You’ve likely heard of the Westboro Baptist Church.
Perhaps you’ve seen their pickets on the news, the members holding signs with
messages that are too offensive to copy here, protesting at events such as the
funerals of soldiers, the nine-year old victim of the recent Tucson shooting,
and Elizabeth Edwards, all in front of their grieving families. The WBC is
fervently anti-gay, anti-Semitic, and anti- practically everything and everyone—and
they aren’t going anywhere. In March, the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of
the WBC’s right to picket funerals.
Since no organized religion will claim
affiliation with the WBC, it’s perhaps more accurate to think of them as a
cult. Lauren Drain was thrust into that cult at the age of fifteen and then
spat back out again seven years later. Banished is the first look inside
the organization, as well as a fascinating story of adaptation and
Lauren spent her early years enjoying a normal life with her
family in Florida. But when her formerly liberal and secular father set out to
produce a documentary about the WBC, his detached interest gradually evolved
into fascination, and he moved the entire family to Kansas to join the church
and live on their compound. Over the next seven years, Lauren fully assimilated
their extreme beliefs and became a member of the church and an active and vocal
picketer. But as she matured and began to challenge some of the church’s
tenets, she was unceremoniously cast out from the church and permanently cut
off from her family and everyone else she knew and loved. Banished is the
story of Lauren’s fight to find herself amid dramatic changes in a world of
extremists and a life in exile. Download and start listening now!