The Westboro Baptist Church is probably the most deplorable congregation of people ever to walk the face of the Earth. They do nothing but spew hate speech and manipulate the minds of the ignorant and the young. What they preach doesn’t even make sense—but that doesn’t matter and this article isn’t about WBC. This article is about Aaron Jackson.
Aaron Jackson is the co-founder of Planting Peace, a non-profit aimed at providing sustainable initiatives to impoverished areas. Jackson says he was looking up the “church” on Google Earth when he noticed a ‘for sale’ sign on the house across the street from the “church” headquarters. That’s when he decided to buy it.
Planting Peace purchased the home and moved into the neighborhood. “[Westboro owns] the majority of the homes in the community, and I walk through the area every day, and I see them running in between each other’s houses,” Jackson said. “One day I was walking, and Shirley Phelps [one of Westboro's main spokespeople and the daughter of the church's leader, Fred Phelps] was on her four-wheeler. And I said, ‘Hey guys, how are you?’ And [she and her husband] responded, ‘Oh, we’re good. How are you?’ We had a short conversation, and she was extremely nice, and she made a joke and we all laughed.”
Shirley Phelps probably wasn’t laughing when Jackson decided to spruce up the house he bought. He decided to paint the exterior—not a strange thing to do when you purchase a home—but Jackson decided to paint the house a rainbow and use the home for LGBT rights headquarters. “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,” said Jackson. “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.”
“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, [the house] 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.”
Jackson says he’s already noticed members of the church coming by to take pictures.
Social justice is an important thing, right? A church in a town that I would probably be terrified to visit refused to host the wedding of a couple because the couple was black. This was prompted by a minority of the congregation, but that minority were apparently not too ashamed of their bigotry to speak up.
The rights of women are still being attacked in the 21st century. Gay people are bullied and terrorized for being who they are. Transgender people are met with misunderstanding and discrimination, sometimes even by people who do not think of themselves as bigoted. People of minority religions are persecuted. Pigs’ heads are placed in front of mosques. Ethnicity (or perceived ethnicity) makes people into targets. All of this is terrible. And it is wonderful to see people come together, in person and online, to condemn discrimination and oppression.
Unfortunately, other groups come together online. I’m not talking about evil groups like terrorists or online pedophile rings or “white power” groups. Right now, I’m talking about people who see oppression and use the language used by people who suffer from genuine oppression to describe themselves. It’s complicated.
Do you guys know what otherkin are? They are people who identify as fictional creatures (such as dragons) or as wild animals. As in: “I’m an arctic fox, trapped in the body of a human.” In some cases, otherkin will identify as more than one of these. “I am a fruit bat, but sometimes I’m a mermaid.” I’ve read of people identifying as …
I hate political ads. The exaggerations, half-truths, and skewed use of data intended to convince the ignorant just really piss me off—and this is true on both sides of the political spectrum. I was watching the news with my mother a couple of weeks ago, and we noticed an interesting trend—lumping the Democratic candidate in with Nancy Pelosi.
Yeah, it’s true, Nancy Pelosi has evidently become the anti-Christ, at least if the political advertisements of New Hampshire were any indication. It got down to pretty low levels, too—“She’s running for the state house of representatives and has never even met Nancy Pelosi … BUT SHE AGREES WITH HER AND IS JUST LIKE HER SO DON’T VOTE FOR HER!”
My mother and I had kind of an interesting conversation about just what Nancy Pelosi’s done that’s so bad and came up with a list no more or less glaring than any other politician’s. The fact remains, though, that Pelosi was unquestionably the whipping girl in the recent elections—so what does this mean for her political future?
Newsflash: we are sharing the earth with a group of raging assholes. At least that’s what the recent burning of a Murfreesboro, Tennessee mosque construction site seems to suggest. The incident, in which someone poured flammable liquid on four pieces of construction equipment, is being investigated as arson. My question is, who the hell raised these arsonists? And where are their mothers?
A spokeswoman for the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, Carmie Ayash, said:
“Everyone in our community no longer feels safe. To set a fire that could have blown up equipment and, God forbid, spread and caused damage to the neighbors there … we really feel like this is something that we and the neighbors don’t deserve.”