Entertainment, Review

Review: Surviving America’s Most Hated Family

0 83

By Ben Thompson

Louis Theroux’s latest documentary for the BBC saw him revisiting the Westboro Baptist Church – the infamous church in Kansas, USA, best known for their ‘God Hates Fags’ rhetoric.

Having previously documented the small church in previous installments in 2006 and 2010, Theroux was no stranger to the church’s vitriolic rhetoric. The church is clear on where it stands, and lets the world know about their beliefs when they turn out to protest funerals. Their signs, featuring messages such as ‘God Hates America’ and ‘America Is Doomed’ being among their tamest, are synonymous with a hatred that has turned the divided nation of America squarely against them.

This documentary sought to look at the vulnerabilities of the church. Theroux spoke to former members of the church, who had been exiled upon recanting their beliefs, and learnt of the circumstances that led to them turning their backs on all they’d ever known.

Of particular focus was Megan Phelps Roper, the grand-daughter of the church founder Fred Phelps. Megan speaks to colleges across the USA, offering her insight on how to reach radicalized individuals. With her TED talk garnering 4.5 million views on YouTube, she’s clearly a voice many believe has a unique perspective.

Theroux’s line of questioning in the documentary also sees current church members get agitated with him, and the hour-long program is not without its tense moments.

It was particularly surprising to me, as somebody who has long been familiar with the church, to see the church members show such vulnerability.

Shirley Phelps Roper, the church’s most infamous member who often appeared as their representative in the media, is seen clearly within the documentary as a wounded woman. Three of her children have left the church, and by the standards of her faith, she can no longer see them. To witness her on the brink of tears in front of Theroux made her seem wholly different from the woman who would usually be leading her church in protest.

Theroux’s trilogy of documentaries show the gradual breakdown of a insulated church that views the outside world as evil and wicked. I wouldn’t be surprised if he still has enough material for a fourth installment.

About the author / 

Ben Thompson

Modern History student. Mostly writes about politics and social issues.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More News Stories:

  • 17-Year-Old Stabbed on 142 Magic Bus on Rusholme’s Curry Mile

    By Shawna Healey A 17-year-old boy was stabbed on a 142 Magic Bus by a knifeman wearing a balaclava. It is reported that the event happened approximately around 4:00 pm on Tuesday 15th of October on Wilslow Road, near the junction of Claremont Road. Greater Manchester Police are treating it as an isolated incident, that they…

  • Cast of Riverdale pay heartfelt tribute to actor Luke Perry in new season

    By Shawna Healey The cast of Riverdale paid a heartfelt tribute to fellow actor Luke Perry’s untimely death in the first episode of season four, which aired last week. Perry, aged 52, also known for his role in 90210, died from a stroke in his LA home on the 4th of May this year. He was mourned by…

  • Manchester students call for Gandhi statue to be scrapped

    Manchester City Council have agreed to erect a statue of Mahatma Gandhi outside Manchester Cathedral Shrimad Rajchandra Mission have said the statue would “recognise Manchester’s compassion” after the Manchester Arena attack in May 2017 The statue is set to be be unveiled on the 25th November Students have published an open letter addressing Manchester City…