By now most people have heard of the Westboro Baptist Church, a tiny radical sect from Topeka Kansas infamous for picketing the funerals of US servicemen with signs proclaiming "God sent the IEDs", "God Killed Your Son", and "Pray for More Dead Soldiers." Through an evidently total lack of compassion and penchant for ugly, hateful speech (note the domain name for its church web page), this tiny cult has become a household name, propelling its pastor, Fred Phelps, to international notoriety.
Former Time Magazine journalist Jeff Chu writes in his blog about Megan Phelps-Roper,who decided last November to leave her grandfather's church. It's worth a read because it's an inspirational story, but what drew me to the story is how vulnerable this young woman is right at this very moment.
We writers know that every story has a beginning, middle and an end, and each part of that story works a little differently. If this were a work of fiction, Meghan Phelps-Roper is right where a skillful writer would put her after the break into Act 2. She has a taken a step from which there's no turning back, committing herself to what amounts to a quest for the truth. It's exciting, but it's far from certain at this point her story will have a happy ending. Even if it does, she'll have paid an enormous price for whatever it is she finds.
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Oh my gosh. I knew about this church, but then I clicked on the link to their site, and... :O There are no words. I'm appalled. I'm a Christian, and this just makes me sad. I promise not all of us who call ourselves Christians are like that. You're absolutely right. Megan is in the middle of what would be a beautiful novel. I can't wait to see how it ends.
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