Lawrence church that has been outspoken supporter of amendment to remove constitutional right to abortion hit by vandals

photo by: Chad Lawhorn/Journal-World

Pastor Leo Barbee, Jr. leaves Lawrence Victory Bible Church on Monday, Aug. 1, 2022. The church was the site of vandalism on Sunday evening, with vandals spray painting "Vote No" messages related to the upcoming election on the state constitutional amendment that is seeking to remove a constitutional right to an abortion in the state.

A Lawrence church who has been an outspoken supporter of the state constitutional amendment on abortion rights, was vandalized with “Vote No” messages Sunday night.

Lawrence’s Victory Bible Church, 1942 Massachusetts Street, had two sides of its brick sanctuary building spray painted with large Vote No messages just ahead of the constitutional amendment vote. A No vote in the Aug. 2 election is a vote against the amendment that would remove any constitutional right to an abortion that currently exists in the state.

In addition to the brickwork, the church also had its billboard sign facing Massachusetts Street covered with spray paint — the church was using the billboard to encourage people to vote yes on the amendment — and several wooden crosses in the church’s yard were knocked over.

Pastor Leo Barbee, Jr. said the church reported the vandalism to the Lawrence Police Department, and turned over video from the property’s cameras. Barbee said the church was the site of a smaller incident of vandalism related to the abortion issue about two weeks ago.

Barbee said the vandalism is a “sad commentary” on the state of freedom of speech, however, he said the church will keep the matter in perspective.

“We are not mad,” Barbee said. “We probably will hold a prayer vigil for the folks who did this.”

At least one other church in Lawrence also had its building vandalized. Calvary Temple Assembly of God had “Vote No” language painted on multiple exterior walls of its church building, which is along Louisiana Street, just north of 31st Street.

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