Karma Is A Bitch Westboro Church

Now, typically I stay away from the bullshit that spews out of the Westboro Baptist Church but I found the story y’all are about to read humorous. Well, at least it was humorous to me. You don’t know who the WBC are? Be a friend and just Google them. But, do a search here in this blog or search the tags and you will also find breath I wasted talking about them. Anyway, I owe thanks to Shannon for sending me an email asking if I saw this story, I hadn’t, so I had to look it up. Shannon is one of a handful who belong to the unofficial Scorpion Army who send me stuff they think I might find interesting and one of the few people who make it through the spamguardian. The following story is being borrowed, to include the writer’s opinion, the pictures, and so forth. I give the original author full and entire credit. As far as my take? This is karma at work, the WBC deserves this little reminder right across the street. Fuck them for how they believe and fuck them for how they act, they are the true meaning of being a piece of shit.

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Paul Lewis in Topeka

Tuesday 23 September 2014 13.02 EDT

Original story in The Guardian here.

Few neighbourly disagreements are as peculiar, or as visible, as the dispute that rages at the end of Southwest Churchill Road, in an otherwise quiet part of Topeka,Kansas.

On one side of the street is the Westboro Baptist church, the insular and fiercely anti-gay group which has gained infamy for its its offensive protests and placard signs. There is an upside-down American flag in the churchyard and billboards informing passing cars that ‘God Hates Fags’, alongside CCTV cameras, threats to trespassers and a warning that homosexuals risk “the vengeance of eternal fire”.

Across the street, its antithesis. A whole house painted top-to-bottom in rainbow colours, the universal symbol of the gay rights movement. A rainbow flag – hung the right way up – flutters above the roof; hand-painted signs in the yard advocate peace and tell passersby: ‘Feel free to come on property for pictures’.

“This is the first amendment right here,” said Davis Hammet, one of three charity workers living in the rainbow-coloured bungalow, which they have called the Equality House. “Within 50 feet you have a rainbow house and you have people telling them to burn in hell.”

Yet something curious has happened in the 18 months since the property directly opposite the Westboro church was purchased by a peace-loving charity and, in one of the more entrepreneurial acts against a hate group, transformed into a multi-coloured haven for peace, equality and gay pride. Despite appearances, the two opposing neighbours have developed a surprisingly cordial, even amiable detente.

“I go out jogging in the morning, and they’re taking out the trash, and we have small talk,” said Hammet. “Like, ‘Hey, it’s a beautiful day outside’ or ‘This damn snow: I wish I could get warm’. Just basic things that you say to neighbours.”

Occupants of the Westboro church and Equality House have even exchanged phone numbers. Recently, when someone took all of the Equality House gay pride flags and, without their knowledge, deposited them in Westboro’s yard, Hammet’s phone beeped with a text message. “It said something like: ‘A criminal has taken your flags and put them in our yard. We have put them in your mailbox. We would like to return them to you.’”

“It is odd. I didn’t really think this was going to happen,” he concedes. “A lot of people would think that in a situation like this we would have two cannons pointed against each other.”

Stranger still, the feeling of neighbourly tolerance extends across the road. “We’re just very happy to have them here,” said Rebekah Phelps-Davis, a prominent member of the church’s 70-strong congregation. In a twist on that oft-quoted Christian axiom ‘The Lord works in mysterious ways’, Phelps-Davis said God must have determined “from eternity past” that the house would be purchased by the campaigners.

The arrival of Equality House, she pointed out, has been a publicity boon for the Westboro Church, drawing attention to their own, gay-hating message. “We’re always cordial,” she said. “We are friendly with them.” Then, frostily, she added: “But we will not be friends with them.”

That is hardly surprising for a church whose vitriolic diatribes against the gay community have offended millions. The Westboro church – banned from entering the UK or Canada – substitutes argument with shock tactics, traveling to New York to hold up placards thanking God for the 9/11 attacks, or picketing the funerals of American soldiers killed in combat. Both, they claim, are God’s punishment to America for tolerating homosexuality.

Their military funeral pickets, in particular, have proven especially controversial, even though they received the backing of the supreme court on free speech grounds.

Phelps-Davis’s may have a point that the arrival of the rainbow house across the street has been a publicity magnet. But she also contended that her neighbours are “just regular Joes” and “as quiet of as the rest of the neighbourhood”, and that is not true.

The Equality House, owned and run by the charity Planting Peace, attracts a steady flow of supporters, campaigners, and eccentrics from all over the world. Few are the typical characters one would expect to see in Topeka.

