Last Wednesday, staff at Bedford United in Bedford, N.S., discovered that the church had been broken into and the church’s Black Lives Matter sign vandalized. In addition to the sign being defaced, a brick had been thrown through a sanctuary window and a cross was stolen, along with collection plates.
Bedford United posted on their Facebook page that the break-in has left their staff feeling “vulnerable.” They also wrote: “Personally and communally, we have seen a constant rise in hatred expressed for our stance on anti-racism over these past many months.”
Halifax police said in a statement Friday that they were investigating a break and enter that occurred at a church in Bedford earlier in the week, and that they were looking into whether the break and enter and the sign vandalism were connected.
Church staff are no longer accepting interview requests, stating that they want to draw focus away from this one incident and put in on the systemic racism that Black, Indigenous and people of colour face on a daily basis.
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This was just the latest in a series of similar incidents that have happened to churches across Canada and the U.S.
According to the Times Colonist, in June of 2020, the words “God was here!” were spray-painted over a Black Lives Matter sign at Sylvan United in Mill Bay, B.C. Religion News Service reported that on Dec. 12, churches in Washington were targeted when alleged members of the Proud Boys hate group vandalized several Black Lives Matter signs, even burning at least one.
Bedford United increased security following the recent incident, and in the case of Mill Bay, volunteers helped clean up the sign.
Police haven’t yet said whether or not the Bedford incident is being investigated as a hate crime.
According to the Government of Canada website, 43 percent of hate crimes in 2017 were “motivated by hatred of a race or ethnicity.” In the U.S., it’s 60 percent, according to the Social Justice Resource Centre.
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