Renton church stands behind ‘Pride message’ after explosives attached to display

RENTON, Wash. -- The intention of six doors painted in rainbow colors outside of a Renton church was to promote inclusivity and love during Pride month. But since the display was put up, the doors have been vandalized several times.

This time, firework-like explosives were attached to the back of the of the doors and set off.

A bible verse was written on another, condemning anyone who is with someone of the same sex.

Members of the United Christian Church are standing behind their message "God's doors are open to all," even as others refuse to.

“We have chosen to be loud and proud about our inclusivity of all people — all people are welcome in our congregation.”

Jolynn Kenney said she was sad, not angry to see the damage, “Our goal is to bring love and positivity to the community.”

The message printed on resilient rainbow-painted doors in the front lawn of the church in Renton.

“They’ve been knocked down a couple of times, they’ve been bashed in or burned a few times.”

The message, enduring even more adversity in this latest round of vandalism: "Just because people disagree with us doesn’t mean you have to act accordingly.”

Bailey Laronde was the first person to see the damage done to the display.

“A lot of people have strong opinions, there was a bible verse written on the door,” he said

That bible verse, Leviticus 20:13 basically stating that being with someone of the same sex is punishable by death, just some of the damage Laronde saw when she first got to work at the daycare which shares a parking lot with the church, “Obviously somebody has spiritual beliefs that conflict with equal rights for this pride month.”

Laronde hunkered down with about ten kids until cops got there moments later.

“We just closed and locked the doors and covered the windows,” she said.

Despite her experience, Laronde isn't closing the door on the display.

“Even though it is damaged, it can always be repaired,” she said. "We will not waver in our commitment to be inclusive.”

And the church isn't giving up hope either.

“Even for the person or people who did this, we hope that their heart can be softened too so that they can understand, really we are here to love people and we believe God is here to love people and we hope that they can see that too.”

Keeping their arms and their doors open to everyone, “I am confident that we will not waver in our commitment to be inclusive.”

A prayer vigil is being held Friday June 21st at 6:30 p.m. at the United Christian Church in Renton.

Several community members have offered to help fix the display, some even starting a GoFundMe page to buy surveillance cameras.

The church is about a mile away from Lindbergh Senior High School.   Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound is offering a cash reward of up to $1,000 for any information that helps Renton Police solve this case.  If you saw someone running from the scene,  a vehicle or can identify anyone involved, you will remain anonymous and receive a cash reward of up to $1,000.  Submit a tip by going to http://www.P3Tips.com or by calling 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).  You can also use the P3 Tips App that you can download to your phone for free.

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