Wicker Park church's pride, transgender flags vandalized in possible hate crime

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Flags meant to celebrate the gay and transgender communities at a Wicker Park church were recently destroyed, vandalized with messages of hate.

Pastor Jason Glombicki of Wicker Park Lutheran Church is determined not to let hate win.

"That's what our faith teaches us," he said. "That it's not just about hate and what others do, it's about continuing to respond in love."

Glombicki rehung the flags representing the LGBTQ and transgender communities on the front doors of his church today, his loving response to what he considers a hate crime.

It started early last week, when the church was only displaying rainbow pride flags.

"We had some individuals come by and tear down the flags. Originally they were up here, right in front," he said.

So they simply hung up a new one, and added the transgender flag.

Around 3:15 a.m. Saturday, hours before the service, surveillance video shows someone again hopping the fence, this time apparently armed with spray paint. This time, they used the paint to vandalize the flags.

"They put a black X through the transgender flag, and then they wrote 'we love kids' on the rainbow flag," Glombicki said.

"It's sad that there are people that feel that way, and especially disgusting that they think they're protecting kids that way," said Matt Cerney, neighbor to the church.

"Physically harming and destroying the image of queer people is also hurtful," said Glombicki.

Police have collected the torn and vandalized flags as evidence as part of a potential hate crime investigation, while Glombicki said he is moving forward with his constant message of love.
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