A rainbow flag was stolen from a New York church building and destroyed.
In a Facebook post, the May Memorial Unitarian Universalist Society of Syracuse revealed the flag was taken taken down and destroyed, and its burned remains left in the church’s memorial garden.
“We believe this to have been an act of hate and fear and a police report has been filed,” the post reads. “As a congregation, May Memorial has always been and will always continue to be a welcoming congregation where all are affirmed in their personhood with love and compassion.”
Syracuse police told CNYCentral, a site for several local TV stations, that a suspect could be tried on a variety of counts depending on the motivation for the crime.
"If there is some bias for the reasoning for this of damaging the flag, then when it gets to court towards the end near sentencing they can up the charge to a felony," Sgt. Matt Malinowski said.
But Rev. Jo VonRue told the news outlet the church will not press charges if the perpetrator has a conversation about diversity with church leaders.
"My hope is for that person or those people that they can find some kind of healing and some kind of peace in their own heart so they'll stop hurting others." VonRue said.
And church leaders promise resilience in the face of the act of hate.
“Our flag may have been burned, but our resolve to affirm the worth and dignity of every person will never be destroyed,” reads the Facebook post from the church.