The Church of The Ascension in Port Perry likes to think of itself as a church that welcomes same-sex couples and to advertise that fact – so rare today in the Anglican Church of Canada, after all – it placed a couple of rainbow fish on its sign.
Someone is systematically removing the fish. The rector sees this as a sign of intolerance towards same-sex couples, although it could just as easily be a sign of intolerance towards a church that encourages acts of which the Bible is intolerant. A newspaper article bills it as a “hate crime”. However satisfying these pilchard pilferers find their protest, it is almost certainly giving the Church of the Ascension more free advertising than it deserves and it could result in prosecution under Canada’s Section 319 “hate crime” law. If the vandals are so frustrated they feel they simply must destroy something, they should join an anti-Trump women’s march in their area and smash some windows; there they will be immune from prosecution.
In two separate incidents, new signage at the Church of the Ascension (Anglican Church of Canada) has been vandalized. We are concerned the vandalism is an act motivated by intolerance towards the LGBTQ community.
Each side of the church sign features a decal of the rainbow fish symbol. This symbol is intended to show that the Church of the Ascension welcomes all people, irrespective of their sexual orientation. Two weeks ago someone damaged one of the decals. It was hoped this was simply a random act of vandalism. However, on Saturday, January 14th, one decal was completely removed and left on the ground and the other decal was damaged. It was clearly an intentional act of vandalism.
Over the last five years the parish has striven to be a place that is open and inviting to everyone. The Ascension community has made a public statement that it welcomes everyone who has ever felt excluded by the Church or their community because of their race, gender, sexual orientation, age, physical or mental challenges, financial resources or family status. The rainbow fish is an important symbol of who we are as a Christian community and a reminder that emphasizes God’s grace and reconciliation with all people.
The parish considers that these acts of vandalism, while minor in terms of dollar value, are a significant demonstration of intolerance and hatred.