Across from Westboro Baptist

Sometimes here in Ontario we forget that there still exist in our world and time, groups like the Westboro Baptist contingent of Calvinism. (I don’t like referring to the group as either “Christian” or a “Church” because they don’t act like either; they are an insult to both.) We in Canada have our own issues with regards to LGBTQ-hatred, they’re just a little better hidden. In Kansas, the Westboro Baptist clan don’t have to hide, and they can proclaim their hatred and work against God to anyone who’ll listen. As a result, they and groups like them can continue to expand their satanic message among others. Members of the group have been explicitly banned from Canada under hate speech laws (CBC, 2008).

With the beginning of spring, the people of Topeka, Kansas have a bit of a brighter community. Aaron Jackson, who has used his charity “Planting Peace” to develop a variety of projects around the world, bought the house across from the Westboro compound; he’s painted it rainbow colours and plans to fly the rainbow flag. He calls it “Equality House”. He intends it to be a very positive place: “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.” (Current, 2013)

Apparently he’s always been supportive of LGBTQ rights, and considers himself a “straight ally”. It took him a while to find something he could do that would practically add to the stand others were taking, however: “The reason I haven’t gotten into the gay rights activism is because, in a sense, it’s almost silly — it’s 2013, are we really still in this position? It just seems ludicrous. But it is a real issue and kids are killing themselves. I’ve wanted to do something, and I knew when I saw that house for sale that it all came together. Everyone who knows me knows that I’m a little crazy and there’s no red tape in my charity. When I want to do something, I do it.” (Huffington Post, 2013)

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This entry was posted in geography, Politics, Popular Culture, queer issues, Values and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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