CHARLOTTE, N.C. — An LGBTQ-affirming in church in Charlotte has been vandalized with anti-gay graffiti, and it’s not the first time.
Wedgewood Church, in the Madison Park neighborhood, was tagged sometime between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, with an anti-gay slur and a misspelling of the word pedophiles over their rainbow colored doors. Charlotte-Mecklenburg police are looking for suspects and ask anyone with information to reach out.
This is not the first time the church has been targeted by homophobes.
In 2015, the church was tagged with a similar message, “Fags are pedos.” The church’s sign, which had a message reading, “LGBT Equality” was also marked out with black paint.
“Heart-piercing was the thing that came to my mind,” Ayers told qnotes at the time. “I really didn’t think about the church. I thought about the LGBT friends that I have. As a pastor, you hear all of these horrible stories for all these years. Everything is put in the context of these personal rejections that I know people have faced and this is just one more.”
They held a painting party to give the doors a proud new look, and gaining broad attention as the story was picked up by national news outlets.
Ten year ago, someone rearranged the letters of the church’s sign to read “A lesbo church.”
“We’ve seen this happen a lot more over the past two years,” co-pastor Chris Ayers told The Charlotte Observer. “If it’s not related to the school board meeting, then it’s related to the broader education of the homophobic community.”
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board voted 7-2 on Tuesday night to add LGBTQ student protections to its multiculturalism policy, following a heated debate that included several speakers who made anti-LGBTQ statements.
“Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools will acknowledge and support multiculturalism and by intentionally incorporating appreciate the value of diversity throughout the curriculum, instruction, and staff professional development,” the policy reads.
Last year, a shotgun shell and a threatening note were taped to the church’s sign when it read, “Stop killing, disrespecting black people.” The individual responsible later confessed.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police are looking for suspects and ask anyone with information to reach out. They told Ayers it will likely be difficult to identify the culprits.
The church is planning another paint party to once again give the doors a fresh rainbow colored look. This time, they will add a black and brown stripe to show explicit solidarity with people of color. The addition of the stripes were featured on Philadelphia’s pride flag last year.
The paint party date and time are set to be announced this Saturday Ayers told qnotes.
Ayers said that the church is planning to add security cameras.
“Last time we were vandalized we looked into a security system and could not afford it,” he said. “Police advised us that any system needed to include video recording storage. Thankfully, we’ve now learned of a system that is affordable [Nest] and are proceeding with it.”
It has set up a GoFundMe to help cover the costs of the paint job and the security system.