As a critic of Mars Hills Church and their teachings on homosexuality and women, I've been open about my concerns about the decision of this Seattle based mega church to open a Portland location. I wrote an Open Letter to church leaders in August 2011 expressing my concerns but also welcoming them to Portland and encouraging dialogue. While they never responded to me directly I was gratified that they did meet with leaders of the Q Center, representatives of Portland's LBGTQ community.
Today's news that vandals - calling themselves "Angry Queers" - broke windows in the church is deeply upsetting. There is no excuse for this act of violence and it must be condemned. I call on the Portland Police to treat this as a hate crime against all people of faith, regardless of religious tradition or belief.
Portland is a better city than this. If Mars Hills Church represents the worst of Christianity, and I believe it sadly does, those responsible for this attack represent the worst of Portland.
My prayer tonight is that we learn to all practice tolerance and work towards a better society where the LGBTQ community is fully welcomed, as I believe God calls us to do, without the use of violence.