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Westboro ex raising safety net funds for others leaving the church

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A former member of the Westboro Baptist Church has launched a crowdfunding campaign to help other young people to break away from the much-maligned group.

Lauren Drain grew up within the unfriendly confines of the WBC, a small congregation based out of Topeka, Kan., that's been on the national radar since 1991, thanks in large part to their anti-gay protests and their accompanying "God Hates Fags" signs. In 2008, when Drain was 22, she was banished from the group for questioning its faithful methods.

In her own words, Drain—recent author of the bestselling memoir Banished: Surviving my Years in the Westboro Baptist Church—now "lives a happy, free-thinking life," and she's trying to give the same opportunity to those looking to break away from the WBC. To do that, she started a GoFundMe project in hopes of raising $20,000.

"With more and more young members defecting or being kicked out for questioning the church, I want to set up a safety net fund for those who need help getting back on their feet once they escape," she explains. 

"Be it to help with housing, living essentials, educational needs, travel to reconnect with lost family, or just to explore the new world and see first hand that it is full of love not hate and evil like we have been brainwashed to believe."

In the last decade, 19 young people have severed their ties with an organization that just about everyone deems to be a hate group. In February 2013, Megan Phelps-Roper, heir apparent to the WBC and the person responsible for introducing them to social media, published a post on Medium.com explaining her reasons for walking away.

Despite Drain's good intentions, her campaign has only managed to raise $1,570 from 62 donors so far.

Photo via Lauren Drain/Facebook