ST. PETERSBURG, FL -- The peace at a St. Petersburg church was interrupted last week. A hate symbol was chalked onto its driveway along with President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign slogan – Make America Great America.
But, that’s not stopping members of King of Peace Metropolitan Church from worshipping.
“I believe we were targeted for who we are,” said Candace Shultis, Senior Pastor for the church.
Shultis represents the primarily LGBT congregation. On Sunday, she didn’t shy away from telling them they weren’t going to live in fear and love will triumph.
“We were going to continue to preach love,” she said.
Similar incidents have been happening all over the country. The Southern Poverty Law Center has researched 701 cases of hate speech, harassment and vandalism since the presidential election.
They say a majority of it occurred the first three days following it and that cases involving anti-immigration are the most reported.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo addressed a church in his state as well, saying the hate crimes need to stop.
“The ugly political discourse of the election did not end on election day,” Gov. Cuomo said.
“These acts of division are the exact opposite of what America stands for.”
Over at King of Peace, members were a bit rattled.
“I hope that those people who do that type of thing will come and talk to us,” said member Jerry Small.
But, like their pastor, they are unafraid.
“I’m a former Marine actually and I don’t fear much of anything and I’m certainly not going to fear someone who sprawls hate on the sidewalk,” Shultis said.