Broward County

Posters With Hate Messages Found at Progressive Church in Fort Lauderdale

About nine posters were found on the walls of the Sunshine Cathedral, which bills itself as the "world's largest progressive queer church."

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The reverend of a progressive church in Fort Lauderdale wants answers after someone targeted the place of worship with posters filled with hateful messages.

About nine posters were found on the walls of the Sunshine Cathedral, which bills itself as the "world's largest progressive queer church."

"We were sort of the target, but the insults weren’t limited to us," said Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins.

The posters were discovered last Monday and likely hung up the day before, after service.

The messages were anti-Semitic, anti-social justice and anti-COVID — they called health officials human traffickers and that people who wear masks support satanism.

Rev. Watkins believes he knows why his church was targeted.

"Not only are we identified as a queer church ... we are a testing site, we were a pop-up site for vaccinations, we’re an ongoing testing site for coronavirus," he said.

There is video of the person who hung up the signs, but police say because it's an active investigation, they aren't releasing it.

The posters were hand-written sloppily with markers, and Rev. Watkins says he’s insulted that the person who did it chose a church.

"Our whole property is supposed to be a safe place for marginalized people, and he did it in a place where most of our social services are concentrated — with a gay television network, gay elder care, youth groups, recovery groups, and a food pantry that feeds over 600 people a week," he said.

Watkins also thinks the hate messages were hung up by somebody with too much on their hands.

"This took some effort," he said. "This man had a project; that’s probably not a well person."

Police have not yet made an arrest or released details about who they may be looking for.

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