The vandalism of a pro-life sign at a Maine church has led its members to request an investigation into it as a potential hate crime against Christians.
The discovery of the vandalism occurred on Saturday evening at the Second Baptist Church in Palermo, Maine.
Someone hurled paint onto a sign bearing the messages “Every Life Matters” and “Abortion is Still Murder.”
In addition, the perpetrators used paint to inscribe two messages: “Abortion is our human right” and “Queer love 4 eva.”
Church's pro-life sign vandalized in Maine with 'queer love' and pro-abortion messages https://t.co/2fyN23VBB6
— TheBlaze (@theblaze) September 13, 2023
During his Sunday morning service, Pastor Joshua Barnes discussed the crime, but he held a pessimistic view about law enforcement’s ability to apprehend the perpetrator.
Barnes said, “They parked out of camera range and walked in in the dark. That’s typically what cowards do. We’ll find out who it is. I’m sure it’s somebody local.”
During his morning prayer, he requested forgiveness for the individuals responsible for the vandalism.
State Rep. Katrina Smith (R), who is also a church member, described the vandalism as an assault on the church.
Smith said, “This is an escalation of violence against the church. For someone to come out and vandalize their house of worship, it really is intimidation, asking them not to continue to worship in the way that they are.”
The church had previously experienced vandalism in 2019 and just one week before the most recent incident.
Smith expressed her belief that, according to Maine law, this incident could be classified as a hate crime.
She said, “Well, to me, it’s a hate crime. This is a group of young children, families, just local people, and they have done nothing to speak out against any of the issues right now.”
Local news outlet WCSH referenced a Portland trial attorney who contended that the vandalism may not have directly impeded the church congregants’ freedom of religious expression.
Bob Kurek, a Palermo Select Board Member, stated that the act of vandalism was an inappropriate means to convey political disagreement.
Kurek said, “Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. And even if that opinion is a strong opinion, it does not give people who disagree with that opinion the right to vandalize property or destroy property.”