Former Westboro Baptist Church Member Zach Phelps-Roper Participated In A Pretty Fascinating Reddit AMA

Former Westboro Baptist Church (or, “church”) member Zach Phelps-Roper, grandson to the late Fred Phelps, answered questions in a Reddit AMA yesterday. Phelps-Roper no longer associates with the organization, which he left earlier this year, but still considers himself a church-going man of faith. It’s a rare glimpse into the thinly-veiled hate group, which Phelps-Roper almost right off the bat states that their objective is not to instigate people to the point of violence. That’s something that never actually occurred to me before, and crazy timing given last night’s horrifying episode of The Leftovers. (Of course, Dustin has more on that holy sh*t moment.) It’s kind of amazing no one has yet to take out a WBC member in a spectacularly violent fashion.

Anyway, here’s some of the more interesting things we learned, starting with the WBC’s hatred of Lady Gaga (among others):

What is the most ridiculous thing they asked/made you do in the name of God?

I feel like the most ridiculous thing I was ever required to do in the name of God was pray for others to die…. Since leaving Westboro Baptist Church, I have discovered that I have no malice in my heart… I want everyone to be happy.

Pray for whom to die? That’s just wrong.

When I was at Westboro, I did pray for these people to die: President Barack Obama; Lady Gaga; Albert Synder (of Synder V. Phelps, the Supreme Court Case); George W. Bush; and many, many other people.

Let me just say this though: I no longer pray for harm to come on ANYONE under any circumstances. I have left behind my former religious convictions.

Oh c’mon…Lady Gaga? What’d she ever do?

There is a music video that answers this question.

Here’s the video, if you can handle the crazy (I couldn’t).

On what should you do if you ever encounter members, which is easier said than done:

How do you feel would be the best way to deal with religious hate groups like the Westboro Baptist Church when they visit your community and attempt to spread their hate?

I thought you would never ask!

I think that we need to approach them with forgiveness and love… otherwise, they will always think that the world universally hates them, and they will NEVER go away with their hateful message. I’m just sayin’… let’s make ’em challenge their beliefs a little bit and “kill ’em with kindness” ;-)

Apparently they really do think they’re “helping” when they picket funerals of soldiers:

When you picketed funerals of dead soldiers, have you ever felt some sort of remorse or sympathy? While at the church has it ever dawned on you that what you did was purely hateful?