More than 60 anti-LGBTQ attacks or threats against religious venues in 18-month period

Numerous places of worship across the US seen as being friendly towards the LGBTQ+ community, have been subjected to threats and attacks in the past few years, according to research.

Between June 2022 and January 2024, there were at least 66 incidents where churches, synagogues, mosques, Sikh gurdwaras and Buddhist temples were targeted over LGBTQ+ inclusion, or perceived support for the queer community, findings from GLAAD and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Center on Extremism reveal. 

Incidents included arson, destruction and threats received through the mail, email or phone calls. 

GLAAD and ADL’s findings indicated that the targeted religious buildings had increased visible signs of support for LGBTQ+ equality, by displaying rainbow flags, holding specific Pride month services or hosting groups for queer youth. 

Ross Murray, the vice-president of the GLAAD Media Institute and an ordained minister, said: “Now that religious communities are faithfully coming to the conclusion that the LGBTQ community should be safe from violence and welcomed into faith communities, anti-LGBTQ activists are turning to violence and intimidation on those faith communities. 

“Faith leaders cannot back down or allow their voices to be silenced by a radical fringe, but must continue to stand for the safety and welcome of LGBTQ people.”

In March, an Ohio church that was supportive of LGBTQ+ rights and hosted drag story hour events was firebombed. According to court documents, the suspect wanted to “protect children and stop the drag show event”

Just a few weeks later, a rainbow LGBTQ+ Pride flag was burned at the Pasadena Buddhist Temple, in California, sparking an investigation into whether the act was a hate crime. 

According to the Los Angeles Times, the temple’s resident minister, Gregory Gibbs, said the incident was being taken “very seriously because it is an act of hate.” 

The hand-painted flag was burned after an unidentified man complained and asked for it to be taken down, Gibbs added. 

In October, an unidentified driver ran over rainbow doors, which included the message “On Earth as in heaven, God’s doors are open to all” – adorning the grass outside the United Christian Church of Renton, in the state of Washington. 

That same month, far-right groups protested outside the Cathedral of Hope United Church of Christ, in Dallas, Texas. They waved swastika flags, held up signs reading “protect white children” and banners claiming “homosexuality is an abomination to mankind”. 

The post More than 60 anti-LGBTQ attacks or threats against religious venues in 18-month period appeared first on PinkNews | Latest lesbian, gay, bi and trans news | LGBTQ+ news.