UPDATE| Vandals spray anti-gay messages on historic Augusta church

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News 12 at 6 o'clock / Tuesday, July 21, 2015

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Vandals defile one of Augusta's oldest historic churches with spray painted words of hate.

The words "you'll burn," "lies," and "Leviticus 18:22" were splashed across the brick walls and the granite stairs of Metropolitan Community Church of Our Redeemer on Greene Street.

"What darkness is in their heart to do something so ugly?" Rev. Rick Sosbe asked.

That's the questions Rev. Sosbe has been asking since he found anti-gay messaged sprayed across the historic church where he is the pastor.

"They spray painted Leviticus 18:22 on the door, and then they spray painted the word 'lies' and 'burn' on the brick," he said. "On the stairs they cited Leviticus 18:20, and they sprayed you'll burn."

The Bible verse Leviticus 18:22 says "Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable."

Rev. Sosbe and his partner were the first same-sex couple to apply for a marriage license in Richmond County, and his church has been openly welcome to all people.

"If people want to be worried about my soul, they can be worried about my soul. I know it's fine. But, don't be so mean and hateful just because you don't understand or maybe you're fearful," he said.

Even though the graffiti mentions the Bible, Sosbe says whoever put it there is not part of the faith he knows.

"That was not put on there by a Christian person, in my opinion, because a Christian is known by their love," the pastor said.

Love, today, came from the volunteers who braved the intense heat to scrape, scrub, and wash away what the vandals left behind.

"Joseph tells his brothers, 'What you intend for harm, God turned around for good,' and I thought the same thing about our situation," Rev. Sosbe said.

Still, all the scrubbing won't wash away the pain.

"Anger, frustration, and sadness. Sadness, really, quite truthfully for the person who did that," Rev. Sosbe said.

This is the second case of recent vandalism at the church. Rev. Sosbe says two weeks ago someone stole their rainbow flag. It was flying right above the sign that says "Welcome all."

The congregation and supporters held a rally at 6 p.m. Tuesday on the same stairs that read "you'll burn" earlier that day.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Crews are working to clean off vandalism on the Metropolitan Community Church of Our Redeemer on Greene Street.

The church was spray painted with the words, Burn.Lie.And Leviticus 18:22. The verse is "Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable."

The vandalism has been taken off the Church doors but the cleaning supplies is not working on the brick. Crews will repaint the door and are waiting on other chemicals to clean the brick.

News 12 will update this story at more information becomes available.