In the simplified world of Megan Phelps-Roper, she is an outcast. She is, in fact, dead...to her family. Her shelter? It is the rest of the world.
Being the daughters of the most hated man in America and, some say, one of the most hated men in history (polls show him just below Hitler and Stalin, but above Quran-burning Terry Jones) Megan Phelps-Roper and Grace Phelps-Roper now have the sympathy of everyone They also have admiration for coming forth about their "captivity":
"In a city in a state in the center of a country lives a group of people who believe they are the center of the universe; they know Right and Wrong, and they are Right. They work hard and go to school and get married and have kids who they take to church and teach that continually protesting the lives, deaths, and daily activities of The World is the only genuine statement of compassion that a God-loving human can sincerely make. As parents, they are attentive and engaged, and the children learn their lessons well." - Megan Phelps-RoperPerhaps the anomaly in the saga of Megan and Grace is that they both state that they still love their family - even their mother.
Shirley Phelps Roper is the second-in-command at Westboro. She has increasingly become the face of Westboro and does more active picketing than her aging father. She has even taken on her father's demeanor, smiling when chanting the most hateful slogans. And even though Shirley must have suffered the same wrath as her siblings, she seems euphoric at being considered the most faithful of her father's followers. Unfortunately, it's a following that is dwindling as time goes by and the children, like Megan and Grace, discover that not everyone in the world is sinner hated by God.
Other Phelps siblings have "escaped" from the grasp of "pastor" Fred Phelps: as far back as 1980, Nate Phelps and his brother Mark left the clan. Their sister Kathy was forced back and beaten after an attempt. Another grandchild, Libby Phelps Alvarez escaped several years ago (see interview below).
In a deposition concerning the manuscript of a book, Addicted To Hate, the whole unfettered story of the Phelps clan and Fred Phelps himself contains details so lurid and insane, that most would be hard-pressed to believe it:
- Phelps was long addicted to barbiturates and amphetamines
- Mark and Nate were forced into a "Fagan Operation" - requiring them to steal so that they could make their father's daily quota - ostensibly for selling church candy or light bulbs door-to-door.
- Phelps beat all of his children mercilessly and even starved out his daughter Margie (for one month)
- Phelps beat his wife extensively and ostensibly hacked off her hair when she was not "submissive enough"
- Nate was threatened by a police office (Phelps' friend) with "kneecapping" if he saw his girlfriend - of whom Fred disapproved
- Nate's girlfriend subsequently committed suicide as a result of the Phelps clan taunting
- Phelps' unethical law practices got him disbarred from the Kansas State Bar Association
- Phelps insisted that all his children have law degrees and that all their spouses have law degrees as well.
- Marriages were enacted only with Phelps' approval
- The Phelps clan was taught that Fred Phelps was their "portal to heaven" and they and they alone were going to heaven in this world.
"It wasn't fantasy, it wasn't hyperbole," he [Nate] said. "He was cruelly, viciously violent -- physically, verbally and psychologically."
The Phelps clan refuses to comment on the recent defection of Megan and Grace. when they do comment, will it be with the usual "They're lying!"?