Pro-LGBTQ+ church display vandalized by unidentified driver

United Christian Church of Renton’s signature rainbow doors were heavily damaged over the weekend, something the church has dealt with in the past.

Sometime before 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 21, the rainbow doors that adorn the grass in front of the United Christian Church (UCC) of Renton were run over and heavily damaged by an unidentified driver.

The rainbow doors — enhanced with the message “On Earth as in Heaven God’s doors are open to all!” — have been a staple of the church, which is known for being pro-LGBTQ+ and progressive.

“All of it’s destroyed, so it’ll be a project to get them back up again,” said UCC Rev. Cynthia Meyer, who has been with the church for five years. “It reminds us why the messages are needed.”

The destruction of the doors were first noticed by Fairwood resident Megan Otis, who was driving by the church Saturday morning.

“Seeing those doors outside and the message that they stand for has been really heartening for me, especially since I had to experience some religious trauma against the LGBTQ community as a teenager,” Otis said. “And so just the existence of these rainbow doors have been kind of heartening for me and healing, and to see them knocked over and vandalized so many times, because this is not even the first time that this has happened … it just breaks my heart every time.”

According to Meyer, the rainbow doors had been vandalized and knocked over a few times in the past, with the most serious incident involving two small explosives placed on the doors in the summer of 2019, which the pastor said was considered a federal hate crime.

“This is certainly the most serious recent incident, as it appears someone drove up onto the grass and into the display,” she said.

The damage done to the doors comes two months after an anti-LGBTQ+ bomb threat was made to Brewmaster’s Taproom in Renton, which hosts monthly Drag Queen Story Time and Bingo events, and nearly a year after a projectile was shot into the Taproom’s window.

“I know that they have had so many instances of vandalism with these remote doors and then just on top of that, having all of the issues down the street with the Taproom and their Drag Bingo, it just feels like our poor little Renton community has had more than its fair share of homophobia and hate crimes. And I’m just tired of it,” Otis said.

After speaking with police Saturday afternoon, Meyer said that she would talk with the church’s leadership, and that they would work to get the doors replaced, just like they had before.

“I’m sure we’ll get this cleaned up and as soon as we can, we’ll have a new set of doors made and get them back up because we think the message is so important and we want to keep it out there. We don’t want to give in to those who don’t understand or, for some reason, are against a message of love and inclusion for all people,” Meyer said.