Day 12: Churches & Cicadas (or how we ended up at the Westboro Baptist Church)

Due to doing laundry and going for a swim in Salina, we didn’t get on the road very early. As a result, this was a day where we didn’t get as far. That was acceptable though, as plenty of interesting things still happened.

We attempted to get our car washed in Junction City and on the way, we found a church that used to be a shopping center. It looked like they were branding Christianity as though it were a boy band. We attempted to speak to the woman at the desk about what her church was about, but she had oddly little to say on the topic, so we went on.

Manhattan Skyline

Manhattan Skyline

We tried to go to Manhattan (Kansas that is), and ended up a scenic pullover at one point. We met a couple from the Kansas City area who were both extremely nice and extremely helpful. At any rate, we learned what the massive humming was (see video) – a species of cicada that are only born every 17 years. They were out in full force making an absolute racket.

17 year Cicada

17 year Cicada

The man happened to do something very similar to what Chris does (they are both system administrators) and told us that the industry was thriving in Kansas City. They both seemed to really like the area, and that was good to hear, as that was generally where we were headed.

After their rave review and spending a fair amount of time looking at bugs and chatting in the heat, we decided to give Manhattan a miss and go on. We ended up in Topeka for the night. We got there early enough that we decided to look around in the afternoon rather than the next day. This is where churches 2 and 3 came in.

We drove into the capitol district of the Topeka. The First Presbyterian Church Topeka happened to be a very attractive and is apparently known for its lovely windows. We went in and had a lovely chat with one of the girls who worked for their daycare. She told us that she most liked Lawrence, KS of the places she’d lived but that she found it easier to find work in Topeka, which is why she was there. She told us part of the reason she left is that students drove up the price of rent and took most of the jobs in her field (childcare). Quality windows and nice people at any rate. Check out their windows if you happen to be in the area:

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Chris and I both quite like the documentaries of Louis Theroux. I am telling you this to explain where we went next and why. We decided to hit up a third church, the Westboro Baptist Church. I think most people in the UK and the US are familiar with them, but in case I’m wrong, click here for more information. The short version is that they are a church that hate virtually everyone as far as we can tell, but especially gay people and like to picket funerals and do other things in horrific taste. Louis Theroux did a reasonably popular documentary on them and it turns out, they are based in Topeka. We went to see their church.

Unlike most churches, this one is a minor fortress, full of signs informing visitors of their video cameras and that it is private property:

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We didn’t meet any of them, but we did meet some Kansans who were at the equality house across the street, which someone bought and decorated in this particular manner just to annoy the church:

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One of the girls told us that the church had picketed her graduation because of some gay students in her class. They seem to be a regular local scourge as well as an occasional national circus.

Rather than rant about just how awful our motel in Topeka was (though if you care, click here), we will leave you with this video:



One thought on “Day 12: Churches & Cicadas (or how we ended up at the Westboro Baptist Church)

  1. Pingback: Day 13 Part 2: Missouri, Iowa and Nebraska | HiJenx

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