Two Episcopal Churches Vandalized With Racist Messages

Content Warning: racist, antisemitic, and homophobic language used in vandalism.

Episcopal churches in Maryland and Indiana were vandalized with pro-Trump, racist messages last night. In Silver Spring, Maryland, the Church of Our Savior, Hillandale found “Trump nation whites only” scrawled in rough black letters on a brick wall in their memorial garden and on the back of the banner advertising their Spanish-language services. The banner was also slashed. St. David’s Church in Bean Blossom, Indiana was spray painted with a swastika and the phrases “fag church” and “heil Trump.”

Church of Our Savior, Hillandale is one of the most diverse churches in the Diocese of Washington, and is in a predominantly Latinx neighborhood. The hateful message came as a huge shock, but the community pulled together this afternoon for the regular Spanish-language mass, which was reportedly “jam packed” according to the Facebook page of the Diocese of Washington. With Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde, attendees wrote messages of love on the sidewalk in chalk and covered the vandalism with signs saying “love wins.”

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sidewalk-chalk

Messages of love and solidarity written in chalk on the sidewalk outside of the Church of Our Savior, Hillandale.

At St. David’s in Bean Blossom, they have left the messages up in hopes of fostering dialogue. “We are disappointed that our safe haven has been vandalized but will not let the actions of a few damper our love of Christ and the world. We will continue to live out our beliefs and acceptance of all people and respecting the dignity of every human being,” reads the statement on their Facebook page. Bean Blossom is a small community south of Indianapolis, in Brown County.

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Vandalism on the walls of St. David’s Church in Bean Blossom, Indiana.

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53 Comments
  1. Christi Caughey

    Thank you for the positive. You made my Sunday. God’s blessings on you.

    • Christi Caughey

      Do you have a fund for the clean up?

  2. John Rich

    As a vestry member, the subject of congregation safety must be discussed and a plan of action developed. Local police are usually a good resource and happy to work with parishes.

    • David Carver

      I feel like if they’d been a serious threat these vandals would have done more than paint a couple slogans under (I presume) cover of night when no one could see or confront them. But I admit, considering what happened at that AME church in Charleston not so long ago… This did make me feel a teensy bit vulnerable.

  3. David Carver

    I’m pleased to hear, at least, that our reputation as a “fag church” has grown enough for ignorant vandals to be aware of it; It means we’re doing something right. All too often are people (even a gender studies professor of mine) unaware of LGBT-affirming Christianity except in the vaguest sense. May the community at St. David’s turn this incident to a greater purpose, and help ever more “fags” discover a spiritual home that respects their human dignity!

    • Jane Herr

      God bless you for your message.
      from a member of St. David’s

    • Christi Caughey

      Amen, David.

  4. Jim Jordan

    These sorts of incidents, unless the greater society vigorously condemns them, will grow unchecked into greater violence and repression.

  5. Gregory Orloff

    Nothing quite says “Make America Great Again” like reverting to the very ideologies, slogans and symbols of hate that America fought tooth and nail in World War II to the tune of over 400,000 Americans fallen in battle — plus more than one million Americans wounded. How very patriotic! (Sarcasm alert.)

    God, have mercy on our country and our world.

    And keeps us mindful that there is no Christianity without loving neighbor, loving enemy and treating others the same way we want them to treat us, as your Son Christ Jesus commanded.

    • Greg

      We ask that all commenters use their first and last names, thanks – Editor

      Well said. Mind if I borrow that?

      • Gregory Orloff

        By all means, do. It is a sick irony that the swastika has been appearing all over America precisely on Veterans Day weekend at this time in history when the “Greatest Generation” of Americans that fought against that symbol are growing old and passing on. Apparently they didn’t feel it was a totem of American values. How dangerous it is for us to forget our history!

  6. May I suggest: go to these parishes’ FB pages, tell them how badly you feel for them and ask if there is anything you can do for them. Also, share this story on your social media with your friends, condemning these crimes. Also, write your local pols and ask them to quickly condemn these crimes when they happen in your area (‘cuz they will happen). Don’t settle for comments here, as nice as sympathetic as they are. Do something. Be prophetic. Thx!

    • Cynthia Corliss

      YES!

      Outpouring of love and action in person!

    • Christi Caughey

      If I lived close I would. Actions do speak louder than words. What are you going to do?

  7. Rod Gillis

    ” Let every man make known what kind of government would command his respect, and that will be one step toward obtaining it.” – H.D. Thoreau

    Your neighbours believe in you folks. Believe in yourselves, in your constitution, and in your better instincts.

  8. (Leslie) Marshall

    Please go back to following the plainly posted comnment rules of using your first & last names. – editor

    It’s possible that anti-Trump vandals did this. [That would make more sense, because it makes him look bad, which is the point.] I hope the investigators find out the truth.

    • David Allen

      Yes, it certainly is possible. However, the author of this story made no inferance as to who did it, she merely reported the facts as reported by other sources.

      However, that doesn’t make any more sense than to posit that Trump supporters actually did do it. We have seen plenty of this type of behavior many times over by Trump himself and his minions at Trump rallies during the campaign.

    • Gregory Orloff

      Well, Ms. LGMarshall, it’s also possible that pro-Trump vandals did this, seeing the emboldening excitement his candidacy and election have stoked on America’s extreme far right. There’s no way to turn a blind eye to that. I hope the investigators find out the truth too.

    • David Carver

      It did cross my mind; The swastika and “Heil Trump” do seem a little over the top – Conflating Trump with Hitler is something I see more from his opponents than from his supporters (as a majority of people agree that comparisons with Hitler are not a positive thing). But on the other hand, the likes of David Duke supported Trump, and neo-Nazis *are* a thing…

      • Tracy Lawrence

        There has been a rash of faux hate crimes by Anti-Trump agitators. It was happening at Trump’s campaign rallies, as well. The DNC fired two employees and severed some contracts after it was exposed.

      • Cynthia Katsarelis

        Tracy, there are plenty of real hate crimes happening. Several of my LGBT friends and friends of friends have had their cars and homes vandalized, and in other cases threatening letters have been left on cars and home. This is not “faux” and the uptick in hate crimes correlates with Trump/Pence and their rhetoric.

        The racist comments stand by themselves, it is most unfortunate if some can’t recognize it when they hear it. It wasn’t subtle, neither was the misogyny.

    • JC Fisher

      There are pro-Trump attacks going on, *in person*, across the country, LGM. Against every sort of minority. You’re really reaching, if you say that just these attacks on Episcopal churches happen to be “False Flag”.

      [Yes, yes, yes: I equally oppose any violence done by #NotMyPresident demonstrators (or nihilist hangers-on trailing such demonstrations)]

  9. Priscilla Johnstone

    I am proud of our Episcopal churches and our welcome to all. I am proud of our Presiding Bishop for speaking so eloquently on issues and on the work of the “Jesus Walk” as we define what true Christianity means – we do not preach hatred or condemnation, we teach the message of our Saviour, to love God and to love our neighbor. We are taking our ministry out into the world and we are being noticed. While these defamations are upsetting, many will be drawn to our message of love for all people as the children of God. Let us not give in to fear or anger, let us continue to be a beacon of light/faith/love in the present storm of unrest and polarization.

  10. Keith R Carter

    Don’t mess with my church because we’ll invite you in and pray for you

    • David Curtis

      Keith: you just won the internets today, IMHO. Thank you!

    • JC Fisher

      I’m so sorry this board doesn’t have an upvote widget, because I’d certainly upvote you Keith! 🙂

    • Kenneth Robinson

      That wins!!

  11. Sammie Kenyon

    Disturbed individuals with no good intent left the vandalism. Good hearts made the corrections . Prayers for safety. God’s peace be with you.

  12. Tonya Duquense

    My name is Tonya Duquense. I’m a member of st.Luke’s Episcopal church in Cleveland OH. I’m sending you blessings of strength. It is times such as these that we really have to remember holding love in our hearts, and spreading the message – God loves you no exceptions! one love

  13. Ann Howard

    You are wrong in saying you have seen “this type behavior” by “Trump himself.” I daresay Mr. Trump would never vandalize property, much less church property, let alone make such statements. Whether or not it was done by his supporter or his enemies, you evidently don’t know yet, but do not place the blame on him.

    • David Allen

      let alone make such statements.

      Actually I have heard him make such statements, he has made plenty of racist comments and called people derogatory names on the campaign trail. He has picked on folks in the crowds, sometimes even his own supporters, whom he took a dislike to.

      Whether or not it was done by his supporter or his enemies, you evidently don’t know yet, but do not place the blame on him.

      Only folks like you have drawn such conclusions regarding the reported vandalism. The CafĂ© article doesn’t draw conclusions, it only reports the facts of the matter gleaned from other news sources.

      • Tracy Lawrence

        Enforcing immigration laws does not make someone a racist. Throwing that term around at any and all who don’t have progressive liberal viewpoints is irresponsible and divisive.

      • David Allen

        Ms Lawrence, it doesn’t have anything to do with who is liberal or who is conservative, calling me and all of my fellow Mexicans rapists & thieves is about as racist and xenophobic as it gets.

        Move on with the claptrap.

  14. Prof Christopher Seitz

    Vandalizing property under cover of night is not expressing one’s opinion but is destroying hard work, in a church or business or community. “Heil Trump”? It has been good to see the two parties after the election calling for peaceful transition and cooperation. Obama seemed excited to have time with the new president elect. That is a good sign of maturity and commonweal.

    • Gregory Orloff

      According to reports in the Wall Street Journal and Huffington Post, at the first post-election meeting between Obama and Trump at the White House, Trump seemed surprised by the scope of what a president has to do and was perplexed to learn that Obama’s White House staff would not be around to help him navigate his new job. And Trump’s aides seemed unaware that the whole West Wing staff had to be replaced at the end of Obama’s term. So Obama is planning to spend more time with his replacement than presidents typically do. to ease the transition. That Obama would make that extra effort speaks well of his strength of character, sense of duty and love of country. It can’t be easy to do that for someone who has slandered and skewered him often during both terms. Yet he’s doing it. And that’s pretty darn admirable.

      • Prof. Christopher Seitz

        Democrats have indeed said that Bush II set the gold standard for transition assistance.

      • Tracy Lawrence

        Those stories were based on unnamed sources inside the Obama administration. Those were strategic leaks, which started the false narrative about the Trump transition being in chaos and disarray. If people have learned nothing else from this campaign, I would hope they have learned not to believe everything you read in the newspapers. The WSJ is somewhat fair in their coverage. The NYT, WaPo and Huffpost write exaggerated and outright false pieces and were doing so very deliberately during the presidential campaign. People believed them and believed the network polls, which were biased. That’s why the election results came were so shocking.

      • David Allen

        I’m guessing that you want us to all get our coverage from FOX News?

  15. Mary Jean

    You are in our prayers from South Africa

    • Anne Tanner

      Thank you.

  16. lewis c taishoff

    Remember Who said “Blessed are y’all, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

  17. Nancy Weatherwax

    “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me”–in these strange and difficult days we are struggling through a dark valley–yet we also know that the God who is walking faithfully with us through that darkness is the God who, speaking through the prophet Micah, taught us what is good–to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with our God; the God who became flesh and dwelt among us in the man Jesus; the God who is at our side as the Spirit of truth guiding us into all truth: the one God–Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer. We are not alone. Thanks be to God.

  18. Joyce Skinner Barrett

    God’s Blessings. So sorry that this has happened and I hope that the people who have done this will somehow have God enter their hearts.

  19. Cynthia Katsarelis

    As an LGBT person I am so grateful for the love and affirmation that my spouse and I receive in the Episcopal Church. Having lost both of my parents, I have been reflecting on how their unconditional love and acceptance has shaped my life. Their love, the love from mother church, and the love of God (revealed to me through mother church) act almost like a force field of love, softening the pain from the hate of this world. A sanctuary of love.

    I am deeply grateful for the members of the body of Christ in the Episcopal Church for this healing love. My hope is that we can share this love in the world to those who feel unloved. Clearly, St. David’s and Church of Our Savior are on the job doing the Jesus work. Bless them and keep them. Amen.

    • David Carver

      Amen!

  20. Wayne Rollins

    Trump had a lot to say about ISIS. I doubt he’ll say anything about the domestic terrorists who are part of his base of support. Now we see real evidence of Christianity under attack. More to come.

  21. James Fabian

    This is an article in which the hatred of a few extremists is prominently displayed across Social Media. I find it interesting that the conversation then is about Pro-Trump and Anti-Trump camps. 60 + million American citizens voted for Donald Trump (fair to call them Pro-Trump?). Are they all to be covered under a blanket indictment? Is this not unlike the attitude of those who blame all of Islam for the actions of the extremists around the world? Or is this somehow different?

  22. Jim McGill

    The small, dark part of me wants to shout, “Yes, yes, yes!!” to your comments. They are well-written and point clearly to the ones who have brought this about, along with (what I think are) their reasons for doing it. It all makes good sense. And it goes along with the “you broke it, you fix it” rule that generally obtains.

    Unfortunately, though, about 6 seconds later, we have to come to the realization that:
    a) the ones who caused this may not want to fix it. The worldview of someone who would actually want a person like DJT to be president may lead that person not to object, or maybe even perpetrate, the horrors described. And
    b) they cannot possibly undo what has been done by themselves. This is a call, not to the guilty, but to us all. All of us are responsible, whether we participated in electing this hatred or not, whether we even think, even once in a while, a racist thought or not, ALL are responsible for making this society just and good. No one person or party or group of any kind can do it alone, no matter who they are or what their power is. The indictment is (like it or not) on us all, and the responsibility is on us all.

    It is easy to point the finger. It is even true and accurate to do so. But to clean up the mess takes the whole country, whether we think it’s fair, whether we think we deserve to have to do it, or whether we don’t. Not to participate in the cleanup leads only to guilt and shame and an impossible task.

    So spend the 6 seconds. Be mad. Be really angry. Point your finger. But when they are over, get busy teaching peace, teaching tolerance, teaching trust, teaching hope. It is likely that the hope you teach will be the only hope somebody has.

    • James Fabian

      And, it is likely that statements such as “… someone who would actually want a person like DJT to be president…” and “participated in electing this hatred…” are sufficiently inflammatory as to perpetuate the hatred and intolerance that may reside in someone who agrees with such statements. So, yes, the responsibility is on all of us.

  23. Mara Gottlieb

    Would you consider starting a GoFundMe account so people can help pay to have the churches repainted? That shouldn’t be a cost the churches need to underwrite.

  24. Kevin loprz

    I’m not a Christian. But to see this horrible act, I’m truly appaled but not surprised .

    But you’re absolutely correct to say they pointed a way to honesty, love and peace.

    Go foward

  25. May all this piety give us comfort when the white shirts with their made-in-China red ties come to get us.

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