$15,000 to live in same town as Westboro Baptist Church


westboro baptist church
Image: @equality_house Instagram

The Choose Topeka program pays new residents up to $15,000 to live in the city that is reluctantly home to the Westboro Baptist Church.

The program pays up to $10,000 to new residents who rent a home in the city or $15,000 to those who buy. It matches employer funds paid to entice needed employees to the city.

Westboro Baptist Church

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Sadly for Topeka, the city remains most famous as the home of the Westboro Baptist Church.

Founded by the now late but unlamented Fred Phelps, the church initially became infamous for its ‘God Hates Fags’ slogan.

After developing a fixation with gay people in the early nineties, church members began protesting at military funerals and picketing other funerals and public events.

Much enamoured of the negative publicity they generate, church members strive for outrage.

The publicity no doubt also encourages donations from bigots around the US. Though, with several lawyers in the extended Phelps family, the church also profits from litigation against cities that refuse them the right to protest.

Shirley Phelps-Roper, Fred’s daughter, ex-communicated Fred from the church in 2013, according to family members.

Equality House and Transgender House

 

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Previously, a non-profit called Planting Peace bought a house opposite the Westboro Baptist Church and a military veteran volunteered to paint it in the colours of the Rainbow Flag. The house became a local centre of LGBTIQ events including hosting weddings.

Later, the organisation bought another neighbouring house and painted it in the colours of the transgender flag. Known originally as Equality House and Transgender House, the two buildings serve as symbols of hope to the LGBTIQ communities. This year Transgender House became Mott House in remembrance of a prominent local transgender activist who died suddenly.

Phelps family members claim that towards the end of his life, Fred Phelps softened his attitude toward LGBTIQ people. They say he spoke out in support of the residents of Equality House across the street. At that time, his daughter relieved him of preaching duties.

Following ex-communication from the church he founded, and no longer a devotee of its core beliefs, he stopped eating and drinking. Finally, he died in 2014.

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Now, local LGBTIQ activists hope the Choose Topeka program will entice many more LGBTIQ residents to the city. Indeed, the Westboro Baptist Church might end up surrounded by the very people it preaches against.

Read More: See Kim Petras troll the Westboro Baptist Church

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