AUBURN, Ala. (WRBL) – The Auburn Unitarian Universalist Fellowship had their front lawn sign stolen that was replaced just 10 days ago. The sign was originally placed in January 2021 to promote messages like “Black Lives Matter” and “Love is Love”.
Reverend Chris Rothbauer, the Lead Minister at Auburn Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, said they were shocked to learn the sign had been taken once again.
“A lot more shock this time because it took them less than a week to take it this time. It almost felt like they were waiting for us to put it back up so they can take it again,” said Rothbauer.
The sign was discovered to be stolen on Sunday, June 20, 2021. The congregation arrived at the sanctuary for their Sunday service and realized the sign had been taken once again.
Rothbauer said it feels like whoever is responsible for the crime is trying to intimidate the congregation. They said they are angry it continues happening and that it feels violating.
“My message would be that we really need to come together. This is what is driving us apart, the unwillingness to really hear anyone else’s perspective. We need to be willing to hear each others stories. I feel like these kinds of acts of vandalism really prevent that. What they’re doing is they’re trying to invalidate the people for whom the sign is a real reminder of their daily struggles,” said Rothbauer.
The congregation has added a security camera outside of the sanctuary that is motion-sensored in hopes of catching those responsible for the crime. Rotherbauer said the congregation has a banner and a series of yard signs that they intend to continue hanging up if the sign continues to get stolen.
“We don’t intend to be intimidated. That’s the message I want to send is that we can’t be intimidated, we have to be willing to show up for our values,” said Rothbauer.
Rothbauer said if the person is caught they would like to go through a restorative justice process instead of pressing charges. They would like to sit down with them and understand their actions while explaining the congregations beliefs to them.
The congregation has hung a temporary yard sign until a new rededication is held for the new banner.