Maryland Church Vandalized with Pro-Trump Racist Message

An Episcopal church in a heavily Latino suburb of Washington has been vandalized with a racist message that mentions President-elect Donald Trump, church officials said.

Jim Naughton, a spokesman for Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde, of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, said the vandalism occurred Saturday night at the Episcopal Church of Our Saviour in Silver Spring, Maryland. He said a banner advertising the church's Spanish-language service was slashed, and the words "Trump Nation. Whites Only" were written on the back.

Naughton said the same phrase was written on a brick wall in the memorial garden of the parish.

Bishop Mariann Budde visited the parish Sunday afternoon to stand in solidarity with the rector of the church, parishioners, lay leaders and interfaith supporters.

"We have just concluded our worship services in a church that has been desecrated by violence," Budde said during a news conference held outside the church. "I would call especially upon the president-elect and those who voted for him to separate themselves from acts of violence and hate that are being perpetrated in his name."

During the church's Spanish-language service on Sunday, Budde told the congregation to concentrate on peace and not retaliation.

"We need to love those who hate and...because love is stronger than hate," she said.

One woman stood next to the banner with her own sign saying, "LOVE WINS," and members of the congregation and community used chalk to write messages of peace and love on the sidewalk outside the church.

"It was sad that this has to happen, something like that, but we feel like we're always welcome in this church," said church member Idali Gotay.

"One little boy asked me this morning when he saw the writing on the wall...He said, 'Is that the way it's going to be now?' I said, 'Let's make it better,'" said Rev. Robert Harvey.

Montgomery County police said they are investigating the vandalism as a hate-based incident.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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