Edmonton

'Gay rights activists' likely to blame for graffiti on church sign, Spruce Grove pastor says

A Spruce Grove pastor who took part in a May rally against Bill 10 is blaming “gay activists” for spray painting graffiti over a sign outside his church.

Spray paint changes original message to read, 'protect LBGTQ kids and end bigotry'

The pastor at the New Testament Baptist Church in Spruce Grove says he believes they are being harassed for their beliefs. 1:14

A Spruce Grove pastor who took part in a May rally against Bill 10 is blaming "gay activists" for spray painting graffiti over a sign outside his church.

RCMP have launched an investigation and say they seized evidence from the scene but don't consider the graffiti a hate crime.

The large white sign, posted near the New Testament Baptist Church, reads: "Amend Bill 10, protect parent rights & religious freedom."

But someone sprayed pink paint over original message, so that part of it now reads "protect LGBTQ kids and end bigotry."

The graffiti on the sign, which faces the Yellowhead Highway, was spotted by staff when they arrived for the final day of classes last Thursday at the church's Christian school.

Pastor Brian Coldwell said he and members of his congregation took part in a May rally at the Alberta legislature held by those who oppose Bill 10, which mandates that schools allow students to form gay-straight alliances.

Coldwell said he thinks that's why his church was targeted.

"Well, it's obviously the gay rights activists," he said. "It seems like if you don't endorse or celebrate that lifestyle, then it turns into persecution. That's our concern here. Respect is a two-way street."

He said the church put up the sign about a year ago.

"It's just a peaceful statement, asking the politicians to get some proper checks and balances in all this activist legislation that's in our schools right now," Coldwell said.

He said Christian schools simply want the right to be exempt from Bill 10.

"We have safe and caring schools," Coldwell said. "But these are religious schools, distinctly Christian schools, and we have the right to approach moral issues and traditional family values from a Christian perspective. And not have secular liberal values imposed on us."

RCMP Cpl. Kim Mueller said police are investigating.

"It does not appear to be a hate crime," Mueller said. "It's more like a case of mischief.

"This appears to be someone exercising their views, but there is no harm or hatred towards any cultural group."