Several weeks ago, grandson of the notorious Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church, bolted from the flock. Speaking to the Topeka Capital Journal, Zacharias Phelps-Roper shared what prompted him to leave the "God Hates Fags" church.
“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."As Fred Phelps lay dying last March, revelations that he had been excommunicated from Westboro the summer before surfaced. The new leadership of the church, secretive as ever, declined to comment on what led to his ouster.
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.”
Yesterday, Zach Phelps-Roper shed light on what grievous event could have caused Fred's own church to turn against him. Equality House, the rainbow painted property across the street from the church that houses the the human rights organization Planting Peace posted a message on their Facebook page from Zach.
Fred W. Phelps, my grandfather, came out in support of the Equality House before he was voted out of WBC.If accurate, and I have little reason to doubt it, this is perhaps one of the most astounding change of heart stories the LGBT community has ever known. The harm to the LGBT community that Fred Phelps fostered can never be undone. However, if our truth did indeed change a heart as black as Fred's, there isn't a heart out there that can't be moved.
Specifically, on the day that he was excommunicated, he stood outside of the front door of the church (but not within anyone's earshot but a few members of WBC who happened to be in the immediate vicinity)... I say, he spoke words to this effect to the Equality House: "You are good people."
I feel like he had a change of heart after my grandmother nearly passed away, and he felt the pangs of loss ... he waited for news of her every day and night while she was in intensive care. I think this triggered a chain reaction whereby he developed great empathy for others... which would explain why he would support Planting Peace's anti-suicide and anti-bullying platforms, and their charities across the world....
I love my grandfather! And I believe people DO change, if they are inspired enough! - Zacharias Phelps-Roper.