JAMAICA PLAIN — A Jamaica Plain church that prides itself on welcoming the LGBTQ community was vandalized Thursday morning with anti-LGBTQ+ language spray painted on the side of the building.
The graffiti, which included anti-gay slurs and the phrase “God does not love you,” was sprayed across the base of the steeple area of First Baptist Church on Centre Street.
Taking a stand against a hateful act, Rev. Darrell Hamilton says it was heartbreaking to see his church vandalized.
“Unfortunately we’re living in a world and a time right now where that is rampant, we’re living in a time where homophobia racism, xenophobia Christian nationalism all these things are being stoked by politicians by preachers, and by people who are giving complicity through their silence,” said Reverend Hamilton.
The church, founded in 1842, is an American Baptist and Alliance of Baptists congregation, according to its website.
First Baptist is also “affiliated with Welcoming & Affirming Baptists seeking full inclusion and leadership within our church of LGBTQIA+ people,” the site says. “We strive to seek the good of our world by serving our neighborhood and seeking justice in Jamaica Plain and beyond.”
Rev. Hamilton says it’s especially hurtful to see an attack like this in Boston during Pride month – a time when this community should be celebrated.
“We hold to the truth all people are made in God’s image and likeness and we also hold to the truth about justice,” said Rev. Hamilton.
Rev. Hamilton hopes Boston Police will find whoever’s responsible for this, and he says this makes them want to celebrate Pride month even more now.
Their church will have a Pride Sunday service during this Sunday’s worship at 11 AM with a celebration outside following the service. Many of their church members will also be marching in the Pride Parade on Saturday in Boston.
This comes as the Human Rights Campaign declares a state of emergency for the LGBTQ-plus community after a number of bills have been passed infringing on what some say are their human rights.
Pediatrician Dr. Scott Hadland, included in Boston’s “Portrait of Pride” event honoring LGBTQ+ community members, was shocked to learn his church where he and his husband take their two kids was targeted by hate.
“Why do we celebrate Pride Month? Because those who fought hard for the rights of LGBTQ+ people to live and love. And because in 2023 we still have to fight against hate,” Dr. Hadland tweeted.
Suffolk District Attorney Kevin R. Hayden condemned the vandalism.
“This dangerous, hurtful messaging is an instant reminder of the hatred within too many hearts in our city and cities across the nation. We will do everything possible to protect members of the LGBTQIA+ community in Boston and Suffolk County. But our efforts must be supported by national leaders in both parties speaking in unison against these insidious impulses in our society,” Suffolk County District Attorney Kevin Hayden said in a statement.
Boston Mayor Michelle Wu condemned the vandalism on Twitter.
“These disgusting acts of vandalism will not deter us from celebrating our LGBTQ+ residents this month, this weekend, and every day here in Boston. Hate has no place in our city. As we look forward to the return of the Pride Parade this weekend, we stand with Boston’s LGBTQ+ community and remain committed to ensuring that community members are safe and supported. We will not be intimidated in our work to make Boston a city for everyone,” Boston Mayor Michelle Wu said in a statement.
The Boston Police Department’s Civil Rights Unit is investigating the incident.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.
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