A Lower Mainland church has again had it’s Pride flag vandalized, the second time in less than two weeks.
Delta’s Ladner United Church posted a photo of the defaced flag to its Facebook page on Saturday afternoon (June 15). It’s the second time in 12 days the someone has vandalized the church’s flag, the first occurring on June 3.
In both cases, the flag was marked with what appeared to be black spray paint.
“Twelve days after our #Pride flag was defaced, and one week after we installed its replacement, our flag has been defaced again. This is not simple vandalism, but a clear message and intentional criminal act,” the church posted on Facebook.
“Let us be clear in our response: we will not be deterred in living out the love of Christ in word and deed in our community. We are not afraid or ashamed. We encircle our #LGBTQ+ church members, family, friends, and neighbours with love and solidarity.”
The June 3 vandalism sparked outrage on social media and the City of Delta and the Delta School District raised Pride flags outside their respective offices on June 5 in response to the incident, as well as to recognize June as Pride month. The events marked the first time that either the city or the district had done so.
Mayor George Harvie took to Twitter Saturday evening to condemn this most recent act vandalism.
“Extremely upset & disappointed to hear that another Pride flag at Ladner United Church was defaced. This community will not tolerate such despicable acts. #DeltaBC stands in solidarity with Ladner United Church & the LGBTQ+ community. #PrideFlag.”
Extremely upset & disappointed to hear that another Pride flag at Ladner United Church was defaced. This community will not tolerate such despicable acts. #DeltaBC stands in solidarity with Ladner United Church & the LGBTQ+ community. #PrideFlag— Office of Mayor George V. Harvie (@MayorofDelta) June 16, 2019
In the comments below its Facebook post, Ladner United Church said most people in the community had either been supportive, expressed a “live and let live” attitude or kept their opinions to themselves about the vandalism.
“This is the first time since we’ve been flying our Pride flag (since we moved back into our restored/renovated building in 2014) that someone has taken an outright destructive action like this at our church … thankfully very rare.”
In thanking commenters who offered to provide the church with a new Pride flag, Ladner United said it will be determining what the church’s “specific next steps will be” at a leadership Council meeting later this week.
“Either way we’ll keep having a flag up this Pride month,” the church said.
In the meantime, Ladner United Church encouraged residents to “take action” by supporting the upcoming Delta Pride Picnic on Aug. 31 — either by donating, attending, or sharing and promoting the event, by writing to mayor and council to let them know it’s important that Delta is a safe and inclusive place for all residents and that they should take tangible actions to reflect that, and/or by donating to the church to help support the work it does in the community.