Ashford Stamper, A/D for The Pitch called last Thursday to do a cover for them for Monday. The story was about a key player in the Westboro Baptist Church who seemed to have found religion but lost some family members, in particular, a daughter, in the process.
I heard about all the press this church was getting over the years with their hatemongering displaying signs such as 'God Hates Fags' and 'God Hates America'...essentially spinning the bible to meet some diluted variation of what they read. I didn't know too much about this group beyond that so after we agreed on a fee and I got the article on Friday, I decided to do some deeper research beyond the article.
I was up around 4:30AM Saturday morning and started watching documentaries on this 'church'. It was alarming to see this very closed off family, who pretty much blocks out most of the world and get rammed into their minds, hateful words by their patriarchal leader, Fred Phelps over and over again. For about 6 hours I watched documentaries and interviews transfixed on how amazingly brainwashed they are.
My original set of sketches were focused on one of the daughters, Lauren, who had left the 'church'. There were TV interviews I watched also with her. She outright states that her father is brainwashed but is also very sad that she has no communication with her family. On the flipside, when discussing their daughter, Drain and his wife react as if she doesn't really exist anymore falling back emotionally stating it was 'God's Decision' - sort of pushing off all responsibility to their God. After a while, you see that their justification for everything they do which includes upsetting people and picketing funerals of fallen soldiers lacks any sort of personal responsibility and falls on 'God's' shoulders. It was incredible to see how emotionally detached they were toward their daughter because Lauren decided that the sort of thing her family was involved with wasn't for her.
In the end, the discussion went toward focusing more on Drain and the brainwashed/focus that seemed to overtake him from when he first discovered Westboro, moving from Florida to join this church in Kansas and alienate everyone he knew and even his own family.
Here's a link to the full article.