An LGBTQ-affirming church in Boston has been defaced with anti-gay graffiti, drawing condemnation from city leaders and members of the city’s LGBTQ community.
The First Baptist Church, located in Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood, was vandalized, with an unknown person writing the phrases “All F*****s Should Die” and “God Doesn’t Love You” sometime between 2 a.m. and 7 a.m. on Thursday morning.
The anti-LGBTQ messages were spray-painted onto the base of the church’s steeple in red and pink paint. Some of the other phrases sprayed on the wall included “Your God is a fraud,” and an assertion that LGBTQ people “should die.”
“It’s obviously meant to be intimidating,” the church’s pastor, Rev. Ashlee Wiest-Laird said. “It’s meant to be intimidating and hateful.”
In the police report of the incident, first reported by the Boston Globe, an officer responded to a report of vandalism at the church at 8:22 a.m.
The city has since put up black tarps blocking the messages from public view.
Wiest-Laird said that the church has surveillance cameras, but none were pointed in the area of the vandalism or captured the perpetrator. Video footage from the boat office across the street might be helpful, she said.
“I’m still in angry mode,” Wiest-Laird said. “And I’m probably … hitting sad, I’m realizing. It makes me want to cry. I mean, anybody who, this is how you want to spend your time, to make a point of being hateful.”
The perpetrator left behind the cans of spray paint, which officials have taken into custody as evidence.
Suffolk District Attorney Kevin Hayden issued a statement Thursday morning condemning the hate speech.
“This dangerous, hurtful messaging is an instant reminder of the hatred within too many hearts in our city and cities across the nation,” he said. “We will do everything possible to protect members of the LGBTQIA+ community in Boston and Suffolk County.”
According to its website, the church was founded in 1842 as a part of the American Baptist and Alliance of Baptists congregation and seeks inclusion of, and leadership for and by, LGBTQ people.
This incident comes a week after the beginning of Pride Month, and two days before the return of Boston’s Pride Parade after a three-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the cancellation of the 2022 parade following the dissolution of the Boston Pride organization in response to a boycott by Black and transgender community groups, according to Boston public radio station WBUR.
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