With her already world-famous spoof of Lady Gaga and growing Twitter celebrity, 24-year-old Megan Phelps has become the new face of her grandfather Fred’s infamous Westboro Baptist Church. On the surface she seems like a typical American woman: she watches Lost, wonders whether she’ll find a husband, and listens to Green Day. But then there’s that other, far more ghastly side, the side that declares “God hates fags” and claims Haiti deserves its massive earthquake.
Here Andrew Belonsky has an in-depth, all-encompassing chat with Megan about her religious mission, why God really hates fags, and why she can’t wait for the United States to legalize same-sex marriage.
Andrew Belonsky: Hi Megan, how are you?
Megan Phelps: I’m excellent, thank you. How are you?
AB: I’m very well. So, let’s just get right into this. I find you really intriguing. Obviously the Westboro Baptists have a long history of being rabble-rousers and largely on the fringe. But you are taking your family and your church’s activism in an entirely new direction. You’re really keyed into pop culture, like Lady Gaga and Adam Lambert. Do you represent a new generation of religious activism?
MP: I think we’ve always talked about pop culture; Elton John in the 90s is one example. We’ve done a lot of parodies even before Lady Gaga, so, no, I don’t think it’s new. I think it’s just exploded recently because these icons are so huge, you know? I frankly am not sure why one thing over another will get more attention, except that I know all of these things are in the hands of God. He is the one who opens these doors and causes these words to go forth. It’s an awesome thing to be a part of and I’m so thankful for my spot here.
AB: I know you tweet a lot. I have read your Twitter page. Now, your family and the church protested outside the headquarters recently and the press release that went along with that protest said that you’re thankful for mass communication, because you have to use mass communication to get your message out, right, even if it is against the mass communication itself?
MP: That picket wasn’t [about] the platform itself, and I’ve said this several times. Before you say that there’s hypocrisy going on here, you have to look at the actual reason we were protesting. These mass communications and everything that we have – and when I say “we,” I mean every human being – is a gift from God. Everything that you have is a gift of God and you have a duty to use it to serve him. The people we were protesting, the people who run Twitter, those people have a platform, God has given them a voice, and the fact that they don’t use that voice to proclaim the truth of God, that testifies against them, and God is going to require that from their hand. We were there to warn them.
AB: I don’t know if it’s really a Twitter executive’s job to use that platform to spread God’s message, whatever that may be, but they are providing you and other people with a platform. Isn’t that just as important?
MP: I’m talking about each human being, not just Twitter executives – everyone who uses Twitter and uses it for all the porn… They just put it out there. This generation puts out anything and everything perverted that comes into their mind. And they’re proud and they feel okay about doing that, because no one is willing to rebuke them. No one is willing to tell them, “Hey, that’s going to land you in hell.” That’s the definition of “Love Thy Neighbor:” rebuking them when you see them sinning.
MP: The definition of “love” to people in this generation is loving someone even when you see them doing wrong, saying, “Oh, that’s okay, I’m going to love you anyway, because I’m just that good. I’m just a good person.” That’s not what God’s standard of love is; He says, “Thou shalt not hate thy neighbor in thine heart,” but instead of hating them, your job is to, “rebuke him and not suffer his sin upon him.” So, again, loving your neighbor is warning him.
AB: If Twitter had been explicitly been established for a religious reason, would it still be worthy of protest?
MP: Here’s what you have to understand about most religion today: it’s fake. Most people don’t follow the standards of God. We picket a lot of churches, Catholic and Protestant, because those people claim that they are preaching what the Bible says. And instead of saying what the Bible actually says – that God hates people, that you have a duty to obey God – they say, “God loves everyone” and, essentially, “You can live like the devil and still expect to go to Heaven when you die.”
MP: They preach that there is no standard except your own. You can live however you please and it’s okay, because God loves you anyway. That is not what the Bible says. What the Bible says is “God hates all workers of iniquity.” He says, “I set before you this day, a blessing and a curse; a blessing if you obey me and a curse if you won’t.” All these people are saying, “Oh, the earthquake in Haiti, that wasn’t a judgment of God.” Of course it’s a judgment of God! It’s a curse!
AB: So Haiti deserved the earthquake?
MP: Yeah, it’s the judgment of God on a rebellious people. The vast majority in that country are Catholic. There’s a three word indictment of the entire Catholic Church and it’s ”Priests rape boys.” Plus, the Catholic Church is full of idolatry. In Haiti particularly, it’s a satanic mixture of Catholic idolatry, the voodoo, and worshipping ancestors and nature. It’s pantheism. What you have is a bunch of people setting up false Gods and worshipping them. God says that he is a jealous God, and that he is going to avenge himself on you when you set up and worship those false gods, and an earthquake is a prime example. 9/11 is another example.