Watch Megan Phelps-Roper describe how people listened and talked with her over social media, and how her views began to change. She’s inspiring people to have conversations with others that might think differently. Only through communicating and accepting our shared humanity can we move forward toward a more loving and caring world.
As you watch Megan, pay attention to her experience with what she describes as “engaging the other.” She was taught Westboro Baptist Church’s agenda from infancy. Only people in their community were on the right path, and everyone else was headed towards damnation. The extreme views were slowly dismantled through conversation over Twitter with individuals who took the time to engage with her.
Watch Megan draw a parallel to today’s public discourse over politics. She says, “We’ve broken the world into us and them, only emerging from our bunkers long enough to lob rhetorical grenades at the other camp. We write off half the country as “out of touch liberal elites” or “racist misogynist bullies.” No nuance. No complexity. No humanity.”
She describes four steps that can powerfully shift us closer to a united society, instead of furthering divisions.
Don’t assume bad intent.
Make the argument.
Watch Megan explain eloquently and kindly how to connect with others through giving them the benefit of the doubt, asking and receiving questions, staying calm, and making the argument. Her experience shows that with social media and these four actions we all have the power to bring other people to our side. We also all have it within us to see that we may want to change some of what we believe, because we are all just human beings.
To read more about strong religious and other beliefs check out Henry Ward Beecher, and the book Under the Banner of Heaven by John Krakauer.