From the Staunton, Va. News-Leader:
MIDDLEBROOK —Members of St. John's Reformed United Church of Christ awoke Saturday morning to discover their church severely damaged by smoke and anti-gay graffiti painted on the side of the building.
Jerry Shultz, 53, of Middlebrook discovered the fire still smoldering when he stopped by early Saturday to cut grass.
He noticed graffiti on the side of the building and went inside to make sure everything was OK. He called down to Sue Gochenour, who was working in the basement and had come into the education building through a different entrance. She was fine.
When he opened the sanctuary door there was still a small flame.
"I think it burned itself out for the most part," Shultz said. "There was only a flicker the size of a lighter."
The vandalism contained anti-gay messages and a declaration that United Church of Christ members were sinners. The graffiti's message appeared to be a reference to the national church's decision last week to endorse gay and lesbian marriages, Shultz said.
The United Church of Christ's General Synod voted July 4 to approve a resolution that endorses gay and lesbian marriages. The Rev. J. Bennett Guess, spokesman for General Synod said he isn't aware of any other problems at United Church of Christ facilities across the country since the decision. The General Synod does not set policy for its congregations, which are autonomous.
Must be those damn Buddhists again.