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Medford crime

Racist vandalism rattles local church

A Central Point church strongly condemns an overnight vandalism that left its message board with a racial slur.

Gloria Dei Lutheran Church pastor Tom Arnold said he's "heartbroken" that a vandal would cut open the lock to its message sign overnight Thursday and rearrange plastic letters to spell out the N-word with a question mark.

"That's not us — oh my heavens," Arnold said.

Arnold called the vandalism "beyond the pale," and struggled to find words without using profanity to condemn the vandalism and the use of the slur.

Arnold said the church welcomes all.

“God don’t care about your color. He cares about your heart,” Arnold said, later adding, “We all bleed red.”

Arnold became emotional at the possibility the vandal was acting because of the church’s recent outreach efforts towards a black man who needed help. The church serves people of all colors — particularly through its Thursday food pantry, Narcotics Anonymous 12-step meetings and pregnancy center.

“This truly disturbs me,” Arnold said.

Church member Carolyn Nelson was among the first to take the vandalism down Friday afternoon. The message originally said “What would it sound like to hear God sing?”

Central Point police have been called in the vandalism, which has been assigned Case No. 19-747. A police captain familiar with the case did not immediately return a message Friday afternoon.

Arnold said the church has surveillance cameras, which could help in the investigation.

“This person has to live with their own words — not ours,” he said.

Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or by email at nmorgan@rosebudmedia.com.

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