Church had their Pride and Black Lives Matter flags torn down by vandals, so they put up a bigger one
A church has vowed to stand up for equality after its Pride and Black Lives Matter flags were ripped down.
The Unitarian Universalist Church in Utica, upstate New York, spoke out after its banners were repeatedly vandalised and stolen over the summer.
We will not be stopped by vandalism, church vows.
Rev Erin Dajka Holley told Spectrum News: “It was heartbreaking that in this community, someone would feel the necessity to come on to church property and deface our building by tearing down our own statement, coming out of our very strongly held religious beliefs.
“We will not be stopped by vandalism.”
The church has now put up a replacement banner, designed by members of the local community, featuring an inclusive Pride flag, the slogan Black Lives Matter, and symbols symbolising inclusion of all faiths.
The church also adjusted the lighting and trimmed back the surrounding trees, to ensure the banner is visible at all times.
After signs showing support for the Black Lives Matter movement and LGBTQ+ community were stolen off church property this summer, members of Utica’s Unitarian Universalist Church dedicated a new banner this afternoon. @SPECNewsCNY pic.twitter.com/8N84TEBurq
— Harrison Grubb (@HarrisonGrubbTV) November 15, 2020
The congregation says the new rainbow banner serves as an “insignia of our inclusiveness and a visible statement of our faith”.
At a dedication ceremony to unveil the new banner, Holley added: “Our faith is rooted in the here and the now. It requires us to pursue justice for everyone. As Maya Angelou said, no one of us can be free until everybody is free, and we believe this fully.
“This is only the start of our congregation’s commitment of bringing about a world that is truly just for everyone.”
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It’s not the first time anti-LGBT+ vandalism has backfired
Pro-LGBT+ churches have plenty of experience standing up to bullies and vandals.
Last year, a Chicago church whose Pride flags were vandalised decided to fill its church garden with “hundreds” of rainbow flags in response to the homophobic hate crime.
The LGBT-inclusive Wicker Park Lutheran Church had had its Pride flag and transgender flag defaced and spray-with a black ‘X’ and the words: ‘We love kids.’
The church responded by sending a message to its congregation, urging them to help “fill our front garden with hundreds of rainbow flags in an act of loving defiance.”