A 20-year-old man has been arrested in connection with attacks on six churches in Buffalo, Minnesota. The places of worship were damaged with rocks and posters containing homophobic messages that relayed the vandal's "anger with God," according to police.
"The suspect explained that he was motivated to commit these acts due to his anger with God over personal issues; there was no mention of, nor any indication of, political motivations to the suspect's actions," Weinzetl said Wednesday night. The chief had said earlier that when there are multiple attacks on religious institutions, it gives authorities a reason to believe that the attacks have a "religious bent."
"An attack against a religion in and of itself is a bias or a hate crime," he said. He added that the material on the posters was "blasphemous and also included homosexual references" that are "an attack on a class of people."
Weinzetl declined to give specific examples of what the messages contained, other than to characterize them as "inflammatory" and add that "the word gay is mentioned, and there are other terms mentioned that would be derogatory to people of a homosexual nature. … And it probably doesn't take a genius to figure out what those words may be."
One of the pastors at a damaged church, Rob Jarvis, is uncertain whether the vandalism is related to Minnesota's upcoming ballot measure on same-sex marriage:
"I originally thought the vandalism might have been related to the amendment because of the poster, but there was nothing indicating the amendment on the posters, and the random selection of churches would also probably dismiss that theory," Jarvis said. "But I wonder if all the talk about the [marriage] amendment might have aggravated this particular person."