Methodist church sign tagged with homophobic decal 

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The decal itself. — Courtesy Pastor Hyuk Seonwoo

A “hate decal” was found on the sign board of the Trinity Methodist Church in Oak Bluffs on July 10, according to Pastor Hyuk Seonwoo. This marks the third time the Methodist Church, which flies a rainbow flag in support of the LGBTQ community, has been tagged with a homophobic decal. As The Times previously reported, Methodist Church property was tagged in September and October of 2019. Oak Bluffs Police Lt. Tim Williamson said his department will be keeping a watchful eye for suspicious activity at the church. Pastor Seonwoo expressed deep concern about the tagging incident, and told The Times folks must remain watchful going forward. 

In 2019 two other Vineyard churches were also tagged with homophobic decals, prompting a condemnation statement from the Island Clergy Council.

39 COMMENTS

      • Mr Hess you throw around the term”homophobic” like a gum wrapper. Presumably you dont allow disagreement on that subject. Disagreement and discrimination are two very different things. Perhaps you disagree with Polygamy for example (perhaps not) If that were the case would you be rightly marked as Polyphobe? But lets assume you dont disagree. Is there anything you disagree with that one could accuse you of bigotry?

        • ENGELMAN, word definitions are not debatable. If someone “disagrees” with what a word means, that shows ignorance of the English language, nothing more, nothing less. The bible passage is homophobic. There is no question of that. Not liking the accurate adjective is your issue with it.
          ho·mo·pho·bic
          /ˌhōməˈfōbik/
          adjective
          adjective: homophobic
          having or showing a dislike of or prejudice against gay people.
          “homophobic remarks”

          • As a matter of fact, word definitions are among the most debatable topics in all the myriad fields of human endeavor. A word means what some group of people thinks it means, and might mean something very different to the next group (where next could be a difference of place, of time, or both.) If what you say were true, then everything in the first edition of Merriam-Webster (September 24, 1847) would still be correct and complete. Clearly, this is not the case.

            If you go back to the Latin, “phobic” is the adjective form of “phobia” which refers to a fear, not a dislike or prejudice; more specifically, it refers to a fear so irrational as to defy even an emotional explanation.

            I see dislike in that decal, palpable disdain to be sure, and certainly some judgment that does not in any way belong to mortals; however, I do not see eve a hint of fear in it, and the judgment I see appears to be post- or peri- rather than pre-.

          • Ms Diez, you cant teach me anything about the english language. Disagreement with homosexuality is not the same as prejudice. Disliking homosexuality is not the same as disliking homosexuals. You cant seem to fathom that or dont want to. I have lots of Democrat liberal friends and I dont dislike them. I disagree with them and I show no prejudice towards them. I tell them I disagree with certain positions they take. I do the same with my same sex attraction friends and I do not fear them. Play with words all you want but ”phobia” means fear. Fear of snakes, fear of spiders, fear of tight spaces, fer of heights. Well you get the picture.

      • When disagreement is strong enough to takes the form of public harassment and criminal defacement, we don’t need to question whether those responsible are homophobic. The cowards in question may have sloppily paraphrased—I don’t expect conscientiousness from vandals—but the authentic Bible quote is still damaging. It’s used to justify abusive practices like so-called conversion therapy.

        • I’m not sure that “vandals” is an appropriate label either, unless they used such a strong adhesive that it cannot be removed without damaging the underlying surface. Short of that, it’s a publicly delivered message, and no more criminal than that.

          That you do not like the message does not make it a criminal act; furthermore, even among believers, the authentic Bible quote is only damaging to those who violate it.

          Clarification: I take issue with the recipient of that message calling themselves Christian, not with their actual practices.

          • I never said the Bible quote itself is a criminal act. The crime is in the delivery and the trespassing. That seemed obvious to me. My bad.

            Vandal is the most appropriate term in my book for someone who illegally defaces (“the action of spoiling the appearance of something”) another’s property.
            When a church that flies a pride flag is forced to unwillingly display a visual 100% contradictory to their message, its façade and function have been altered, aka spoiled, by an outsider. Whether that change in appearance is brief or permanent or easy to remove with Goo Gone isn’t really the issue for me. You can call them what you wish.

            Legally, sticker/decal tagging can be charged as an act of vandalism, making them vandals. Sometimes it may only count as littering. It varies. Reducing this act to littering would make no sense given the intent and target, but I will leave that up to local authorities who have more info than I do about these specific cases. The police have been contacted for a reason. Whether you personally believe it’s just an innocent public message doesn’t change our laws. Your definition of a crime may expand if someone trespassed on your property with ill intent.

