An unidentified man entered the Community Christian Church in Tempe, Arizona, Dec. 7, shouted anti-LGBT statements and claimed that President-elect Donald Trump's victory gave him permission to do so (video below).
The church had a pro-LGBT flag hanging outside.
Pastor Doug Bland wrote on the church's Facebook page:
We've filed a police report and started the prayer chain at our church and would invite your prayers from Facebook friends as well. A man stopped by the Community Christian Church office this morning on a rant about the rainbow flag we have in the cross tower. Keeley, our office administrator, had to field his attack because I was on a conference call.
The man was using inflammatory, graphic language about gay people and his "righteous" hatred for them...
Keeley maintained her cool, but was obviously shaken by the encounter. She did a great job diffusing and not escalating the situation.
"It made me so angry," Bland told KPHO/KTVK. "People feeling like they've got permission to express hate both in speech and in acts."
The man threatened to pay people to spread lies about pedophilia in the church, but that's not the end of the story.
Bland recalled: "He said that if Hillary would have won he would have driven right on by the church without stopping, but because Trump won he felt he had permission."
In response to the incident, the church put up a second flag that says: "Lovers in a Dangerous Time."
"This is really the heart of who we are," Bland explained.
The Tempe police said the man technically did not commit a crime, but added that he could be arrested for trespassing if he returns.
Bland also wrote on Facebook:
I ask you to pray for Community Christian Church, a prayer of thanksgiving that we have made a place of welcome and safety for our LGBTQ brothers and sisters, a prayer that we can continue to make that welcoming stand in courageous, peaceful ways.
I also ask you to pray for our nation. We are in a new and very uncertain political world, post-truth and post-civility. Some feel that they have been given permission to speak and act in hateful and cruel ways. Pray that there will be leaders in our community and our nation who will not tolerate hate, threats and violence.