Appropriately titled considering the Westboro Baptist church strong stance on almost anything really but especially their holy war so to speak on the LGBT community with their anti-gay sentiments. If you are not familiar with the group let me help you out. The church has a sign hanging outside their church (the building above on the left) that reads, “GodHatesAmerica.com” and a fun fact for all of the newbies out there is the Westboro Baptist church is famous or I should say infamous for their protests of military funerals where they will shout slogan and carry signs within hearing or seeing distance while the funeral is underway making an already very unfortunate situation worse. Their slogans range from stick figures having sex to “God hates fags” or “Thank God for dead soldiers.” The church as well as its founder have become infamous for their protests and media attention drowning out their opposition however they can. Many groups have tried to drown out the noise with singing or their own peace loving slogans, but my favorite would be the group of bikers who showed up to a funeral of a soldiers whose young bride was scared of the group and already distraught over the death of her husband. In order to shield her from the verbal onslaught, the bikers drowned out the noise by revving the engine of their motorcycle cleverly protecting the young woman from the abuse. Apparently, several groups of bikers have made it their mission to show up to these funerals and the latest promise was for the Sandy Hook victims funerals in order to protect the innocent from the Westboro Baptist members.
The newest group who have decided to take on the church just happened to buy a house across the street…their name, Equality House, and Planting Peace’s mission is to directly challenge teachings of the church. How can he do this? Simple he has turned the house into a giant gay flag painted in bright colors with prime viewing directly across the street from the church. Aaron Jackson, one of the founders of Planting Peace, a charity that wears many hats in the past focused on rainforest conservation, opening orphanages and deworming programs, bought the house six months ago in Topeka, Kansas, and on March 19 the team of volunteers painted the house to match the gay pride flag. Jackson told the Huff Post about why he purchased the house:
“I read a story about Josef Miles, a 10-year-old kid who counter-protested the Westboro Baptist Church by holding the sign that says ‘God Hates No One.’ I didn’t know anything about the church or where they were located, but that story kept popping up. And one night I wondered, Where is this church? I got on Google Earth, and I was ‘walking down the road,’ and I did a 360 view. And I saw a ‘For Sale’ sign sitting in the front yard of a house. Right away it hit me, Oh my gosh, I could buy a house in front of the WBC! And immediately I thought: And I’m going to paint that thing the color of the pride flag. The reason I haven’t gotten into the gay rights activism is because, in a sense, it’s almost silly — it’s 2013, are we really still in this position? It just seems ludicrous,” he said. “But it is a real issue and kids are killing themselves. I’ve wanted to do something, and I knew when I saw that house for sale that it all came together. Everyone who knows me knows that I’m a little crazy and there’s no red tape in my charity. When I want to do something, I do it.”
Jackson, according to Huff Post, believes the Westboro Baptist Church and the Phelps family is well aware of his presence in the town and expecting some sort of action as he has already encounter members of the group and the Phelps family who has run the church since 1956. Surprisingly enough, he told the Huff Post that the family member have been quite pleasant toward him especially Shirley Phelps, the daughter of the church leader Fred Phelps, but Jackson has already seen several church member taking photos of the house especially the industrial flagpole he installed that is in direct line of site of the Westboro Baptist Church’s pole that flies the pride flag and American flag upside down. The mission according to Jackson will be for Equality house not just to be symbol but take the negative attention of the Westboro Baptist Church and make it a positive by teaching people where there is hate, there is love. One last thought on the subject from Jackson himself reported by the Huff Post: “I love seeing all of these Republicans and all these people who have been anti-gay all this time jumping ship because they know they’re on the wrong side of history. It’s an amazing thing to see. I know we have a long way to go in fighting bigotry, but we all know the gays are going to win. It’s going to happen.”