned themselves quite a reputation over the years, mostly for their penchant for showing up at funerals and gleefully spewing invective at mourners. But in December – shortly after the group threatened to picket the funerals of victims of the Sandy Hook massacre — a petition to finally officially designate the “church” as a hate group became the most popular on the White House’s We the People site ever. And after years and years of bullying, the small but appallingly vocal group seems to be losing its talent for making a scene. In January, the group failed to show up for four demonstrations it had vowed to do at four different Pennsylvania churches. Its big protest at the presidential inauguration had more signs than humans.

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Meet the two defectors of the Westboro Baptist Church

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