            Bottom line and laws aside, someone once again attempted to throw animosity and shame at a group that has been on the receiving end of violence and discrimination. That’s the important part, yet it always devolves into splitting hairs about words because there’s no rational defense for what happened.

            As for ‘homophobia’, look up the history of the term. There’s an interesting reason it got its name initially and has evolved since. The Greek of it is somewhat irrelevant to today’s usage, which has been discussed and clarified many times. The term’s application is absolutely not limited to that of a true phobia as defined in psychology. Everyone acknowledges as much, so I’m sorry, I don’t really see your point.

            Etymology is not straightforward. To take words literally by breaking them down into simplistic parts is often gonna lead to a bad time and only serves as distraction. The entire field of linguistics is a Dr. Seuss traffic jam, not a straight and narrow highway. That doesn’t change the fact that yes, some people in the world dislike and disapprove of LGBTQ enough to harass and intimidate the community. Some of these intense dislikers likely live on MV, proven by this article. No one is risking consequences over lukewarm feelings or “polite” disagreement. Public messages of civility can be delivered in daylight without the need to hide one’s identity. This ain’t that.

          • Thank you, Katie Lane, for putting the mansplaining in its proper place. I would add only that “condemnation” and “denouncement” are more apt terms for the more benign-sounding “disagreement” that homophobic people use. An archaic, homophobic, sexist, racist, xenophobic, genocidal book is hardly a standard today for condemning people for peacefully living their lives. “Disagreeing” with homosexuality is like disagreeing with freckles. What homophobia does is condemn the freckles while self-righteously damning the people as “sinners” who were born with them.

          • Hi, Jackie. 🙂👋 I used to post here under my nickname, Aquinnah. Hope you have been well this year! I definitely agree that this display of prejudice is not mere disagreement. I was being tongue-in-cheek with that choice of term, in part to avoid Word Wars: Round 283. lol.

            I feel it’s a luxury to hear of something hateful like this happening and be able to sit back and intellectualize it from a distance, focusing on suffixes over suffering. The targets have to deal on a visceral level. It can affect their sense of safety and belonging, and yet some are keen to hold a bull session worthy of cigars and scotch, as if it were all hypothetical. Somewhere in 2020, I ran out of ways to say, “This hurts real people, please don’t overcomplicate things as a means of deflection.” The dictionary cannot absolve anyone of this crime or the labels earned. I’d ask people to consider why they would even want to make excuses for such behavior.

          • Hi Katie, I thought that was you! My aim at the word “disagreement” was at my usual target, ENGELMAN, who admits he can’t be taught. I agree with your comments and appreciate them. So nice to read your contributions, so smart and so measured.

  1. not surprisingly, whoever the nut case that put this there is a lying sociopath that appeals to the ignorant sociopathic followers of you know who..
    Look, even Andrew Engelman does not endorse THIS lie..

  2. It always amazes me that there are people who look at a multi-thousand year-old book, written in a society, culture, etc., etc, so different from today, and declare whatever is in that book is infallible (despite its contradictory statements) and believe it to have been written by folks who knew just what “God” wanted to tell the world.
    Nothing in the world has changed in all the centuries since the Bible appeared, no other words of wisdom have any relevance, to the Bible-thumpers.
    It’s hard to argue with such people, whose minds are tightly closed.

    • Bible written by approx 40 authors, over a period of 1600 years, best selling book ever, changed millions of lives, many of prophesies have come to pass,it’s been preserved and protected even though many have tried to destroy it, proven by many scientific findings, and contrary to what you say, consistent and pertinent to today’s world. And because God is constant and he loves all people, gay, straight, whatever, but doesn’t like the actions of people……liars, cheaters, adulterous people, and homosexual acts as stated in Lev.18:22, 1 Cor 6:9-11, and Romans 1:26, homosexuality is a sin. Yesterday, today, and judgement day!

      • Liars, cheaters, and adulterers blatantly harm others with their actions. Religious or not, that much is obvious and a practical reason to oppose those behaviors. I’ve yet to see an argument for how a loving same-sex relationship between two adults who have given consent is harming anyone. What’s their crime, happiness?

        If you believe in religious freedom, you should be especially offended by the repeated tagging of a church. This church can express its values as it sees fit, and someone keeps trying to trample that right.

        • If somebody changed their name to “Katie Lane” and moved in next door to you, perhaps you might take offense?

          How about if someone started selling cheeseburgers at a restaurant that claimed to be vegan? Would that bother you?

          People are free to believe whatever they like, but to call oneself Christian while standing against well-established Christian values would at best be a form of misappropriation and at worst could be the crime of fraud.

