Lawrence church vandalized over ‘Value Them Both’ Amendment messaging

Published: Aug. 1, 2022 at 12:38 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 1, 2022 at 1:27 PM CDT
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LAWRENCE, Kan. (KCTV) - A sign outside Victory Bible Church in Lawrence read “Vote Yes. It’s a matter of life or death.” On Monday morning, it sat vandalized after the property was spraypainted.

Graffiti on the side of the building read “Protect Choice,” “Vote No,” and “No Forced Birth.”

The sign outside the church in the 1900 block of Massachusetts Street was spray-painted over, as well. A display of pink and blue crosses bearing names near the sign was also toppled over, some lying snapped in the grass.

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The church said it had filed a report with the Lawrence Police Department.

Surveillance video from the church shows two hooded figures approaching the church’s marquee, which had read: “VOTE, IT’S A MATTER OF LIFE OR DEATH.”

The video shows the two vandals spraying both sides of the sign. At one point, they crouch down to hide when a car drives by. Then, they are seen pulling up the signs and running offscreen.

Leo Barbee, the pastor of the church, said his congregation had felt strongly that they should encourage people to vote for Kansas’ Amendment 2.

“We aren’t trying to be politically correct,” he said. “I want to be biblically correct.”

Many members of the church had noticed the sign as they drove down Massachusetts Street Monday morning. John Lingenfelser, a member of the church who often changes the text on the marquee, called it frustrating.

“It’s uncalled for,” he said. “This isn’t how you settle this. You don’t go to someone’s house and rip up signs.”

Barbee said the vandalism may cost up to $2,000 to clean up. He filed a police report, but said that his congregation wanted to respond with an invitation, instead of anger.

“We’re not upset. We’re not angry,” Barbee said. “In fact, we’ve already been praying for the folks who did it and hoping they come to Christ as their Lord and Savior. It’s hate speech but we’re not hateful. Ours is a spiritual warfare anyway.”

ALSO READ: Thefts drive E. Wichita homeowners to put electric fence around ‘Vote Yes’ sign