Members of the First Unitarian Society of Denver found their church’s Black Lives Matter banner splattered with red paint Sunday morning.
Rev. Mike Morran said his congregation showed no signs of fear after the vandalism — just disgust and bewilderment.
“The overwhelming response I heard from the congregation was, ‘Nothing anyone can do will stop us. We will fix this.'”
Morran made a brief announcement about the incident after the sermon. Then, the congregation prayed for the perpetrator to find peace and heal.
“There is definitely evil out there,” Morran told The Colorado Independent. “But just because our congregation is welcoming doesn’t mean we tolerate hate.”
Two banners hang in the sanctuary at the First Unitarian. One reads: “There’s a unity that makes us one.” The other: “All souls are sacred and worthy.”
“And those are the two pillars around which our church revolves,” Morran explained. “Unfortunately we live in a society that values white lives far more than black, brown and native lives. So we see it (solidarity with Black Lives Matter) as a matter of living out our faith.”
Black Lives Matter 5280 is the local chapter of a national movement sparked by a string of high-profile police shootings. The group works locally to fight racism.
Rev. Morran made clear the First Unitarian’s commitment to peace and justice will never falter. Church staff will try to clean the banner on Wednesday, and if the paint is permanent, they’ll hang a new banner.
“The outpouring of support, especially online, was almost unbelievable,” Rev. Morran said. “We’ve heard from hundreds of people, congregations and pastors from all around the country saying they’re with us on this.”
The incident is currently under investigation.
Denver Police Department’s biased motivated crime unit hasn’t found a pattern of attacks targeting Black Lives Matter 5280, but spokesman Sonny Jackson stressed that this kind of vandalism is not taken lightly.
Photo via First Unitarian Society of Denver Facebook page.