“We just had a person just show-up and ask if they could be a unicorn in the space,” said Hammet, 24, the director of operations. “They just showed up in black leather bondage gear, plus rainbow tassles and a unicorn horn, and kind of danced around on the front lawn.”

The Westboro residents have looked on as their neighbours encouraged same sex couples to kiss on their roof, held a gay wedding ceremony in their front yard – directly opposite Westboro’s ‘Gay Marriage Dooms Nations’ sign – and even hosted a rowdy LGBT festival, to be repeated next month, called “Drag Down Bigotry.”

The house has predictably gained fame online, and its residents have become adept at viral fundraising. When a five-year-old girl set up a pink lemonade stand on its lawn, asking for donations to support peace and equality, the campaign took off, drawing soldiers from a nearby base to flock to the house, and raising $30,000.

After the Westboro church announced plans to picket Robin Williams’ funeral, the Equality House retaliated with a fundraiser for the late actor’s favourite charity that brought in $100,000.

The rainbow bungalow has also become a haven for disaffected members of the church, many of whom are related, by blood or marriage, to the founding pastor, Fred Phelps, who died earlier this year aged 84.

Lizzy Phelps, who left the group years ago and now mentors transgender teens, helped paint the house its rainbow colours. Zach Phelps-Roper, who left the church just a few months ago, has also made contact with his old neighbours.

The Equality House’s residents say their arrival was never intended to create an antagonistic relationship. The idea was to counter their hateful message with positivity – and they believe it is working.

When Fred Phelps died in March this year, Hammet sent text messages to Westboro church members, past and present, expressing his heartfelt condolences. A few hours later, he received a reply from a Westboro resident across the road. “I got a text that just said ‘thank you’,” he said. “That is all it said, but to me it was a really human, powerful, moment.”

Yet while civility, and sometimes even kindness, prevails in daily interactions between the neighbours, they are keeping up appearances online. Westboro, a prolific user of social media, is almost constantly trolling its neighbours with antagonistic tweets and Vine recordings.

Most of the time the occupants of the rainbow house ignore the bait, but once in a while they will respond, tongue in cheek.

When Westboro recently put out a video challenging the rainbow house to a weird deviation of the the ALS ice bucket challenge, pouring water over a ‘Hell Is Eternal’ placard, their neighbours reacted with their own, good-humoured YouTube clip, pouring water over their multi-coloured donation box.

“One time we tweeted them a picture of rainbow pancakes and asked them if they’d like to come over for breakfast,” Hammet said. “They just tweeted back that we should burn in hell.”

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Sidetracked Again By Mother Nature

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Catching this beautiful little black garter snake this morning brought back some fond memories of my childhood. I caught two snakes today, this one and a copperhead, which I will talk about in a bit. This little guy was chilled out where I grow my peppers, it was probably stalking the one of the abundant insects or little frogs that love these peppers so much for some reason. No need to relocate him, he is a welcome sight for me, helps keep things in a healthy balance in the garden. Most snakes, if not all snakes, have a place and a role in nature, and lucky for me there are but a couple of poisonous snakes to contend with around here, I will get to that in a bit.

Growing up in southeastern Texas gives a person plenty of opportunity to be exposed to snakes, reptiles, and a good variety of wildlife. My wife will be the first to tell me that most people with an ounce of common sense have an inordinate fear of snakes. But I was different in the beginning when I was very young, I had a fascination with snakes. In my school days I remember seeing a big rattlesnake coiled up underneath my dad’s work truck and, according to my mother, I was stopped shy of grabbing it, which probably saved my life according to my parents.

I remember a time when I caught a small garter snake and approached them with it in a gentle and educational way, and they both began to panic. I was trying to show them how I hold it and how I respected it as a wild creature. I spent allot of time as a kid learning to understand the difference between poisonous and nonpoisonous snakes. An early introduction to snakes knocked any fear of snakes right out of me and since then I have always enjoyed having a snake companion through the years after that even if it was just long enough to carry one home and release into my mother’s garden where it can do some good.

I don’t mind catching a nonpoisonous snake whenever the opportunity presents itself. However, I have a healthy respect for the poisonous ones and give them their space unless they happen to be close to where kids might play, then I may help them relocate or to get on to the great beyond like this copperhead found in my yard below the evil grapefruit tree I was going to take pictures of for y’all. Notice that his head has been severed, yet she is biting herself. A poisonous snake with his head severed can still bite for a long time, many hours, if not days, after it has been cut off. I don’t bury heads, things dig up buried things, it goes into the burn can for disposal.

