Clifton United Methodist Church is the latest faith community in the Cincinnati area to be vandalized but this will not put a damper on our activism against discrimination and for immigrant rights, LGBTQ inclusion, and an end to poverty. Over the weekend, the glass of our church sign was vandalized with profanity and sexual slurs with permanent marker on both sides.
“We don’t know why this happened, but that it happened is troubling. There is too much hate in the world, and this feels like just more of that hate,” said Pastor David Meredith.
Earlier this year, Hebrew Union College was vandalized with swastikas. Around the same time, Clifton United Methodist staff found a swastika carved into one of our bathrooms. Walnut Hills High School was vandalized with racial slurs. The Clifton Mosque has endured repeated threats. Our church building has been vandalized in the past, including broken windows, and the spilling of cans of paint in the basement, and the dumping of excrement.
This vandalism feels targeted at “sexualized” people (women and lgbtq folk) who are an integral part of our community, ministry, and activism.
Nevertheless, this vandalism (and any hate which energizes it) does not deter the commitment of Clifton United Methodist Church to its work and witness. Pastor David noted, “As a openly gay pastor, I know that there are always some folks opposed to who I am. They are also opposed to who we are and to the work we do to stand up against discrimination.” Nevertheless, this congregation will remain a place where God’s love is expansive and unconditional, where everyone is welcome regardless of their status, identity, faith perspective, sexual orientation, or gender identity. It is a place where we embody these commitments by marching in the PRIDE parade for nearly two decades, partnering in Black Lives Matter activism, advocating for women’s reproductive freedom, participating in the Cincinnati Sanctuary Congregation Coalition, and embracing interfaith relationships and efforts.
“They’re not going to shut us up. We will keep our doors, hearts, and minds open.”