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Volume 34
Issue 24
 
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St. Marks vandalized with anti-Gay, racial remarks
St. Marks vandalized with anti-Gay, racial remarks
"The people who know about it have responded with sadness and horror," said the Very Reverend Robert Taylor.

by Robert Raketty - SGN Staff Writer

Hate is something the Very Reverend Robert Taylor understands all too well. He grew up under apartheid in South Africa. However, his parishioners at Saint Marks Cathedral, which is located in Seattle's largely progressive Capitol Hill neighborhood, got their own dose of it this week.

Messages of hate, one after another, marked the exterior of the Seattle landmark, which has peered over Seattle from its perch overlooking I-5 and Lake Union for 75 years. The graffiti had been discovered by Cathedral staff on Tuesday morning. Almost too horrific to repeat, they spewed their vitriol from the great pillars that adorn the main entrance of the Cathedral; from the office windows on the backside of the Cathedral campus; and even from the porch of the nearby Cathedral gift shop.

"The graffiti was very violent in its language and aimed at Gay and Lesbian people and people of color," Taylor told the Seattle Gay News on Thursday. "The people who know about it have responded with sadness and horror."

The graffiti, written with a big black marker, read: "Kill n[...]s and faggots," "Kill Gay clergy now," and "Kill homos."

The timing comes only weeks after Taylor, who is openly Gay, had made news by being selected as one of five finalists for the position of bishop of the Diocese of California and a high profile visit to the Cathedral by Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu. According to Taylor, this is the second time in the last two months that the church had been vandalized.

"There had also been some graffiti the night following [Tutu's] visit and it is believed that it is the same person [who is responsible for both crimes]," he said. "My sense is that the graffiti - in its violent language - really makes it clear to me that hatred certainly has no boundaries to it."

Saint Marks Cathedral has had a long history, according to Taylor, of working for social and economic justice and for the rights of minority groups, such as people of color, Gays and women.

"I think, also, what is so striking to some people is that we just began a year of celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Cathedral, which is a great moment in our life to be celebrating," he said. "We are reminded that the Cathedral was envisioned by folks who had come out of the First World War; thinking about a war that would end all wars and that violence on a scale unprecedented in human history... So, this 'Victory Cathedral' was seen - at least in their imagination - as a place of hope and healing. We are really focusing on those themes during this anniversary year. So, it really seems striking that - as we celebrate this being a community that is about reconciliation, about the love of God, about justice - that such graffiti should appear.

"My sense is that - in all things - love triumphs over hatred every time. Whenever there is darkness or a shadow cast, my experience is that the light of God and the light of human hope - or the light of Gods hope made known in human beings - is never put out and always burns brightly."

On Tuesday, a Seattle Police Department officer took four Polaroid photographs of the graffiti as evidence. A Seattle Police Department spokesperson on Thursday told the SGN that patrols of the area have been increased and that the police continue to investigate the incident. However, no suspects have yet been identified. A police report obtained by the SGN, classified the incident as "Malicious Harassment."

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