Police are investigating after banners with hateful anti-gay messages were hung outside an Indiana church known for being LGBT friendly and its progressive stands on racial and social justice issues.
West Lafayette police say the banners were found Sunday attached to a fence outside the Unitarian Universalist Church in the city about 70 miles northwest of Indianapolis.
One banner included a slur for gays and lesbians and the second had slurs against both racial minorities and gays and lesbians.
Parishioner Suzan Windnagel told the Journal & Courier the banners’ messages “were sickening, hate-filled and threatening.”
Police said, “these hateful racist banners have no place in our community and the West Lafayette Police Department is investigating this as a crime of harassment and felony intimidation.”
The mayor of West Lafayette took to Facebook to express his outrage:
The City of West Lafayette has been and always will be an open and welcoming community. We will not allow our embracing of all that is right to be targeted by those who feel empowered to deliver a message of hate, violence and exclusivity.
We will continue to make West Lafayette (a city where one-quarter of our resident population is non-native and that has long protected LBGTQ rights) an inclusive haven for all civically-minded people looking to improve our world.
I have contacted our police department and they are working the neighborhood to look for information in regards to this disgusting incident. The FBI has also been notified.
Mayor John Dennis”
If anyone has any information about this incident, they are asked to contact Lt. Jonathan Eager at the West Lafayette Police Department or the WeTip Hotline at 1-800-78CRIME.