For the second time in 12 days — and at the height of Pride month — the rainbow-coloured Pride flag hanging from a church in Ladner, B.C., has been vandalized.
Ladner United Church first shared the news of the repeat offence on its Facebook page Saturday, showing a picture of their flag marked with what appears to be black spraypaint.
The church said the flag was a replacement for the one that was also sprayed with black paint on June 2, and added its leadership would not be swayed by the criminal acts.
“Let us be clear in our response: we will not be deterred in living out the love of Christ in word and deed in our community,” the post reads. “We are not afraid or ashamed. We encircle our LGBTQ+ church members, family, friends, and neighbours with love and solidarity.”
Speaking on Sunday following its regular service, the church’s trustee and leadership council co-chair Sue King said she and the community are outraged.
“We’re quite shocked this has happened again,” she said. “It’s very hurtful that this continues to happen in our village.”
The service was held as a message to the community that the church would not be swayed by hateful ideologies, she added.
King said the church works very hard to be inclusive and invite everyone who wants to practise their faith, and the flag represents that open-door policy.
The flag itself has also served as an education tool for worshippers.
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“When our flag first went up [on May 30] we had a lady who did our service that [Sunday], and she explained to all the children what all the colours of the flag meant,” King said.
“It was so informative for all of us to get that, but then that night the flag was defaced [for the first time],” she added. “It was so hurtful.”
Delta police confirmed they are investigating both incidents, but could not say whether they’re considering a link between them.
The act also drew criticism from Delta Mayor George Harvie, who voiced his outrage on social media.
“This community will not tolerate such despicable acts,” the mayor wrote on Twitter. “[Delta] stands in solidarity with Ladner United Church and the LGBTQ+ community.”
King was clear the incident hasn’t convinced the church to change its inclusive policy, instead enforcing that “we may have more work to do, more outreach.”
She also had a simple message for whoever’s responsible.
“Come be with us,” she said. “Come and tell us what you are fearful of, and we will share with you.
“We’re all the same,” King added. “We all have differences, but we’re all the same inside. God created us all.”
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