A Westboro Equality House has gone up across the street from the volatile anti-gay church in Kansas, a not-so-subtle form of protest painted out in rainbow colors.
The house was the project of Aaron Jackson, a founder of the multi-pronged charity Planting Peace. Though the organization has a strong focus on wildlife preservation, opening orphanages, and deworming programs, Jackson recently bought a home across from the Westboro Baptist Church to create a giant protest against the church.
Jackson calls the project “Equality House,” which he said is the opening salvo in a campaign against the Westboro Baptist Church, the church that has made a habit of harassing gays and protesting funerals.
Jackson said he got the idea from another counter-protest against the church.
The action was one of a growing number of protests against the church. Their funeral protests have long been blocked by members of then Patriot Guard, a group of motorcycle riders who block them from the view of mourners.
Last year the hactivist group Anonymous got in on the act, posting personal information on church members after they threatened to protest funerals for children killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
“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.’ ”
Jackson bought Equality House across from the Westboro Baptist Church for $83,000 and has been living in Topeka for a little more than a month. Church members own most of other homes in the neighborhood, and he’s had some pleasant interactions with the Phelps family.
But Jackson said he doesn’t think the truce will last too long. He said he’s expecting the Westboro Baptist Church to take some kind of action against Equality House in the near future.