The FBI is investigating an explosion outside a Renton church Wednesday morning that damaged a rainbow Pride Month display — a community project that has been vandalized four times, the pastor said.
Police received a call from a member of the United Christian Church at 7:13 a.m. about a possible arson, Renton police spokesman David Leibman said.
The multicolored display includes six doors each painted with a different word from the phrase, “God’s doors are open to all!” said Cynthia Meyer, the church’s pastor. She was alerted Wednesday morning that the doors had been knocked over or kicked in overnight. Explosives had been attached to the back of two doors, and one of the devices had been detonated, she said.
“There’s a handful of people that are angry for some reason and rather than agreeing to hold different opinions are lashing out,” Meyer said. “And it’s a hate crime.”
There is no danger to the public, Renton police said in a tweet.
Seattle’s FBI office did not return an email for comment.
Wednesday’s incident marks the fourth time the doors have been damaged since they were put up about 1 1/2 weeks ago, Meyer said.
Last week, someone knocked the doors over and left the display in disarray, she said. On Monday, a hole had been punched in one door — a purple one that has the word “all” painted across it — and burn marks were left on the back, Meyer said.
The church’s rainbow display is a part of a national campaign called God’s Doors, which is meant to support “all people the Church has closed doors to, but particularly the LGBTQ+ community,” according to movement’s website, which was started by the Westfield Congregational Church in Connecticut. The idea began at the Connecticut church, the website said, but has since popped up at churches in Indiana, Massachusetts and Louisiana, among other states.
United Christian Church is planning to hold a communitywide vigil Friday at 6:30 p.m. at 15509 116th Ave., Renton, Meyer said.
“It’s helpful for us to all make connections with one another so we can continue to act for justice and inclusion,” she said. “We also certainly want folks in the LGBTQ+ community to see that we are persisting with a message of love and inclusion and standing strong with our belief that each one is a beloved child of God.”