Gays Open Rainbow Painted ‘Equality House’ Next To Westboro Baptist Church, Westboro Collectively Clenches Its ‘Cheeks’ In Shock
The Westboro Baptist Church has a very colorful new neighbor today. A Topeka man by the name of Aaron Jackson took it upon himself to purchase a fine piece of real estate that is seated directly across the street from the notorious Westboro Baptist Church, an organzation that has a long history of antagonizing those of the LGBT community, picketing funerals of good Americans and other villainous things that you’d see in a very macabre comic.
But in this real life example of strength in the face of malevolent adversity, we can all smile and just think as Pastor Fred Phelps and his crews wake up every day to binge drink their prune juice and collectively clamp their heine cheeks tightly as they protest all day and have all sorts of latent Freudian psychological issues going on, they will not be able to miss this brightly colored center for gay rights.
Topeka is an odd town, full of enough conservatives that Governor Mike Huckabee’s book tour makes a stop and conservative Christian organization The CW used to be housed there. But as time progressed, the town developed a very strong progressive bent, namely and most likely from the growing ‘children’ of prior generation developing naturally liberal tendencies with the advent of the internet and common sense. As such, a bold statement as the new Equality House has been a long time coming, but not a surprise for a burgeoning culture of egalitarianism within the city.
The Westboro Equality House found its roots in actions of Aaron Jackson, who founded a group named Planting Peace. The charity found an opportunity to ‘plant peace’ right across the street from the Westboro Baptist Church in the form of a house that will serve as a gleaming headquarters for the LGBT movement.
On March 19th, Jackson and friends got together to paint the house to match the gay pride flag.
In an interview with the HuffPost, Jackson told the story of a young boy named Josef Miles. The young man counter-protested the ‘Church’, holding a sign which read ‘God Hates No One’. When surveying the area on Google Earth, Jackson found out there was a house for sale directly across the street from the compound. With images of colorful brushstrokes and angrily stamping ministers in his head, Jackson knew he had to buy the house and give a gift to Topeka.
Jackson’s Planting Peace bought the house for $83,000 and while he has lived in Topeka for not even a month, his actions are already making a bit impact.
Like many in the community, Jackson has found his encounters with the Phelps family (Shirley Roeper-Phelps, in particular) to be shockingly pleasant:
Planting Peace bought the house for roughly $83,000, and Jackson has been living in Topeka for just over a month. As he waited for the perfect time to transform the house into a very visible celebration of gay pride — and a direct challenge to what Westboro preaches — he encountered members of the group, including the Phelps family, which has run the church since it was established in 1956.
“They own the majority of the homes in the community, and I walk through the area every day, and I see them running in between each other’s houses,” he said. “One day I was walking, and Shirley Phelps [one of Westboro's main spokespeople and the daughter of the church's leader, Fred Phelps] was on her four-wheeler. And I said, ‘Hey guys, how are you?’ And [she and her husband] responded, ‘Oh, we’re good. How are you?’ We had a short conversation, and she was extremely nice, and she made a joke and we all laughed.”
“It’s the craziest thing — and it really throws you off — because she’s the type of woman who calls you “hun” and “darling” — she’s very Southern,” he said. “It’s like, aren’t you the lady that’s supposed to be casting me into hell? It’s truly mind-boggling, but I can’t say anything personally bad about her because she was kind to me and she made me laugh. She’d probably be fun to hang out with.”
The potential standoffs between the Equality House and the Westboro Church seem inevitable, but the good in this story is that in the name of progress, peaceful protests and demonstrations can make a change in the community, and perhaps nationwide, as we have seen in times past. There were once times when women and racial minorities had to group together and make ‘stands’ such as this, to get the type of peaceful change men like Martin Luther King, Jr, would find worthy and practical.
Jackson hopes to raise capital for more anti-bullying campaigns across America. If you like the idea of the Equality House, please feel free to click here and support it. More stories will be forthcoming on the home’s progress.