Black Lives Matter banner outside University Christian Church in San Diego defaced

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(RNS) — A Black Lives Matter banner that hung outside University Christian Church in San Diego was defaced with paint over the weekend.

The Rev. Caleb Lines, senior minister of University Christian Church, said he found out about the vandalism around 6 a.m. Sunday (Jan. 24), when a security company sent him photos. It happened just after a number of rainbow-colored doors emblazoned with the words “God’s Doors Are Open to All” were ripped off of the church pillars on Friday, Lines said. It’s unclear if the incidents are related, he said.

Lines said it’s not the vandalism he finds heartbreaking: “It’s that some people truly don’t believe that Black lives matter or that the lives of LGBTQ+ people have value.”

University Christian Church is an open and LGBTQ+ affirming congregation affiliated with the United Church of Christ and Disciples of Christ.

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Lines said nearby businesses displaying Black Lives Matter posters on their windows were vandalized with paint too.

Although University Christian Church is in the LGBTQ-friendly neighborhood of Hillcrest, Lines said “San Diego is kind of a hotbed for hate groups,” emboldened under the recent Trump administration.

Lines said “hate doesn’t just end” because there’s a new president in the White House. “That is a legacy we’re going to be dealing with for a long time to come,” he said.

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Leading up to the inauguration of President Joe Biden, the United Church of Christ warned member churches of reports that “liberal churches” were targets of possible attacks.

Lines said he has urged church members “not to get too discouraged.”

On Sunday morning, the congregation moved forward with online worship, where a guest preacher talked about how to combat the global poverty crisis.

The congregation will continue “pursuing peace and justice,” Lines said.

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