Wedgewood Church In North Carolina Painted Over Homophobic Graffiti With Rainbows, Because #LoveWins
If the Westboro Baptist Church has been a supervillain — albeit one of the hapless and ineffectual variety — attempting to terrorize the LGBT population of America, I believe we've finally come across its superhero counterpart: Wedgewood Church, which painted over homophobic graffiti with rainbows. Sure, the LGBT community can fight its own battles (and frequently does), but isn't it always nice to have help?
Wedgewood Church, located in Charlotte, N.C., is one of several liberal, LGBT-friendly churches in the South. Such institutions are relatively common — according to pastor Chris Ayers, who spoke with Bustle over email, Wedgewood is one of more than 20 similar institutions in Charlotte — but that doesn't mean their welcoming attitude is shared by everyone in the area.
Earlier this week, vandals chose to make their displeasure with the church's diversity known by spray painting lines through Wedgewood's sign, which originally read, "LGBT Equality." Church staff removed the graffiti, but the homophobes weren't done yet. (I have to give credit where credit is due — they may be despicable, close-minded jerks, but they're dedicated despicable, close-minded jerks.) Soon after the sign was cleaned off, the vandals returned to spray paint the church's front doors with the declaration that "Fags Are Pedos."
This could have been just another depressing story of homophobic vandalism, but the Wedgewood congregation had other ideas. After Ayers wrote about the incident on Facebook, the church received an outpouring of support from the community.
"We were overwhelmed with support and kindness... We didn’t want to take money but we wanted to allow people to care for us even while we wanted to get rid of the harmful words as a way of caring for the LGBT population," Ayers tells Bustle via email.
After much discussion on Facebook, the congregation decided to paint over the doors... with a giant rainbow. I proudly consider myself a crotchety old woman in a young person's body, but even I had to giggle at that.
"Wedgewood is just one church among many which is doing its part to make the world a better place," Ayers writes. That may be true, but how many other churches are literally painted with rainbows to show their support for equality? In my opinion, nowhere near enough.
Unsurprisingly, many "Wedgewoodians," as Ayers refers to them, are LGBT; he estimates around half of the congregation is openly LGBT. "We are blessed with having a good number of transgender people," he adds. The church houses transgender nonprofit Transcend Charlotte, and it also features various works of art from transgender artists around the country.
Furthermore, he made sure to note that the the church practices "full equality, even during worship." In fact, they don't consider ordination necessary to be considered a preacher.
"It's not just me, a white, heterosexual, male speaking," he writes. "Feminist, liberation, and queer theology stresses the need for all voices to be heard... Anyone can preach as long as they don't preach too long."
According to the Independent, Wedgewood is even considering changing the sign from "LGBT Equality" to "I forgive you." If that doesn't prove there are wonderful people in the world, I don't know what does.
You can check out Wedgewood's website here.
Images: Courtesy of Chris Ayers