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Gay-Inclusive Display Vandalized at Calif. Church

Gay-Inclusive Display Vandalized at Calif. Church


A gay-inclusive Christmas display at a Claremont, Calif., church was vandalized over the weekend, and police are calling the incident a hate crime.

The display at Claremont United Methodist Church, located in a college town east of Los Angeles, featured silhouettes of three couples holding hands: one male couple, one female couple, and one male-female couple. Someone knocked over the figures of the gay couples sometime early Christmas morning, TV station KTLA reports.

The vandalism is classified as a hate crime "because of the content of the artwork that was damaged and the fact that it was on a place of worship or at a church," Claremont police lieutenant Mike Ciszek told the station.

The United Methodist Church, as a denomination, does not endorse same-sex marriage, but some churches, including the Claremont congregation, have joined the Reconciling Ministries Network, fighting for LGBT equality within United Methodism.

The Reverend Dan Lewis, one of the Claremont church's ministers, told The Advocate of the vandalism, "We're sorry that it happened, but more important than the property is the message we're sending to the LGBT community." The church wants to make a point that Jesus would minister to oppressed people, he said, adding that the staff has received many supportive comments about the display.

There will be an interfaith vigil of support for LGBT people, open to all, at the church tonight.

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