CHARLOTTE, NC (Mark Price/The Charlotte Observer) - Anti-gay graffiti sprayed across the doors of one of Charlotte's best known LGBTQ-friendly churches has raised concerns among North Carolina's faith leaders, who plan a vigil at the crime scene Monday.
The noon event at Wedgewood Church will include a diverse group of faith leaders and political groups, who intend to show "solidarity with Wedgewood," according to a statement. The public is being invited.
Vandals sprayed the phrase "F--- are Pedofhiles" across the front doors at Wedgewood Church, with "pedophiles" misspelled. It happened either late Tuesday or early Wednesday, hours after a contentious Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board vote to increase support for LGBTQ students. One person, a critic of the new policy, had to be escorted from the CMS meeting after rushing at school board members.
Wedgewood, which publicly supports the CMS policy changes, has a congregation of about 80 people and half are lesbian, gay, transgender or bisexual.
The Monday event at the church is being called a "Unity Vigil."
"Religious leaders will pray for peace, unity and inclusion," said a statement about the event. "This is the seventh time the church has been attacked for its open and affirming stance toward LGBTQ community members.
Among the faith leaders expected to attend are: The Rev. Rodney Sadler of Union Theological Seminary; Rabbi Asher Knight of Temple Beth El; Matt Hirshy of Equality North Carolina and Minister Corine Mack of North Carolina NAACP
A GoFundMe account set up to help the church buy paint – along with a new security system – has raised $6,400. That's $1,400 over the goal. "While this could be a reason to fear, we choose to stand together stronger than ever, ready to continue to be the welcoming," says the GoFundMe page.
The LGBT political group Deplorable Pride has offered a $500 reward to anyone who provides information leading to the arrest of the person or persons who caused the vandalism.
"We will defend our brothers and sisters in their right to worship freely in the LGBT community and help send a message that this hatred will NOT be tolerated," said a statement from Deplorable Pride.