The Allendale United Methodist Church located in St Petersburg, Florida, which is a pro-LGBT church has responded with love to homophobic vandals who targeted their church.
The Vandals defaced the letter board outside the church was disfigured in the wee hours of Sunday night.
The vandals wrote the words “Gay pastor on the signpost using black spray paint. However, the Saint-Petersburg police department has decided to treat the case as a hate crime.
The church has not shown any sign of anger or intimidation because of the graffiti. Instead the pastor Reverend Andy Oliver has decided that he and his congregation will own it.
Reverend Oliver and his church members decided to allow the sign remained on the board and added some beautiful rainbow coloured hearts signs to adorn the graffiti on the left side. Along the right side of the board, he had the short sentence “love always wins” written boldly.
The church, however, made a long post on it’s Facebook page to address the issue. The post read: “LGBTQ people are more likely to be targets of hate crimes than any other minority group.
“We will leave the spray paint up, surrounded by signs of love, to make visible the often invisible harm that the LGBTQ community receives every day.”
as at the time of the vandalisation, the church sign was displaying a message urging people to show support for the amendments four that is a state ballot to restore voting rights for people in prison.
“We are also taking this opportunity to tell the [vandal] that should they be arrested; we will fight for the restoration of their rights through the passage of Amendment 4. Thanks to members of the community who raised funds, we already have a new sign on order from July when someone threw a brick. And we also have cameras to install.”
the reaction of the church to the recent occurrence has been met with lots of commendation from people.
One person said: “Every day I pass your sign it makes my day. Its messages are always heartwarming, inclusive, and relatable. I’m not a religious person, but I love what you stand for. While this breaks my heart, I know your community is strong, and your response is wonderful.”
Someone else added: “As always, you combat hate with love, and ignorance with education. There is always a choice on how to react, and you always lead by example. Love will always win.”
In an interview with Tampa Bay Times Rev. Oliver said: “This is just one example of the type of hate crime and hates message the LGBT community goes through regularly. It certainly isn’t great our sign got vandalised, but we want to surround that message of hate with a message of love, and that’s what we’ve received since. It certainly isn’t great our sign got vandalised, but we want to surround that message of hate with a message of love, and that’s what we’ve received since.”
The LGBT community may be increasing, but the level of acceptance by the rest of the world isn’t proportional to the increase in the number of people identifying as gay, transgender, or queer. This explains why there still exists so much hatred and resistance when it comes to the matter of sexual orientation.