Churches targeted by hateful fliers fight back with rainbow-colored messages of love
Author: Daniel Villarreal
Washington state government officials spoke at a May 2 vigil in support of two LGBTQ+-affirming Seattle-area churches that were targeted by hateful, transphobic fliers threatening armed violence. Over 300 people attended the vigil, the Herald Net reported.
Dozens of the fliers were found on cars outside of Edmonds United Methodist Church on Sunday, April 16. Similar fliers were found outside the Holy Spirit Lutheran Church on Sunday, April 23. Both were placed on cars during the churches’ Sunday morning services. An Edmonds pastor noticed the flyers and removed them before the services ended.
The full-color, two-sided fliers contained “a garish collection of far-right, anti-LGBTQ memes,” The Seattle Stranger wrote, including “pride flags arranged into the shape of a Swastika, ‘groomer’ language, a call for armed violence against Democrats,” graphic photos of genitalia, and lies about a non-existent state law that allegedly allows government officials to kidnap and “transgenderify” children.
“It felt in some ways just very generic and anonymous, like, somebody with too much time on their hands and a lot of hateful things in their head,” Holy Spirit Rev. Katy McCallum Sachse told the aforementioned publication. “But also in some ways very personal and targeted to real people in our congregation, and, of course, in the wider community.”
The churches alerted local legal authorities and the FBI who are now investigating the fliers as a possible hate crime. Investigators reportedly have camera footage and a description of a suspect. Extremism experts at the Anti-Defamation League said the fliers don’t seem to be linked to any specific group.
Vigil attendees entered the Edmonds church and were given rainbow-colored ribbons, candles, and printed programs bearing the words, “We Side With Love.” Attendees were encouraged to write hopeful messages on the ribbons so that volunteers could tie them to tree branches outside of the church where passers-by could see them.
The vigil was attended by Edmonds, Washington Mayor Mike Nelson, Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers, state Sen. Manka Dhingra (D), and other Snohomish and King County officials. Seattle drag queen Luna DeLyte also recited poetry and spoke at the event.
At the event, Mayor Nelson reportedly stated, “Already 15 states have passed laws barring transgender kids from playing sports… Three states have put laws on the books to prevent trans kids from accessing care recommended by major medical associations.”
“Whether it is a hate-filled flier, or a piece of legislation… we must rally against those who sneak around in the night leaving hateful messages, and we must stand up to those who — in the broad daylight — have been given a green light to demean, to humanize, to spread fear,” Nelson added.
The vigil crowd was reportedly so large that the church had to set up extra chairs. Both churches regularly display Pride flags and messages outdoors expressing support for LGBTQ+ people and other marginalized communities.
Actual Story on LGBTQ Nation
Author: Daniel Villarreal