Ex-member of the Westboro Baptist Church and professional hate monger Libby Phelps-Alvarez appeared on Anderson this morning to give an insider’s perspective on America’s most hated cult.
Phelps-Alvarez, the granddaughter of Westboro founder Fred Phelps left the church last month after dedicating 30 years of her life to shouting bigotry, perpetuating hate, and picketing the funerals of soldiers and children. She now plans on fighting for gay rights.
“In the moment, I thought I was doing the right thing,” she tells Anderson. “I thought the only way to love your neighbor was to tell them that their sins were taking them to hell.”
She also offered a tearful apology to the mother of a soldier whose funeral she picketed.
Are you buying her apology, or is this tear factory too little, too late?
My mom always likes to say life is a classroom till the day we die. Some lessons are easy, some are painful, but we’re always learning.
I can cut this lady a break. I’m 59, and holding grudges is an indulgent expense of emotional energy that I don’t have to waste anymore. I’ve had to ask for a lot of forgiveness over my life, and if I’m not willing to extend any, I don’t deserve any.
@dvlaries: Hear hear, I’m all for forgiveness when I’m convinced they’re sincere. I think she’s sincere here. Anderson did a great job holding her feet to the fire to get her to be as clear as possible as to why she did what she did. She was pretty articulate about it all, and seems to truly regret what she’d done. Good for her to try to make amends by fighting for gay rights now.
as a former cult member, i can say it’s sometimes very hard to know when there is a life lesson to learn, and when there is one to teach.
most people who pays attention and learn a bit about the world (history and cultures) will instantly be able to fit a cult’s teachings in perspective. But since you’re not allowed to do that while IN the cult, realization of the damage you have done will not hit you until after you walk away. and for fuck’s sake… IT’S A CULT… one cannot just leave and make amends for all their past wrongs.
I believe her, but she is technically only a month out. there are TONS of psychological issues that have to be rebuilt and put in place before she can do some good in the world, and her apology can count for something beneficial. In the meantime, her appearance on AC should be applauded and her direction should be encouraged by everyone of reasonable mind.
Caleb in SC
I think all of the prior posts are spot on. We need to remember — she was born into this madness and was brainwashed from an early age — not unlike all of the religious brainwashing that goes on in most households. I wish her the best and hope that she can erase some of the emotional scars that held her hostage to those so-called “Christians.”
I believe her. and I echo @Jackhoffsky. I was in an Ex-Gay ministry and totally believed that God could only love me if I were straight; it was totally painful to try to change something that CAN’T BE CHANGED… Its all DENIAL OF SELF; I did learn some pretty interesting lessons about myself when I entered the ministry; I was able to change some things I didn’t like about myself. That is one thing for which I will forever be grateful to God. I DO believe in forgiveness; it’s the most healing thing a person can do for another..
I wish her the best in her new path in life; sounds like she is going to make a great start by being an advocate for gay causes; time will tell if her sincerety in that endeavor.
Everything about that is painfully naff – from the Westborough woman to the Patriot Guard. The victims are both the cult woman to the mother of the boy who died.
Anderson Cooper comes across as a ghastly manipulative TV person “How do you feel? Please look into the camera when you cry.”
@Sohobod: I’ll admit I’ve taken plenty of shots at Anderson Cooper in the past but on this occasion I don’t think your criticism is merited. He is a TV host after all and in the circumstance there were questions he had to ask Ms. Phelps-Alvarez. She is not an actress or singer after all, she understood why she was there, and expected to be scrutinized and held accountable for the pain her actions caused others.
That said I’m impressed by the strength it had to have taken this young woman to break free of her family’s bizarre and evil influence. I hope she is sincere in her desire to support LGBT rights and I also hope she herself is getting a lot of ongoing emotional/psychological support. After growing up as a granddaughter of Fred Phelps (shudder) she definitely needs it.
@Sohobod: In addition to what LadyL said, I would also like to point out that Anderson Cooper is, believe it or not, humanizing the young lady by directing her in the ways that he was. He might come off as a bully, but you have to take into consideration the feet that had to take, to make himself look like the bad guy and in turn allow her apology to ring that much truer than it may have had she not been directed in the way she was.
THIS is exactly why I do not hate anyone who does something offensive; because when they realize that they are wrong and they apologize, it’s so much more easier to say “I forgive you.” Besides, none of us are inocent; we’ve all done something to apologize for, and it sure feels good when they accept our apology. There is nothing on earth that you can give to another person that is more precious and valuable than mercy. I’ve been just as hurt by anti-Christian gays as I have been hurt by anti-gay Christians – and they were BOTH wrong, and I forgive them both for their arrogant and ignorance.
“f you listen to her interviews, she portrays herself as someone who was brainwashed into believing that the pain and hatred she was promulgating were right and moral actions.
I don’t dispute that brainwashing played a part in her actions, but that is not the same thing as owning up to her behavior. The phrase “I’m sorry” does not address the damage she has inflicted unto the lives of others.
In order to demonstrate genuine regret, one must acknowledge the harm they have caused, make reparations where possible, and refrain from repeating the harmful act.
Saying “I’m sorry but I didn’t know better until all of a sudden I did know better” doesn’t quite capture the essence of a legitimate display of regret.
There are several actions she could take to make amends, such as volunteering her time to a Vets or gay rights organization.
She may well take a more active role in repairing the harm she caused, and I’m happy to adjust my opinion accordingly.
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