Transgender pride flag burned at United Parish

Allen Yu

NESPA Winner: Localizing, 2023

The Cypress, Brookline High School, Brookline, MA

A transgender pride flag was set ablaze on the front lawn of the United Parish in Brookline at 210 Harvard St. Police are currently investigating the flag burning as a hate crime and suspect that the incident at the church occurred between 10 p.m. on Aug. 25 and 9 a.m. on Aug. 26.

Senior Pastor Kent French, the church’s fourth openly queer pastor, said he wants to welcome people of all different backgrounds. According to French, when an act of vandalism like this happens, it can be frustrating, especially when considering one’s values and beliefs.

“What I believe Jesus and the Christian faith calls us to do is to express compassion and love,” French said. “It doesn’t mean we have to accept everyone’s behavior, but it does mean we have to love the person. That’s the challenge when something like this happens.”

French said he is grateful for the town of Brookline, Brookline Police and local media outlets for their earnest and compassionate responses. However, he said he is worried about the church becoming a subject for future onslaughts.

“This is creating a lot of a temporary buzz about us, and we could become more of a target,” French said. “This allows other people who’ve got an ax to grind on unresolved issues to look at us and think we can be a target. So now I’m a little concerned about how I protect [the church] from any of that happening.”


Read the full story here.