A burglar has broken into and vandalised a liberal church in Charlotte, North Carolina, in what churchgoers are calling a targeted attack on the LGBT+ community.
The intruder smashed a bathroom window to gain access to the Caldwell Presbyterian Church’s on-site coffee shop and left an anti-gay Bible reference on a painting.
The artwork—a rainbow map of North Carolina—now has ‘1 Corinthians 6:9-11’ inscribed on the canvas, a passage that condemns “men who have sex with men” as well as thieves and adulterers.
Despite directing attention to a passage that denounces stealing, the intruder also took 15 bags of coffee, a kettle, a heater, some food from the refrigerator and some permanent markers from the church’s Sunday school classroom to leave the biblical graffiti.
The Rev. John Cleghorn told the Charlotte Observer that the intruder “clearly meant to send a message. This doesn’t fit the description of a hate crime, but it’s a clear attempt at intimidation.”
Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts says her thoughts and prayers are with the “inclusive, welcoming and diverse church’ and that the “break in, vandalism and hateful messages left show that we have a lot of work to do to end discrimination in our community.”
North Carolina was widely condemned last year when it became the first US state to pass anti-transgender legislation.