Rainbow flag stolen from Lynchburg church replaced

Church reemphasizing support for LGBTQ community


LYNCHBURG – A new rainbow flag has been mounted to the sign out front of First Christian Church of Lynchburg.

When the church's senior minister, the Rev. Cyd Cowgill, passed by the church on her way home from Kroger Saturday, she saw that the rainbow flag that used to be mounted to the sign was gone.

She was disappointed, especially with Saturday being only two days before the one-year anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting, an LGBTQ club in Orlando, Florida.

"Disappointment that there is still fear and hatred surrounding not only that event but all matters regarding the inclusion of the LGBT community within the larger community of Lynchburg and the nation and the world," Cowgill said.

In place of the stolen rainbow flag was an American flag with the Bible verse Leviticus 18:22 written on it.

"It's one of the homophobic Old Testament passages in scripture that is often pulled from its context," Cowgill explained. "It is used frequently, used violently sometimes, to intimidate the LGBT community."

The flag was taken down and a new rainbow flag was put in its place.

Elder Phil Stump was shocked when he learned Sunday morning what happened.

"I was very disturbed by it," said Stump.

When asked what message he hopes the church's quick replacement of the rainbow flag sends, he turned around to show the church's motto printed on the back of his shirt.

"God loves you. No exceptions," Said Stump. "My brother-in-law was gay. He was a very dear, wonderful friend. I just feel that people that do things like this, they don't realize that they're talking about people; real people who are just like us."

The church hasn't decided yet what to do with the American flag.

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