A church was targeted in an arson attack that is believed to have been set due to alleged anti-gay attitudes. (reword)
The incident occurred at the Providence Baptist Church in North Carolina, US.
Eight fire departments were called to the scene in the early hours of Monday morning.
Although investigations are still ongoing, it is believed that the fire was set intentionally due to potential anti-gay attitudes in the church.
Grafitti was reportedly found at the scene declaring the church an “anti-gay hate group.”
The fire itself was contained and the damage limited to one area of the building.
In response to the graffiti and whether he was angered by the damage to the church, Pastor Ernest Richards said to Channel 9: “Our prayers are for them because we love people.”
“With our love for them, regardless of what they’ve done, we’re still going to have that compassion for people.”
Many members of the congregation of the Providence Baptist Church have praised the church’s positive environment.
One church member told WBTV that if the vandals had attended a sermon, they would have seen that the church was not ‘anti-gay.’
More from PinkNews
Another church member said: “Our message is not about hate, it is about love and support.”
Pastor Richards told Channel 9 that they have had to change the church’s phone number previously as people had confused Providence Baptist Church confused with the nearby Providence Road Baptist Church.
Providence Road Baptist Church attracted significant controversy in 2012 when Pastor Charles Worley called for gay people to be put to death using an electric fence.
In response to Pastor Worley’s hate speech, a British church recently erected an electric fence in their own chapel to highlight the plight of LGBT+ people across the world.
Investigations into the cause of the fire and the identities of any perpetrators are still ongoing.