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I detest people who simply kill a poisonous snake indiscriminately just for the sake of killing it. When possible, I relocate the snake, sometimes they just too close though, I have allot of young feet pounding my yard, so I like to keep it as safe for the small human children as I can. There are four kinds of venomous snakes living in Texas, we encounter all but one regularly here in southeast Texas, the coral snake. Now, copperheads, cottonmouths (water moccasins) and rattlesnakes are pretty much everywhere all the time. Where I live my property backs up to the river and I also have a 4 1/2 acre pond, so I see those three pretty regularly.

I will be jointly posting this information on Guide To Ball Pythons because the information just might be beneficial there for readers. For those of y’all who have yet to visit then this would be a good time to see what I’m doing there as well.

Even More Goodies From My Daughter

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Also included in my little care package were two packs of pepper seeds, she says I can grow these alongside the rest of my “heat” and thinks they will be a fine addition to my Ghost Peppers, Habaneros, Tobascos, and Jalapeños that I already successfully grow. So, my new ones to try are the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Pepper and the Trinidad Scorpion Pepper. I’ve looked into these peppers, they pack a little heat to say the least. Well, I am always looking for more heat to add to my chili, my salsa, and my own version of hot sauce. We’ll talk about those another time. Anyway, I need to successfully grow these two new peppers first, the we can decide how I will cook with them.

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Can I Be An Ornamental Horticulturist?

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What do you think? My daughter is known for sending me unique gifts. I wish I knew where she got the ideas she has had over the years. I’m not exactly known for my green thumb, but she knows I grow my own “food” items like certain vegetables, peppers, and my evil grapefruit tree. Have I ever told you about that evil tree? I will do that today, I promise. Anyway, my daughter sent me seeds so I can attempt to grow my own Arachnis moschifera Blume (Scorpion Orchid). She thinks I will do fine since I do grow one flowering plant successful. I would say mother nature is doing just fine, as it is a wild briar rose bush/tree which she refers to. All I did was dug it up from the river bank 10 years ago, split it, and replanted it in a few places. Other than that I don’t ever mess with it.

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So, once I do a little research, I will attempt to grow some Scorpion Orchids, they look pretty cool.

Finally, There Is An Explanation For Me

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After recent research into myself, meaning I am always looking for more information about the circumstances which led to my adoption. For y’all newbies, yes, I’m adopted. Search the blog, you will see. My biological mother forwarded me a bundle of letters that were between her, her mother, and the midwife that was involved that had some shocking information that really made sense. The discussion in the letters were about me being born on the 31st of October, yes that’s Halloween, and how she wanted me born either before or after but not on that date. Personally, I think they were acting a little superstitious, but that is just my opinion. Either way, I still ended up a Scorpio. I always knew I was born on the wrong day, I have said this my entire life, and how fitting that Halloween is right around the corner. Are you wondering now why all of this just made sense? In the end they figured out how to delay my birth until the 6th of November, but the letters didn’t mention any of that.

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Since I was very young I have had a fascination with Halloween, blood, gore, and horror. To the extent that my mother had me checked out at age ten with a shrink to make sure I wasn’t on the path to being a serial killing axe murderer. Surprise, my record is still clean. And no, I did not and do not torture small animals for enjoyment, never dissected anything just for fun, and don’t condone biting the heads off of live bats. But, something both of my wives had to understand was that October and Halloween are my season which I look forward to at the end of the last. On the flip side, I kinda like Christmas too. Sometimes there is a Christmas tone in what I do for Halloween, that freaks people out a little more tho for some reason. Now I know there’s a reason I have a fondness for Halloween, it was supposed to be my birthday.

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So what now? Do we do an over analysis of all of this new information? I think not, but it answers so much for me that y’all might not even begin to be able to grasp and understand. It has a certain “Wow” factor for me though, really makes me smile. I should be upset they delayed my birthday, but it is what it is after all, its over, its done, and too late to cry about it. Anyone else born on Halloween that would like to share would be cool because I’m interested in if it actually affected anything in your life. I call mine coincidence, what do you call yours?

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Which reminds me, with Halloween right around the corner, I need to get my ass in high gear before the 1st of October. If I’m not ready my wife will think I’m sick or dying and the neighbors will think I’m dead. We can’t have that now can we? Yes, I will post pictures as I go. As far as choosing the mask I asked about earlier, I’m still torn, but I like the way the picture below looks, so I might give that a shot.

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