Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

CNHI/Southeast Iowa

March 20, 2013

Non-profit gets back at Westboro church with rainbow house

TOPEKA, Kan. — Planting Peace has waged a war against Westboro Baptist Church. It's weapon? A paintbrush.

The non-profit environmental conservation agency — which raises money for such endeavors as de-worming children in Haiti, according to its Facebook Page — has purchased a home in Topeka, Kan., across the street from the infamous church and painted it the colors of the gay pride flag.

Westboro is known to picket funerals of slain soldiers and other victims of tragedy and preach a message of hate against the gay community.

Members of the church picketed the funeral of Enid resident Chris Hake in 2008.

Planting Peace came across the property for sale on a whim of its founder, Aaron Jackson, when he was researching the church after seeing a young child countering the its homophobic message with a sign that read, "God Hates No One," according to the Huffington Post.

"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."



Since the paint was applied to Equality House, the group has received a lot of honks from passing cars, the OK from the city of Topeka that it is not violating an ordinances, and thank-yous from a soldier who walked up to the door with a personal message, according to Planting Peace's Facebook Page.

"U.S. veterans keep coming to the door & thanking us. We are united against bigotry. Out of Many, Come One."

Organization officials also posted, "Shirley Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church just waved & said she loved the colors... So we all blew her kisses."

Details provided by The Enid, OK, News and Eagle.

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The Iowegian wants readers to think about the solicitation ordinance that will prevent groups or individuals from entering a roadway to solicit money. The Centerville City Council in June by a 5-0 vote passed the first reading of just such an ordinance. Public pressure and during a subsequent special meeting, the council voted 3-2 to table the ordinance. A second special meeting to discuss the solicitation ordinance is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 7 at City Hall. So, the question of the week is, "Do you or do you not support the ordinance to prevent solicitation of funds in city streets?"

A. I support the ordinance
B. I do not support the ordinance
C. Not sure
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