|Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas. (Wikimedia Commons/Americasroof/HO)
Two sisters have announced their departure from the Wesboro Baptist Church, the Kansas-based parish known for protesting the funerals of soldiers and children under the slogan "God hates fags."
In a Batman-referencing blog post Wednesday, Megan Phelps-Roper announced that she and her sister Grace -- granddaughters of Wesboro founder Fred Phelps -- quit the infamous organization.
"There's no fresh start in today's world," Megan began, quoting The Dark Knight Rises.
The church members, she said, "work hard and go to school and get married and have kids who they take to church and teach that continually protesting the lives, deaths, and daily activities of The World is the only genuine statement of compassion that a God-loving human can sincerely make.
"Until very recently, this is what I lived, breathed, studied, believed, preached - loudly, daily, and for nearly 27 years. I never thought it would change. I never wanted it to. Then suddenly: it did."
Fred Phelps' son Nate Phelps left the church in 1980, alleging his father physically abused him and his siblings. He now lives in Calgary where he advocates for atheism and gay rights.
"We know that we've done and said things that hurt people. Inflicting pain on others wasn't the goal, but it was one of the outcomes. We wish it weren't so, and regret that hurt," wrote Megan.
"We know that we dearly love our family. They now consider us betrayers, and we are cut off from their lives, but we know they are well-intentioned. We will never not love them."