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Megan Phelps-Roper

Biography

Megan Phelps-Roper

Megan Phelps-Roper was raised in the Westboro Baptist Church --- the fire-and-brimstone religious sect at once aggressively homophobic and anti-Semitic, and jubilant about AIDS and natural disasters. From the age of five, Megan participated in the church's picketing almost daily and spearheaded the use of social media in the church.

Dialogue with "enemies" online proved instrumental in her deradicalization, and in 2012, at the age of 26, Megan left the church, her family and her life behind. Since then she has become an advocate for people and ideas she was taught to despise --- especially the value of empathy in dialogue with people across ideological lines.

Megan Phelps-Roper

Books by Megan Phelps-Roper

by Megan Phelps-Roper - Memoir, Nonfiction

At the age of five, Megan Phelps-Roper began protesting homosexuality and other alleged vices alongside fellow members of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas. Founded by her grandfather and consisting almost entirely of her extended family, the tiny group would gain worldwide notoriety for its pickets at military funerals and celebrations of death and tragedy. Soon, however, dialogue on Twitter caused her to begin doubting the church’s leaders and message: If humans were sinful and fallible, how could the church itself be so confident about its beliefs? As she digitally jousted with critics, she started to wonder if sometimes they had a point --- and then she began exchanging messages with a man who would help change her life.