’God Hates Fags’ Church Gets Gay Pride Neighbor
Aaron Jackson, a founder of the nonprofit Planting Peace organization, made headlines on Tuesday when he painted the house he recently bought with the colors of the rainbow.
What made the story sensational is the house is directly across the street from the ultra-anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church. As Gawker reported, Jackson, 31, and a team of volunteers painted the house located in Topeka, Kan., in order to match the colors of the gay pride flag. The team also erected a pride flag on a 30-foot flagpole.
Jackson calls his project "Equality House." He and friends painted the pride flag on the house to counteract the WBC and their anti-gay message, "God hates fags."
WBC member Shirley Phelps-Roper, a spokeswoman and attorney for the group, told Kansas City Fox affiliate WDFA, "I just love it."
She said the house "keeps the eyes of the whole earth on this message. Now everyday all people are thinking about is God will not have same-sex marriage."
That’s probably not what most people are thinking, however, since a new poll shows that support for marriage equality is at a record high. Fifty-eight percent of Americans now back gay marriage.
Gawker notes that Planting Peace, a charity that has worked on rainforest conservation, opened orphanages and deworming programs, bought the house for more than $80,000. Jackson said he had been looking for a way to support the LGBT community, anti-bullying programs and equality.
"I’ve been accused in the past of being all over the place, and they’re probably right on some level," Jackson told Gawker. "Right now we are standing up to bigotry and promoting equality."
He said that he heard of the WBC after he read a story about Josef Miles, a 10-year-old boy who photo bombed one the church’s intimidating protests by holding a sign that said "God Hates No One." Once Jackson discovered that there was a house for sale across the street from the WBC headquarters, he pounced on the opportunity.
"I find that if you have a hate group in front of your home, that should bring the price of your home down just a little bit," Jackson said.
Officials from the church released a statement to CNN that said, "We thank God for the Sodomite Rainbow House. It is right across the street from the ONLY church that loves people enough to tell them the Bible truth about the filthy, soul-damning, nation-destroying sin of sodomy...The Sodomite Rainbow house helps shine a bright spotlight on this!"
Watch CNN’s report on the two Topeka neighbors below: