Churches vandalized with Trump-inspired slurs

INDIANAPOLIS — St. David's Episcopal Church in Bean Blossom was vandalized sometime Saturday night.

Vandals painted tags on the walls, depicting a swastika, an anti-gay slur and "Heil Trump."

And in Silver Spring, Md., a sign advertising the Episcopal Church of Our Saviour's Spanish-language service also was vandalized Saturday night, according to the communications team at the church.

The sign was cut in several different places and the words “Trump nation. Whites only.” were written on the back and on the wall of the parish’s memorial garden.

Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde of Episcopal Diocese of Washington gathered with church members and priests to stand in solidarity at the church in the wake of this incident.

In Indiana, the Rev. Kelsey Hutto, priest in charge at St. David's Episcopal Church, said she was disheartened after finding the graffiti on the walls of the church Sunday morning. But her next thought was more positive.

"Well, we must be doing something right," Hutto said she thought. "We stated one time that doing the right thing was not always the popular thing. We were targeted for a reason, and in our mind it was for a good reason."

As Christians, Hutto said they need to respond to hateful acts with love and joy. That's what God calls on them to do, no matter what color people are, where they came from or who they love.

They just need to respect the differences of every human being, she said.

Since Election Day, there have been more than 200 incidents of hateful harassment and intimidation across the country, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. And the rise in hate crimes since the election appears to be worse than what happened after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, said Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The vandalism at the church, about 25 miles south of Indianapolis, comes days after students in vice president-elect Mike Pence's hometown taunted other students by chanting "build that wall."

Hutto said there is no doubt the atmosphere in the country has changed since President-elect Donald Trump and his running mate, Pence, were elected on Tuesday.

"But what we really need to focus on is not the election, but rather the fact that love conquers all hate," Hutto said. "Anytime hate is presented, love needs to be our response. That's how we're responding."

On Facebook, Hutto expressed the same sentiments, saying they wouldn't let the actions of a few people damper their 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. We pray for the perpetrators as well as those who the derogatory marks were directed at," Hutto said in her post. "This act was an act of separation. Separation of us from each other and a separation from God which is the definition of a sin. We pray for unification with God, with God's people and with ourselves. This is only one image of a worldwide phenomenon in which we are dividing ourselves and the world from God. We hope and pray that as the days and weeks continue we find a way to bridge this division from God and each other and ourselves."

Contributing: WUSA-TV, Washington. Follow Kara Berg on Twitter: @karaberg95


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