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Video shows Pride banners ripped down at historic Manhattan church

Video shows Pride banners being torn down from exterior of historic Manhattan church
Video shows Pride banners being torn down from exterior of historic Manhattan church 01:47

NEW YORK -- A historic church in Midtown Manhattan says someone ripped down its Pride banners.

A "Happy Pride" banner was in place on the exterior of Marble Collegiate Church when the weekend started, but an empty frame was all that remained on Sunday night.

A surveillance camera captured someone apparently pulling the banners off in broad daylight. The church decided against filing a police report.  

Church leaders say vandalism has happened before 

"Marble is obviously deeply sad that a person would choose to tear those banners down out of what I can only assume is ignorance and hate," said Matthew Morse, board chair of Marble Collegiate Church.

Morse said the congregation prides itself on its inclusive atmosphere.

"I look at this as an opportunity to do, is to tell the good people of New York City that Marble's doors remain open for everyone, regardless of their race, their creed, their ethnicity or their sexual orientation," Morse said.

Church leaders say Marble is one of the oldest congregations in the five boroughs, with continuous worship dating back to the 1600s. The building was dedicated in 1854. Leaders also say, unfortunately, this is not the first time something like this has happened in recent years.

Parishioners, visitors disgusted by what happened

"I remember walking by a few days ago when we first got here and I said to you, 'Wow, they have Pride flags outside a church,'" said Jo, visiting from San Diego. "As a mom of an LGBTQ kid, I find it disgusting. Anything done in hate is just disgusting."

"Disturbing" is how Kafiah Johnson from Queens described it.

"It's beautiful. I'm appalled," Johnson said.

Especially since it happened before the New York City Pride March, which is set to kick off just a few blocks away next Sunday.

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