          These so-called Methodists can do what they like as far as I’m concerned, but they are clearly not Christians and should stop calling themselves that. They are what my great-grandpappy would have called “churchgoers” and let them be content with that.

          Disclaimer: I don’t practice Christianity either, but fraud bothers the hell out of me.

          • Kevin, I don’t agree that what this church is doing constitutes fraud, let alone a crime, but let’s say it does. We have legal ways to deal with fraud and crime in America. They do not include trespassing and tagging. Go through the proper channels if the complaint is serious.

            If a restaurant were selling clearly marked beef as beef, no, it would not constitute fraud. If they were passing off beef as a plant-based product, yes, that becomes a legal issue and I would expect the proper steps to be taken to address it. I wouldn’t sneak over there with a flashlight, spray paint BAD BURGERS, and act like I fixed things.

            This church has been upfront about its stance. Christians who do not approve of a church displaying the pride flag have the same option available to them as these hypothetical diners. They can simply choose not to attend. They can go elsewhere. That’s not what happened here. These cowards aren’t content to exercise their own right to select a house of worship. They have to infringe on the rights of others. It’s indefensible.

            As for calling themselves Christian, if they believe Christ is their salvation, the label fits.

      • What is God’s problem with homosexual acts?
        Are they really all that different than heterosexual acts?
        What day is judgement day?

        • As a matter of fact, the Bible sees no difference between homosexual acts and most of the heterosexual acts that take place today. They’re both regarded as sinful.

          According to that tome, sex is only okay when it takes place within marriage. The Bible is actually silent on the topic of contraception, so condoms and birth control pills are okay and don’t let the Catholics tell you any different.

          However, the Bible only authorizes divorce in cases of adultery (by either party) so, unless your previous spouse cheated on you, your current marriage isn’t valid, and any sex therein is the sin of fornication.

          Disclaimer: I don’t give a rat’s butt what two consenting adults do behind closed doors. I’m just reporting what the Bible says.

          • The Bible says so many different things.
            Not surprising, 40+ authors and many many more translators.
            Keep in mind that the translators knew what they wanted the Bible to say.

  3. No one should be putting decals on Churches but I am absolutely certain that ”hate” decals have been placed on institutions that are against same sex marriage or homosexuality. This is all about whose ox is being gored.

    • Oh, now I understand, that because ”hate” decals have been placed on institutions that are against same sex marriage or homosexuality it is OK with you if homophobes put up their own.
      Do you think that homosexual activity should be a felony, as indicated by Isaiah 3. 9. ?

      • Isiah 3:9 does not indicate that homosexual acts should be a felony. It simply tells the participants of those acts, to paraphrase, that their pride in those acts is going to bite them on the ass.

        “The expression of their faces testifies against them, and they proclaim their sin like Sodʹom; They do not try to hide it. Woe to them, for they are bringing disaster on themselves!”

        What part of that defines a crime, much less prescribes a penalty?

      • Mr Hess you really must start thinking a little better about this. Homosexuality is not a felony and the Bible doesnt say it is. The bible both in the old testament and the new says it is wrong. Many people use the bible as a road map through life. You do not. OK. Are some of us free to disagree with homosexuality as long as we do no discriminate against them? Can you at least jump in on that position? Perhaps not.

        • “Woe unto” is the punishment for a felony, the Bible is very clear on that.

          The Bible is one of the many books that I use as a road map through life.
          The Tanakh, the Bible, the Koran and the Communist Manifesto are the big four that everyone in the Western World should have deep knowledge of.

          “Are some of us free to disagree with homosexuality as long as we do no discriminate against them?”
          Yes, that has always been my position.

          The Communist Manifesto says that Capitalism is a ‘felony’. It must be true, it is in an old book.

  4. While some might want to bash anyone of the LGBTQ+ community, I would ask that they examine their own lives. Are you faithfully following the Ten Commandments and other instructive parts of the Bible? I am not part of the LGBTQ+ community but one thing that I do is let God in heaven handle the judgment of the people HE created. That’s not my job to do.

  5. Whenever I drive by I have such respect and gratitude for that flag and the little church that flies it. And I also feel the same whenever I see the First Congregational Church in the heart of West Tisbury. I am sorry not everyone can feel the love.

  6. “Religious people deface a church” would be a more truthful headline.

    “When the whole world doesn’t believe in God it’ll be a better place… I’m exactly the opposite of religious. I’m anti- religious. I find religious people hideous. I hate the religious lies.” ~P. Roth

    • Who was it that said, “Lord, protect me from your followers”?
      I agree with Mr Roth. When people stop using a poorly written book of fiction to justify their ignorance we will all be better off.

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