Megan Phelps-Roper is the granddaughter of Westboro Baptist Church founder Fred Phelps. She made news a few years ago when she escaped and renounced the cult of her childhood, an experience she describes in a new book. Her story, which I’ve followed since she first left the so-called church, is absolutely fascinating. And in her recent interview with popular atheist podcaster Sam Harris, Phelps-Roper offers a glimpse into the evil philosophy behind Westboro.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed Senate Bill 660 recently. It specifies that an employer shall not “discriminate nor take any retaliatory personnel action” against employees with respect to their beliefs and choices regarding abortion. The bill makes no exceptions for religious organizations.
One of the groups that will no longer be funded by Chick-Fil-A is the Salvation Army. They specialize in ministering to the homeless and the hungry, the precise type of group Chick-fil-A's press release says they are shifting their focus toward. Clearly, there was more to Chick-fil-A's Monday announcement than new priorities.
The more that violence fills the news, the more we need examples to give us hope. That’s why Tom Hanks is such an important model for our culture. Hanks’ movies have grossed nearly $10 billion worldwide. His portrayal of Fred Rogers will be at least his seventy-first film.
The sappiness of “Hallmark’s Countdown to Christmas” triggers a Pavlovian snark response for many of us. None of these movies are, shall we say, “critically acclaimed.” Still, what these movies lack in Oscar nominations, they make up for in something that those creating and distributing edgier flicks would kill for: millions and millions of viewers.