Acclaimed British author Nick Hornby is writing a film about a woman who left the anti-Semitic Westboro Baptist Church after corresponding with a Jewish blogger.
The screenplay about the transformation of Megan Phelps-Roper has the working title ‘This Above All’. Reese Witherspoon has reportedly have been approached to produce the film, which will be based on Phelps-Roper’s upcoming memoir and her debate on Twitter with David Abitbol, the Jerusalem-based founder of the Jewish culture blog Jewlicious.
Phelps-Roper’s exit from Westboro Baptist Church, the Kansas-based congregation notorious for picketing the funerals of gay men and American soldiers and protesting outside synagogues shouting “God Hates Jews”, was facilitated in part by her correspondence with Abitbol.
Phelps-Roper is the granddaughter of church founder Fred Phelps, who pioneered the church’s radical theology.
The church claims that President Barack Obama is the antichrist and celebrates the Aids epidemic as God’s strategy to rid the world of the evil of homosexuality.
The Anti-Defamation League has called the church a “small virulently homophobic, anti-Semitic hate group.”
An article by Adrian Chen in the New Yorker recounted how Phelps-Roper, who was having some doubts about the church’s teachings, turned to Twitter for answers.
She found a list of the 100 most influential Jewish Twitter users. She created an account under the pseudonym Marissa Cohen and followed many of the people on the list hoping to learn if Westboro’s prophecies, many focused on Jews, were coming true.
Conversations with Abitbol forced her to question her family’s fundamentalist beliefs, and in 2012 she and her sister left Westboro Baptist Church and were excommunicated by their family.
Nick Hornby is best known for his memoir Fever Pitch and novels High Fidelity and About a Boy, all of which were adapted into feature films.