Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Vandals Hit Arcata Church Supporting Prop 8

Arcata is in the far North of California, in Humbolt County and is the home of Humbolt State University. The Willits News reports a church has been vandalized twice. I'm glad to see the article includes the pastor's quote pointing out the irony.
It's a sign of the times.

The marquee in an Arcata church parking lot, which once displayed a political message advocating for Proposition 8, was vandalized Monday night for the second time in less than two weeks.

The Trinity Baptist Church, which will function as a polling place for about 600 voters in two precincts this election, maintained a sign with the message, “God loves you. Protect Marriage.”

On Oct. 18, someone used brown spray paint to scrawl “8 is hate” across the sign, doing about $300 in damage, church officials estimated.

The marquee was not yet repaired when vandals apparently struck a second time Monday night, tearing off the clear plastic face, stealing the letters and breaking the tracks into which the letters fit.

”They don't have the right to tear down our positions, that's our First Amendment right,” said Pastor John “Larry” McCain. “Especially when they're saying equal rights for all. Now that's irony.”

McCain said he has lived and worked in the Arcata community for nearly 30 years, and “this is the first time we've had any kind of issue like this.”

The sign, McCain said, will be fixed at a cost of around $500. The church offers many community service functions, which McCain said will not be affected as he plans to draw from the church's maintenance budget for the repairs.

”I want to fix this,” McCain said. “I'm not going to be silenced by somebody who disagrees with me.”

Gay rights activist Jamila Tharp, who sits on the national board for Marriage Equality USA, said “I agree with Pastor McCain 100 percent. It is his First Amendment rights and it's absolutely wrong to vandalize his church.”

Tharp said although she feels the proposition puts her own constitutional rights up for a vote, the church “certainly deserves their constitutional rights.”

Tharp said the vandalism does a disservice to their position, by violating other people's civil liberties.

”We are about helping to change hearts and minds, and using nonviolent means to do that,” Tharp said.

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