Fighting fire with fire doesn't work; neither does fighting hate with hate. Fighting hate with humor, on the other hand, is brilliantly effective -- especially when you add a touch of brightly colored paint. Just ask Aaron Jackson, otherwise known as My New Hero. Jackson, a co-founder of the charity organization Planting Peace, didn't know anything about the Westboro Baptist Church until he heard the story of 10-year-old Josef Miles' profound solo protest (Miles stood opposite a line of Westboro members picketing with their usual array of "God Hates F*gs" signs holding a sign of his own making, which read "God Hates No One"). Naturally, Jackson was inspired by Miles (and appalled by Westboro) and wanted to help, but couldn't think of a way how ... until he noticed that a house across the street from the Westboro Baptist Church was for sale.
That's when Jackson knew:
"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.'"
And that's exactly what he did, except he did so much more than that. Because Jackson didn't just create a rainbow-colored house to piss off the Westboro Baptist Church, he created a safe haven for LGBT youth, a place devoted to healing the hurt caused by Westboro's members and many others: The Westboro Equality House. Jackson explains:
"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."
"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."
Beyond inspiring, right? If I know one thing for certain, it's that God loves Aaron Jackson.
Do you think the Westboro Baptist Church community will be upset about the Westboro Equality House?
Image via torbakhopper/Flickr