Auburn church vandalized, minister slams hate sprayed with red paint

AUBURN, Ala. (WRBL) – A church in eastern Alabama condemns hate speech they found scribbled in red spray paint on the church’s welcome sign.

Reverend Chris Rothbauer is the minister of the Auburn Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, located along East Thatch Avenue. On Saturday morning, members found their sign vandalized with a queerphobic and transphobic epithet, “F___ the LGBT.” This is not the first time the church has been targeted.

“In recent years our signs and banners have been stolen and vandalized, but this is a definite escalation. This is an attempt to intimidate us with hate and set us back. Let me be clear “I will not back down. I am proud to serve a community that affirms people from many walks of life, some of whom find no other spiritual home in our region,” Reverend Rothbauer said.

A report has been filed with Auburn Police, who are investigating.

“It’s a reminder of the hate that permeates our political discourse right now. If you hate LGBTQIA+ people so much that you feel the need to vandalize an affirming religious community, you may be part of the problem. If you’re filled of such insane bigotry and anger, maybe you should get to know us rather than condemn us without even speaking to us,” Rothbauer said.

Auburn Unitarian Universalist Fellowship has a long history in our community. The church started in 1961 as a place where everyone was welcome to worship the Lord. The Fellowship purchased the Old Ebenezer Baptist Church, a restored historic building, from the Auburn Historical Association in 1981.

In the 19th century, Universalists advocated for spiritualism, women’s rights, and the abolition of slavery. Today, they advocate racial equality and LQBTQ+ quality.

Mission Statement: Auburn Unitarian Universalist Fellowship is a community dedicated to affirming respect for life and enriching the spiritual lives of its members

“As singer-songwriter Holly Near wrote, ‘We’re sweet and angry people / And we sing, sing for our lives.’ Love will prevail. The arc of the universe is long and he leans toward justice,” Rothbauer said.

The history of Unitarian Universalism in the United States intertwines with the history of American religion, politics, and culture. Many of our nation’s founders, including John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin, embraced Unitarian principles of rationalism toward religion and respect for science when crafting the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Many of America’s greatest thinkers and creators have identified themselves as Unitarians, Universalists, or Unitarian Universalists. The list includes Paul Revere, Julia Ward Howe, Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Bradbury, Buckminster Fuller and Morris Dees, to name a few.

In East Alabama, the Auburn Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (AUUF) provides a sanctuary of Unitarian Universalist values ​​and a place to put those values ​​into action.

Mission statement: Auburn Unitarian Universalist Fellowship is a community dedicated to affirming respect for life and enriching the spiritual lives of its members. Here we honor the one and the many; here we welcome a diversity of thoughts, beliefs and passions; here we speak without fear and listen with an open heart. We come together to care for each other, share our burdens and joys, and celebrate life’s passages.

Strengthened by this fellowship, we bring a liberal religious presence to our wider community and work for a safe and just world.

For more on the general history of Oneness Universalism, see

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