MIDDLEBROOK, Va. — A small fire and anti-gay graffiti were found Saturday at a church belonging to the United Church of Christ, a denomination that endorsed same-sex marriage last week.
The exterior of St. John’s Reformed United Church of Christ also included a message that United Church of Christ members were sinners.
A member of the congregation discovered the graffiti when he stopped by to mow the grass. He found a small fire within the sanctuary. The fire was put out in a few minutes, Lt. Tim McCray said.
A Virginia State Police fire investigator was on the scene Saturday afternoon, but declined to comment.
The fire came a day after two black churches were heavily damaged by seven arson fires in Sparta, Tenn. Authorities said there was no evidence that it was a hate crime, but they were not ruling anything out.
Someone also tried to set fire to a mosque early Saturday in Bloomington, Ind., and the FBI was investigating it as a hate crime.
The United Church of Christ’s rule-making body endorsed a resolution July 4 endorsing same-sex marriage. UCC churches are autonomous, meaning the General Synod does not create policy for its more than 5,700 congregations.
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