Civil Liberties

People Can't Stop Giving Hateful Westboro Church the Attention They Crave

Gay rights supporters can't stop picking this one festering wound


I'd be more worried about the Homeowners Association's reaction.

If people hate the virulently anti-gay, anti-non-Christian, military-funeral-picketing Westboro Baptist Church (and the Phelps family members who constitute it) so much, why are folks so insistent on doing things that garner the church/family additional media attention?

The latest effort, as attention-seeking as it is pointless (just like the Phleps family), involves a gay rights supporter buying a house near the church in Topeka, Kansas, and painting it all rainbow-colored. CNN reports:

The house [Aaron] Jackson initially wanted was sold by the time he got around to buying, but luckily for him, there was another one, on the corner of 12th and SW Orleans streets that was perfect. He paid about $83,000 — a bargain, he'd say, for what he was trying to accomplish. This week, he and others from his nonprofit Planting Peace painted the house in rainbow colors that represent gay pride. …

He said he'll use "Equality House" to raise money for an anti-bullying campaign. By Wednesday afternoon, Planting Peace had raised almost $22,000.

The Phelps family is obviously, predictably loving this. It means more sweet, delicious press coverage for their brand of lunacy:

"We thank God for the sodomite rainbow house," said a statement sent to CNN. "It is right across the street from the only church that loves people enough to tell them the Bible truth about the filthy, soul-damning, nation destroying sin of sodomy … . The sodomite rainbow house helps shine a bright spotlight on this!"

At times, it's as though the gay and gay-friendly obsession with the Westboro Baptist Church rivals the church's obsession with gay men's butts. It's frustrating, because the members of the Phelps family are such cartoonish outliers in the very real debate over gay rights. They're an easy piñata, but the effort spent whacking at them is time away from engaging opponents on gay rights issues who have actual power. There were probably more effective ways to spend $83,000, though no doubt Topeka's housing market appreciates the investment.