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Vandalism of Black Lives Matter posters at DC-area churches exposes divisions over faith, politics

Religion Church Vandalism
Posted at 7:50 AM, Dec 16, 2020

WASHINGTON — Vandalism at four downtown Washington churches after rallies in support of President Donald Trump is exposing rifts among people of faith as the nation confronts bitter post-election political divisions.

The houses of worship that were vandalized included two historically Black churches where people ripped down Black Lives Matter banners.

Video posted to social media showed one banner being burned, defacement that police say is being investigated as possible hate crimes.

Rev. Dr. Ianther Mills, the senior pastor at Asbury United Methodist Church, compared the vandalism of the banners to a cross burning in a statement released on Sunday. On Monday, she said she hoped evangelical Christians condemn the vandalism, but added that she didn't want to make her statements about politics.

At the Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church nearby, a banner with colors supporting LGBTQ rights was slashed by protesters.

“People need to denounce it and call it an act of racial violence,” Claycomb Sokol told The Associated Press. “People who have been really quick to be silent need to wrestle with what actually took place on our streets on Saturday, and how silence can actually be a sign of support, of complicity.”

The vandalism also raised questions among some pastors and members at the churches about why more fellow Christians were not speaking out against the incidents.