Reporting Kate Raddatz
MAPLE GROVE, Minn. (WCCO) – Authorities said a Maple Grove church was vandalized for the second time in recent months, and police need the public’s help to find out who is responsible.
Pilgrims United Church of Christ was the apparent victim of vandalism for the second time since early June, and it’s believed the motive is that the church is supportive of same-sex marriage. Maple Grove Police said church-goers spotted graffiti on the building, handcuffs on the front door and that the building had been egged again when they arrived for services on Sunday.
There was also the message “Gay pride, No.” on the exterior walls of the building.
Back in June, police said someone threw eggs at the windows and wrote “church of Sodom and Gomorrah” on the exterior walls. Authorities said more vandalism took place just a day later.
Now, the Maple Grove Police Department is trying to figure out who is responsible. Authorities said it’s clear that there’s a motive since the church supports same-sex marriage, but wouldn’t go so far as to call it a hate crime.
“We are investigating this crime as a bias motivated crime. A hate crime is not necessarily a word we use in law enforcement, but we are investigating this as a bias motivated crime,” said Maple Grove Police Captain Keith Terlinden.
Something worth noting is that the Pilgrims United Church of Christ has said it will perform same-sex marriage ceremonies. Minnesota recently legalized gay marriage, and the first same-sex marriages will start Aug. 1.
WCCO-TV has also learned that the pastor at the church when it was first vandalized is no longer with the church.