Religion

Activist Painting House Like a Gay Rainbow, Across Street From Westboro Baptist Church

Last May, the Huffington Post published a photo of a 9-year-old named Josef Miles counter-protesting the Westboro Baptist Church -- a small but infamous group known for protesting soldiers' funerals with signs that declare "God Hates Fags." Miles held a small pencil-drawn sign that said, "God Hates No One."

Seeing Miles stand up to hate, Aaron Jackson got inspired. Jackson is a Florida activist who founded a charity called Planting Peace and who, after being featured in New Times for his work helping children in Haiti when he was just 23, went on to win a CNN Heroes award.

Sitting at a computer at his family home in Destin, Florida, Jackson loaded Google Earth and started poking around the hate group's neighborhood. He located the church's Kansas headquarters in a quiet residential area a few miles outside of Topeka's downtown and zoomed in and panned around.

A hundred and 80 degrees later, he saw it: a for-sale sign directly across the street from the church's entrance.

"I knew right away what I wanted to do with the house," Jackson said Monday from Planting Peace's new Topeka address, where the organization is kickstarting a new antibullying initiative.

"Paint it the colors of the pride flag."

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Erica K. Landau