Aaron Jackson is a “roving do-gooder” who has helped start orphanages in India and save rainforest in Peru. His latest project is just a little more in-your-face: he’s turning a house across from Westboro Baptist Church into a very obvious gay pride center:
So while considering the Westboro Baptist Church, he began dinking around on Google Maps late one night. He pulled up the church, at 3701 SW 12th St. in Topeka, and took a virtual walk around the block. In the front yard of a house across the street, he noticed a For Sale sign.
“It hit me right away,” Jackson told me last night by phone. “Huh. That would be interesting to own a house across from the Westboro Baptist Church and turn it into something.’ And then, within five seconds: ‘And I’ll paint it the color of the pride flag.’ Perfect.”
The house he’d thought for sale no longer was, but he found another, two doors down, that was still across the street from the Westboro compound. It was listed for something in the $80,000s.
“I find that if you have a hate group in front of your home, that should bring the price of your home down just a little bit,” Jackson said. “Unfortunately the gentleman that was selling the house, he didn’t seem to agree with me.” The guy wouldn’t budge. Jackson was tempted to walk away. “What he did not know,” Jackson said, “where he had me, was I needed this home. I had to have this house. There was no way around it.”
Eventually the guy dropped to 81 and threw in a new roof. Jackson bought it sight unseen, without knowing so much as the number of bedrooms. Turns out there are two bedrooms, one bathroom, a carpeting dining area, two garages (the house sits at a corner), a fireplace, hardwood floors, a small porch, and a decent-sized yard that overlooks the headquarters of an active hate group. “The view is what I bought the home for,” Jackson said.