Libby Phelps Alvarez is the granddaughter of Fred Phelps, leader of the Westboro Baptist "Church." She left the Topeka, Kansas-based congregation, famous for picketing the soldiers of American soldiers killed in action, holding signs bearing slogans like "god hates fags" in 2009.
Wednesday she appeared on Anderson Live to talk about her decision to leave the church into which she was indoctrinated as a young child. Alvarez said she began picketing with the other members of the church (most of whom are related in some way to Phelps) when she was eight. Though she was raised to believe the church's beliefs and was never exposed to other ways of thinking, it's still hard to feel sorry for Alvarez on account of the terrible things she's said and done in the past, including revealing earlier this year that she'd prayed for people to die. She vaguely expressed regret for her actions to Cooper, saying, "I do regret if I hurt people, because that was never my intention."
During the show, Cooper also introduced Alvarez to Sherry and Randy Wyatt, whose son Sterling was killed in Afghanistan, his funeral was picketed by members of the Westboro Baptist Church. Sherry Wyatt had this to say to Alvarez, and to the Westboro congregation as a whole:
Our son died to ensure freedom of assembly, to ensure freedom of speech, to ensure freedoms for those that are white, black, gay, straight, rich, poor ... All that we get from your actions is just a show of absolute hate. We had thousands stand shoulder to shoulder in 105 degree heat, we had businesses bringing in water, we had our American Legion Auxiliary cooking hot dogs, we had people setting up health stations because of the heat. That is community, that is church.