An activist taking on gay rights is mimicking the in-your-face tactics of the Westboro Baptist Church and using them against the group—he bought a home right in front of the church and painted it with the symbolic gay rainbow colors.
The “Equality House,” as it was dubbed, is the brainchild of Aaron Jackson, one of the founders of charity Planting Peace, which has previously concentrated on issues like rainforest conservation. He finished painting it on March 19.
According to the Huffington Post, Jackson bought the house for $83,000, has been living in Topeka, Kansas for just over a month. He said he was motivated to get into the equal rights battle and target the “God Hates Fags” church after reading a story about Josef Miles, a 10-year-old kid who counter-protested the Westboro Baptist Church by holding the sign that says “God Hates No One.”
“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,” he told Huff Post.
Jackson said he has seen what appeared to be members of the church taking photos of his house -- the majority of the surrounding homes in the community are owned by the Phelps family, the founders of the church.
The activist said that besides painting the house, he’ll add a massive flagpoles to display the gay flag. The purpose of these form of protest is to channel the negative energy of the church into something positive.
“We want this house to be a message that where there's hate, there's also love. But we also want to raise awareness and capital, and we want to put all that money into creating and sustaining anti-bullying programs, along with supporting anti-bullying programs that already exist,” he said.
“Beyond the symbolic message of the home, will be utilized by volunteers to live here, and these volunteers will work on promoting equality anywhere in the world and managing these anti-bullying initiatives that we plan on creating.”
For more on this story, go to the Huffington Post Gay Voices.