In a blog post on Wednesday afternoon, the National Organization for Marriage attempted to tie vandalism at five Buffalo, Minn., churches to the anti-gay marriage amendment despite news reports suggesting that the vandalism was both anti-Christian and anti-gay.
Under the title, “4 Minnesota Churches Vandalized With “Jesus Was Gay” Posters,” NOM wrote: “The press report buries the fact that the message posted at these churches involved homosexuality and four out of the five churches publicly support the Marriage Protection Amendment.”
But police, media and even the churches themselves say that the amendment doesn’t appear to have been a motivation for the vandalism.
Six churches were targeted in the acts on Saturday and on Monday. The vandal broke windows and doors at some of the churches. Hand-written messages expressing anti-gay and anti-religious views were found at four of the churches.[Police chief Mitchell P. Weinzetl] said many have asked whether the actions were related to the marriage amendment which will be decided in the November election, but he said the amendment wasn’t referenced in the writings.
“I don’t want to speculate as to what the person’s motivations were,” he said. “Quite frankly, my hope is once we identify the person involved, I’m hoping they’re going to tell us.”
“I originally thought the vandalism might have been related to the amendment because of the poster, but there was nothing indicating the amendment on the posters, and the random selection of churches would also probably dismiss that theory,” [Rev. Rob Jarvis] said. “But I wonder if all the talk about the [marriage] amendment might have aggravated this particular person.”
“The suspect explained that he was motivated to commit these acts due to his anger with God over personal issues; there was no mention of, nor any indication of, political motivations to the suspect’s actions,” Weinzetl said Wednesday night.
The chief had said earlier that when there are multiple attacks on religious institutions, it gives authorities a reason to believe that the attacks have a “religious bent.”
“An attack against a religion in and of itself is a bias or a hate crime,” he said.
He added that the material on the posters was “blasphemous and also included homosexual references” that are “an attack on a class of people.”
Weinzetl declined to give specific examples of what the messages contained, other than to characterize them as “inflammatory” and add that “the word gay is mentioned, and there are other terms mentioned that would be derogatory to people of a homosexual nature. … And it probably doesn’t take a genius to figure out what those words may be.”