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The government is actually offering to pay people to live near homophobic hate group Westboro Baptist Church

Lily Wakefield December 17, 2019
Rev. Fred Phelps from the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas holds a 'God Hates Fags' sign

Rev. Fred Phelps from the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas holds a 'God Hates Fags' sign. (Tim Boyle/Getty)

The local government of Topeka, Kansas, is paying people to move there. The catch? Your neighbours will be the homophobic “God hates fags” Westboro Baptist Church.

The Westboro Baptist Church was the focus of Louis Theroux’s documentary The Most Hated Family in America, and became infamous for picketing military funerals with signs reading ‘God hates fags’ and ‘Thank God for dead soldiers’.

The anti-LGBT+ church puts homosexuality at the centre of its sermons, claiming that everything from the death of soldiersmass murders and natural disasters are God’s punishment for the existence of gay people.

Desperately trying to boost the economy and population of a city that is widely known for its resident homophobes, a government programme called “Choose Topeka” is now offering people $15,000 to buy a house in Topeka and stay there for at least a year.

Partnering with local employers, applicants work in Topeka or Shawnee County to be given money towards their new house. If they choose to rent, they will get $10,000.

Although minutes for the latest meeting of the Joint Economic Development Organisation for Topeka and Shawnee County state that the city is “poised for a true renaissance”, Twitter users weren’t convinced.

In response to the cash incentive for moving to Topeka, one person wrote: “Yeah, but then you have to live in Topeka.”

“I’d pay $15,000 to not live in Topeka,” said another.

Most people echoed similar sentiments. One vowed: “I would live in my car in KC [Kansas City] before I’d move to Topeka, and I was born there”.

Another person pointed out that Topeka is perfect for retirees, even though the programme aims to bring professionals to the area.

They said: “The only down side is that you have to live on Topeka, KS. For a retiree that only wants to sit in their recliner and watch TV, that’s wonderful.

“For anyone else, it’s a long slow, vanilla walk to death.”

There is one LGBT+ attraction in Topeka, however. Activist group Planting Peace opened the rainbow-themed Equality House in the city back in 2013, right opposite the Westboro Baptist Church.

Planting Peace activists are renowned for their elaborate PR stunts – from launching a Pride flag into spaceto erecting giant billboards in the hometown of Kim Davis, to ‘claiming’ Antarctica in the name of LGBT rights.

More: cash incentive, Employment, God Hates Fags, Kansas, property, Topeka, Westboro Baptist Chuch

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