Megan and Grace Phelps-Roper are two extraordinary young women. I don’t use those words lightly. The two young women, who have recently left their notorious Westboro Baptist Church, are unusual in their grace, kindness and bravery. Leaving their church has meant exile from their family and the imposition of a new beginning in their lives without the safety net enjoyed by most of us of family, home and the physical and monetary security they offer.
I had a chance to briefly meet these two young women, 25 and 18 respectively, and also watched them speak publicly at the recent Jewlicious Festival. The panel discussion they gave on Shabbat, led by David Abitbol whose communication with them over the years had served as a catalyst for their departure from Westboro, was one of the most interesting and touching presentations I’ve ever seen. I believe virtually everyone in the room was touched by their sincerity and the challenges they face both in coming to terms with their decision to leave the Church and in determining their future. It isn’t easy to be in their situation right now and I certainly hope the two of them know that they can rely on the people they have met from and through Jewlicious to assist them when challenges and challenging times arise, as they inevitably will. I say this about Grace in particular because she is younger than Megan and leaving everything behind at 18 is not a cliche, it’s genuinely difficult.
In any case, I have no idea how to embed this interview that was conducted by the CBC’s Jian Ghomeshi with David Abitbol, Megan and Grace, but it captures some of the spirit of the panel discussion at Jewlicious and it, what can I say, it restores one’s faith in humanity. You can find it here and I strongly encourage you, dear reader, to take a few minutes to listen.
Here it is in another location where they did know how to embed the interview: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/borntoreform/2013/03/interview-why-megan-and-grace-phelps-left-westboro-baptist-church/