Last month we reported about Pilgrims United Church of Christ in Maple Grove, Minnesota and how vandals desecrated their church with anti-gay graffiti including Bible passages. It seems that those responsible for the vandalism didn't get the message the first time the church didn't back down from supporting the gay community. According to local media reports, local churchgoers arrived on Sunday to a graffiti message stating "Gay Pride? NO! Shameful Sodomites!" The hateful phrase included a reference to Jude 7 (which correlates to the previous incident that referenced Sodom and Gomorrah. The church was also egged and the front door was locked with handcuffs.
In an interview with CBS Minnesota, Police Captain Keith Terlinden said "We are investigating this crime as a bias motivated crime. A hate crime is not necessarily a word we use in law enforcement, but we are investigating this as a bias motivated crime."
In light of the recent Supreme Court decisions affirming the LGBT community's right to marry and states' rights to allow that, it comes as no surprise that anti-gay animus is increasing - especially in Minnesota. Earlier this year it became the 12th state to legalize marriage equality. Marriages will commence throughout the state on August 1, and Pilgrims United Church of Christ has promised to perform same sex weddings at their church once the law takes effect.
We mentioned previously but it bears repeating - especially with the repeated attacks on a church that supports the LGBT community: Why is a religious message only relevant when it opposes LGBT rights? Why do certain religious beliefs and certain churches believe their First Amendment freedoms of speech and religion are "better" than others? The answer is simple: it has absolutely nothing to do with religion and everything to do with irrational anti-gay bias. Religion is merely how these people dress up their hate to legitimize it - to make it sound more credible. It's the reason why people throughout the history of our nation have been able to use the Bible to justify everything from slavery and segregation to denial of women's rights, interracial marriage and LGBT rights. Taken out of context and cherry-picked, the Bible can justify just about any archaic, antiquated belief system.
Until anti-gay Christians realize that the Bible can be used to justify any personally-held prejudice against entire swaths of people (and that that prejudice should not be forced upon others using religion as an excuse) those who support the strict separation of church and state have a rock solid case against those who would seek to legislate the Bible. Freedom of religion doesn't just apply to those who have an ax to grind with those they consider sinners; rather, it applies to everyone. Even Christians who actually live their savior's actual message of love and forgiveness.