BATTLE GROUND, WA (KPTV) – FOX 12’s Most Wanted destroyed a sign of welcoming and inclusion at a Battle Ground church – and that wasn’t the first time.
Police and the pastor say that same sign has been stolen and damaged before.
There are two signs on the front lawn of Battle Ground Community United Methodist Church: one for the church and one for what the church stands for.
“We believe in affirming everyone for who they are and that everyone is perfect exactly the way they are,” said Pastor Susan Boegli.
Boegli says it’s a message not all churches share, which is why a couple of years ago they decided to put up a banner with a rainbow flag – a symbol of the LGBTQ community — and a warm welcome for many congregants like Kristin Wade.
“I am a mom of a 16-year-old who identifies with the LGBTQ community,” Wade said. “It was a mission of mine to find somewhere that was in more alignment with my faith.”
But then about three months ago, that flag was damaged, though not destroyed. They put it back up.
“At first I thought, ‘Eh, it’s just a bunch of kids,’” said Boegli.
Then last month, Boegli says someone stole that banner.
They made a new one and hung that one up last week.
But she says it was only up for three days before this happened – someone slashed it front and back right around the colors.
“It really feels like they were trying to cut the rainbow out,” Boegli said.
Battle Ground police are investigating but say they have no idea who may have done this.
Boegli says at this point, it’s hard to believe it could be anything but intentional.
“It’s very possible that it’s not that, it’s just random, but that’s not how it feels. No, it feels very specific,” she said.
But they say no matter what keeps happening to the sign, nothing can destroy its message, which is why they already have another one up, plus a backup just in case.
“It’s one thing to have it out there, it’s another to not back down when faced in adversity,” said Wade.
They say they don’t have any ill will to whoever’s been doing this but rather extend them the same message they have for everyone else: all are welcome here.
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