Pastor Shawn Moses Anglim, the head of First Grace United Methodist Church in New Orleans, isn’t one of those church leaders who’s ambivalent about vaccines. He literally put up a message outside the church saying, “Love thy neighbor. Get Vaccinated.”
Unfortunately, on Friday, Anglim announced that the sign had been vandalized. Someone had spray-painted over the call for vaccination, written a Bible verse underneath it, and written on the ground “Faith over fear.”
The verse there, Revelation 13:17, includes a line about the “mark of the beast.”
Thankfully, with the help of people from another church, things were cleaned up and back to normal by later that day:
“There is a lot of anger out there…we need to be praying for each other…,” Anglim said on Facebook referring to the defaced signs. “Make today a day of prayer for those who experience and see the world differently from you…ask that God will help you empathize with them, and to turn the other cheek and keep walking in truth and faith and kindness… God loves you and there is nothing you can do about it.”
While the disturbing story had a decent ending, it’s a sign of what some pastors are up against as they try to protect the lives of their congregation members and their communities. Simply urging people to get vaccinated — which isn’t a political statement unless you’re steeped in right-wing conspiracy theories — is enough to spur someone to vandalize a church. Given the Bible verse, it’s likely the suspect was another Christian, too.
(Thanks to Karen for the link)