Vandals tell gay church in Georgia to ‘burn’

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Armed with a can of spray paint and a heart full of anti-gay hate, vandals struck an LGBT church in Augusta overnight with a Bible verse and suggestion that gay people burn. 

It's at least the second time that vandals have damaged the Metropolitan Community Church of Our Redeemer in Augusta since June 26 when the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage. The city's Pride organization is calling for a rally on Tuesday in front of the church on Greene Street.

On the front entrance of the church, vandals spray-painted “Burn Leviticus 18:22 Lies” early Tuesday. That verse calls same-sex relations “detestable.”

Pastor Rick Sosbe spoke out against the vandalism to the Augusta Chronicle:

“I was angry. I was very sad and I thought, ‘Just why?’ To me, it seems so interesting that they’re saying on there that you’ll burn – in other words saying ‘You’ll burn in hell,’ I’m sure – and quoting scripture. Is that what Christianity – right-wing, fundamentalist Christianity – has come to?” he said.

On July 2, vandals damaged a flagpole at the church and ripped off a gay Pride flag that was put on display four days earlier. 

Via the Augusta Chronicle:

He had tucked the flag pole behind the church’s standing message board, which says “welcome all.” He noticed the 3-by-5-foot flag was missing Thursday afternoon while walking a visitor out the front doors.

“Clearly somebody pulled it down,” said Sosbe, who parked in the church’s back lot that morning and did not pass the flag pole until afternoon. “I would just want to know why. What is it in their hearts that hurts them to want to do hateful things? What are they afraid of? We’re not hurting anybody here. We’re trying to better the community.”

Sosbe and his partner, Michael Rhen, were the first gay couple in Richmond County to receive a marriage license, which they applied for on June 30. (Watch below) They plan to marry in December. 

Sosbe told the Augusta Chronicle that the incidents are the first problems they've encountered at the church.

He believes Tuesday’s vandalism and the flag incident are a reaction to his and the church’s increased presence in the media because of the legalization of marriage equality.

“We’ve occupied this building for 12 years, and this is the first (time) something’s happened,” he said.

Police said the vandalism caused about $2,500 in damage to the church. Investigators said they will increase their watch over the church and hope that nearby security cameras captured the incident.

Earlier this month, vandals attacked the home of a lesbian in Forsyth County, burning a gay Pride flag and damaging her car and yard. The woman placed the rainbow flag in her yard to celebrate the Supreme Court ruling.

[photo via]



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