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Gay choir director admits to spray-painting 'Heil Trump' graffiti on his church after election

The choir director told police he spray-painted "Heil Trump" and other graffiti on the outside walls of his church days after the election of Republican President Donald Trump in order to "mobilize a movement." (Image source: WXIN-TV video screenshot)

After the election of Republican President Donald Trump last November, St. David's Episcopal Church in Bean Blossom, Indiana, was one of many spots across the country vandalized by apparent pro-Trump bigots.

The church's outside walls were tagged with a swastika, an anti-gay slur and the message "Heil Trump" sometime on the first Saturday after the election, the IndyStar reported then.

Image source: WXIN-TV video screenshot

The Rev. Kelsey Hutto, priest in charge at St. David's, told the paper she was upset at seeing the graffiti on the church walls Sunday morning — but then saw a silver lining.

"Well, we must be doing something right," Hutto told the IndyStar. "We stated one time that doing the right thing was not always the popular thing. We were targeted for a reason, and in our mind, it was for a good reason."

Hutto added a note on Facebook, the paper said: "We will continue to live out our beliefs and acceptance of all people and respecting the dignity of every human being. We pray for the perpetrators as well as those who the derogatory marks were directed at."

Image source: WXIN-TV video screenshot

Turns out the perpetrator is the church's choir director and organist.

George Nathaniel "Nathan" Stang, 26, of Bloomington, told the IndyStar he vandalized the church as a way of motivating others to act in response to Trump's election.

"Over the course of that week, I was fearful, scared and alone too, in my fear," Stang, who is gay, told the paper. "I guess one of the driving factors behind me committing the act was that I wanted other people to be scared with me."

Brown County Prosecutor Ted Adams on Wednesday filed a misdemeanor charge of criminal mischief against  Stang, the IndyStar reported.

George Nathaniel "Nathan" Stang (Image source: WXIN-TV video screenshot)

"I'm very sad to have created more hate in a world that already has too much hate," Stang told the paper. "The congregation doesn't deserve it, the emotional turmoil I put them through."

He had the following to say to police, according to court documents, the IndyStar reported: "To be clear, my actions were not motivated by hate for the church or its congregation. I suppose I wanted to give local people a reason to fight for good even if it was a false flag. I, of course, realize now that this was NOT the way to go about inspiring activism."

The Rev. Hutto told police that Stang called her about the graffiti on the church, which is inclusive and recognizes same-sex marriage.

More from the IndyStar:

Detectives suspected the vandal may have been associated with the church, as it would not be immediately clear to a passer-by that the church is supportive of same-sex marriage, the affidavit says. Police did a "tower dump" of cellphones in the area of the church the night the vandalism was committed, and found that Stang's cellphone number was in the area that night.

When questioned, Stang admitted he spray-painted the church, saying he wanted to "mobilize a movement," but did not realize the incident would cause the media attention it did.

Image source: WXIN-TV video screenshot

Here's what Hutto wrote on the church's Facebook page Wednesday:

This morning Nathan Stang was arrested for the vandalism of our church back in November. This comes as a complete surprise to me and to most of us.

Nathan is a member of our St. David's family and naturally there is a certain amount of betrayal with this act.

Over the coming weeks and days we will process our emotions regarding this hurtful act. I ask that we remember what we have stood for over the past few months - Love & Forgiveness.

When news broke of the incident we said that we have/will forgive the perpetrator. And that we would invite him into our midst.

This presents us with a unique opportunity to practice what we preach.

We will walk the fine line of forgiveness and welcoming into our midst while still holding Nathan responsible.

I am praying for y'all and our community as we walk through this together.

Stang reached out to the church for a chance to explain and apologize, the IndyStar reported. He was still listed on the church's website Friday morning as the choir director and organist.

The Brown County Prosecutor's Office told WBIW-TV that Stang will not be charged with a hate crime since it doesn't believe his actions were motivated by hate. Stang could be sentenced to a year in jail and fined as much as $5,000 if convicted, WTHR-TV reported.

(H/T: The American Mirror)

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