I was recently watching a 20/20 youtube video about the Westboro Baptist Church. In short, the church is an extremist sect of Christianity with a mission to condemn any “sinners” according to what they call God’s hate of America. While hundreds of thoughts and responses can be generated from that statement alone, what really stood out was the courage of one girl: Lauren Drain. She is no ordinary girl, though. She is the daughter of Steve and Lucy Drain, two strong members in the extremist church. She was raised with a life of hatred towards non-Christians, her parents constantly filling her mind with songs of antagonist views and condemnation towards others.
As powerful as lifelong propaganda can be, the mind has a will of its own. Lauren saw the destruction her family was causing, and when she was old enough, she took a stand. But that stand came at a price: total banishment from the family and the loved ones she grew up with. This may come as a sad end to some, but Lauren knew this was the choice she had to make. It makes me glad to see those who can take a stand against discrimination, this case on the religious basis, even when they are alone in their battle. She now continues to reach out to her family 1000 miles away despite them banishing her. That’s an example of true love, a concept concealed from the hearts of WBC members
You can follow fellow ex-WBC member Nate Phelps, estranged son of Pastor Fred Phelps, on his quest to help right the wrongs his family has created and his support of social justice. – www.natephelps.com
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein reflect only the views of the author and do not represent the opinions of the South Asian Awareness Network (SAAN) or any other organization.
Tushar Shetty is a junior at the University of Michigan and the chair of the South Asian Awareness Network