Aaron Jackson gives the Westboro “Baptist Church” some curb appeal

March 27th, 2013

With the Supreme Court holding hearings this week it seems like gay marriage is on everyone’s lips, and no group has a greater reputation filthy mouths than the Westboro “Baptist Church” in Topeka Kansas. But Aaron Jackson, founder of PlantingPeace.org, wasn’t going to wait for the government so solve the problem of hate mongering. Instead, he purchased the house across the street through his charity and painted it the rainbow colors of the pride flag.

Planting Peace is a charitable organization founded by Aaron Jackson and John Dieubon that has a global scope planting trees, building orphanages and spreading peace and equality around the world in places like Haiti.

After looking up Westboro “Baptist Church” online 6 months ago he spotted a “For Sale” sign across the street in Google Streetview and Planting Peace bought the place for $83,000. Although not gay himself, he identifies as a “straight ally” and on March 19th he and a team of volunteers painted the strategically located house to match the rainbow pride flag dubbing the property, “The Equality House.”

The Westboro bigots are famous for blaming everything from 9/11 to Hurricane Katrina on the American people’s tolerance of homosexuality. They protest pride parades, soldier funerals and recently the Sandy Hook memorial services, imagining that every tragedy that befalls anyone anywhere must be God’s punishment for not hating who they hate.

Jackson reports members of the “church” snooping around taking pictures of the Equality House, especially after he installed an industrial flagpole to fly the pride flag opposite the Westboro “Baptist Churh” upside-down American flag.

Jackson said, “It looks like the United Nations is having a stand off with flags. These flag poles are huge. They know that we’ve forked out big money for this.” He’s announced plans to use the house to host anti-bullying programs, some that they’ll create and some that already exist.

The strategy seems to be to not only provide something positive, but to confront the negative directly, where it resides. Now the Westboro “Baptist Church” can’t get media attention with the new camera giving an honorable mention to the opposite message right across the street.

The hate-mongers face opposition everywhere they go. For example, my brother, Steven Barker likes to spoof their whole act. He crashes their demonstrations as a counter protester, dressed as a priest from the Church of the Galactic Hitchhiker. He carries a megaphone and a hardbound copy of The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide Guide to the Galaxy and lectures them about not having their towels… because how can you trust anyone claiming to know the TRUTH about Life, the Universe, and Everything if they don’t even remember their towel?

The hate-mongers even face opposition from former members. Lauren Drain, who released a book about her life in the “church” recently suggested that Westboro’s leader, Fred Phelps, may himself be gay. It has become a cliche that the most outspoken anti-gay demagogues are in fact closet homosexuals themselves, and the champions of “traditional family values” are engaged in extramarital affairs.

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About the Author: Davi Barker

In grade school Davi refused to recite the pledge of allegiance because he didn't understand what it meant. He was ordered to do as he was told. In college he spent hours scouring through the congressional record trying to understand this strange machine. That's where he discovered Dr. Ron Paul. In 2007 he joined the End The Fed movement and found a political home with the libertarians. The Declaration of Independence claims that the government derives its power “from the consent of the governed." He does not consent.