Renegade member of fundamentalist Westboro family guest on FFRF TV show

Megan Phelps Roper

 A woman who has rejected her family — infamous for its hateful fundamentalism — is interviewed on the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s “Freethought Matters” TV show this Sunday.

Megan Phelps-Roper is author of the book Unfollow: A Memoir of Loving and Leaving the Westboro Baptist Church. She bade goodbye to the church, founded by her grandfather Fred Phelps, in 2012 and now educates on topics related to extremism, religious extremism and how to communicate across ideological divides.

“I’d spent more than two decades of my life on this Earth, targeting people and antagonizing people, believing that it was the right thing to do — and believing that I was showing love to people in doing so,” she tells “Freethought Matters” co-hosts Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor about her “epiphany.” “Suddenly, it felt impossible to come to terms with the harm that we had wrought. It was like, and I’ve used this analogy before, like cradling a beautiful jewel in your hand, and then suddenly it turns to ash and dust, and realizing that you have dedicated your life to this thing.”

If you don’t live in the quarter-plus of the nation where the show broadcasts on Sunday, you can already catch the interview on FFRF’s YouTube channel. You can also receive notifications when we post new episodes of Freethought Matters by subscribing to FFRF's YouTube channel.

This is the fall/spring season’s 38th episode of “Freethought Matters,” airing in over a dozen cities on Sunday, May 16. Coming shows include an interview with actor and novelist Indra Zuno.

“Freethought Matters” airs in:

  • Chicago, WPWR-CW (Ch. 50), Sundays at 9 a.m.
  • Denver, KWGN-CW (Ch. 2), Sundays at 7 a.m.
  • Houston, KUBE-IND (Ch. 57), Sundays at 9 a.m.
  • Los Angeles, KCOP-MY (Ch. 13), Sundays at 8:30 a.m.
  • Madison, Wis., WISC-TV (Ch. 3), Sundays at 11 p.m.
  • Minneapolis, KSTC-IND (Ch. 45), Sundays at 9:30 a.m.
  • New York City, WPIX-IND (Ch. 11), Sundays at 8:30 a.m.
  • Phoenix, KASW-CW (Ch. 61, or 6 or 1006 for HD), Sundays at 8:30 a.m.
  • Portland, Ore., KRCW-CW (Ch. 32), Sundays at 9 a.m. Comcast channel 703 for High Def, or Channel 3.
  • Sacramento, KQCA-MY (Ch. 58), Sundays at 8:30 a.m.
  • San Francisco, KICU-IND (Ch. 36), Sundays at 10 a.m.
  • Seattle, KONG-IND (Ch. 16 or Ch. 106 on Comcast). Sundays at 8 a.m.
  • Washington, D.C., WDCW-CW (Ch. 50 or Ch. 23 or Ch. 3), Sundays at 8 a.m.

Previous guests from the fall season include: pundit Eleanor Clift, whose interview you can watch here, actor and FFRF After-Life Member John de Lancie of “Star Trek” “Q” fame, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Linda Greenhouse, the country’s leading analyst of the U.S. Supreme Court, and legislative stalwart and feminist and civil rights pioneer U.S. Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton. One of the most eminent public intellectuals in the world, Professor Steven Pinker, was interviewed a few episodes ago talking about his new course on rationality. Legendary TV host, actor and singer John Davidson was the guest in early December. Recently, the show featured Ann Druyan, the co-creator of “Cosmos,” possibly the most acclaimed TV series of all time. A.C. Grayling, a prominent British philosopher and the author of about 30 books, grappled on the show with philosophy and the pandemic, and discussed how he himself dealt as a nonbeliever with a personal tragedy. Feminist icon Robin Morgan has been the latest marquee name on the show.

Watch previous seasons here, including interviews with Ron Reagan, Julia Sweeney and Ed Asner, as well as U.S. Reps. Jared Huffman and Jamie Raskin, co-chairs of the Congressional Freethought Caucus.

Please tune in to “Freethought Matters” . . . because freethought matters.

P.S. Please tune in or record according to the times given above regardless of what is listed in your TV guide (it may be listed simply as “paid programming” or even be misidentified). To set up an automatic weekly recording, try taping manually by time or channel. And spread the word to freethinking friends, family or colleagues about a TV show, finally, that is dedicated to providing programming for freethinkers!

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wis., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational charity, is the nation's largest association of freethinkers (atheists, agnostics), and has been working since 1978 to keep religion and government separate.

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