An LGBTQ Pride flag was torn down from a New York church and burned last Sunday.
Police say the charred remains of the rainbow flag, which hung outside May Memorial Unitarian Universalist Society in Syracuse, were found in the church’s memorial garden, WSYR reports.
“We believe this to have been an act of hate and fear and a police report has been filed,” write Rev. Jo VonRue and president Stephanie Cross in a joint statement on Facebook. “As a congregation, May Memorial has always been and will always continue to be a welcoming congregation where all are affirmed in their personhood with love and compassion. In response to this act of hate, May Memorial will be reaffirming our Welcoming Congregation status and looking for ways to further our work of welcome and love in the Syracuse Community and beyond.”
“Our flag may have been burned, but our resolve to affirm the worth and dignity of every person will never be destroyed.”
The church, which has already replaced the flag, is holding a special listening circle November 5 where community members can come together “in an act of solidarity with one another standing against hate and fear and showing up for love.”
While the investigation is currently being treated as a criminal mischief incident, Syracuse police say an arrest could lead to hate crime charges. Anyone with info is encouraged to call 315-446-9900.