Hi, Neighbor: LGBT Equality House Meets Westboro Baptist Church

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March 19, 2013; Source: Topeka Capital-Journal

The Westboro Baptist Church is famous for the hateful slogan “God Hates Fags” and for anti-gay picketing (which has generated counter-actions that NPQ has noted here and here). The nonprofit organization Planting Peace recently purchased a home across the street from the Westboro Baptist Church. Yesterday, it painted that home in the rainbow colors of the LGBT pride flag. Planting Peace co-founder Andrew Jackson first heard about the Westboro church when nine-year-old Josef Miles held up a sign reading “God hates no one” during a picketing event in Topeka, Kan., where the church is based. The image went viral and sparked Jackson’s attention, and he then decided to purchase a home for his nonprofit on the same street.

Planting Peace’s “Equality House” will be used to house volunteers working on the nonprofit’s campaigns and the organization hopes the house symbolizes “equality, peace and positive change.” Planting Peace is not solely focused on LGBT issues; it is currently working towards deworming each and every child in Guatemala and it also works on aid to orphans, rainforest conservation, and planting trees.

On the topic of the rainbow Equality House, Jackson told the Topeka Capital-Journal, “This isn’t us trying to start a war with them or anything of that nature. This is just, they believe one thing and we believe another. We’re opposing their view.” It will be interesting to see whether Westboro Baptist Church members will react in similar civil “agree to disagree” fashion with such a pro-equality symbol staring them in the face. –Aine Creedon