An apparent attempt to antagonize members of the tiny Westboro Baptist Church—by painting a giant gay pride flag onto a house across the street—seems to have failed.
Church member Shirley Phelps-Roper, a spokesperson and attorney for the fanatical touring group, told Kansas City TV station WDAF, "I just love it."
The rainbow house, Phelps-Roper said, "keeps the eyes of the whole earth on this message. Now everyday all people are thinking about is God will not have same-sex marriage."
Six months ago, a non-profit called Planting Peace purchased the small Topeka, Kan., house for $83,000. The organization's founder, Aaron Jackson, told The Advocate, a gay news publication, the repainted house—which he calls The Equality House—will be used to support a variety of gay-themed causes, including anti-bullying efforts.
The Advocate notes that the new "drop-in" center is not only located by Westboro's church, but amid other houses on the street owned by congregation members.
The church is infamous for picketing the funerals of fallen soldiers with vulgar anti-gay signs and posters. They often picket for maximum exposure and are frequently greeted by irate locals.
The notoriety of the church far outpaces its actual influence. Most members are from a single family, related in some way to patriarch Fred Phelps. A significant stream of income for the church comes from lawsuits, many arguing that state and local laws—or enforcement of the laws—violate members' First Amendment rights.