Gay Church Organist Busted in Trump Hate Crime Hoax
A few days after the election of Donald Trump, a church community in Indiana was shocked to find that someone had spray-painted ugly and un-Christian things on their church.
St. David’s Episcopal Church in Bean Blossom, Ind., was vandalized with Nazi slogans, anti-gay slurs, and Donald Trump graffiti on November 12, 2016 -- but it wasn't from a hateful Trump supporter.
After a six-month investigation, the Brown County prosecuting attorney’s office determined that it was the congregation’s own organist—a Hillary Clinton supporter and gay activist—who did the deed. The culprit, 26-year-old George Nathaniel Stang of Bloomington, is also the person who first reported the vandalism to police last November.
It was immediately thought to be a hate crime because the small Episcopal Church is a progressive congregation that welcomes gays. The graffiti spray painted on the church walls read “Heil Trump” and “Fag Church.”
But during their inquiries police quickly came to feel that the vandalism was done by someone familiar with the church and began looking at the crime as an inside job. After an investigation, police arrested Stang.
The church organist allegedly admitted to the crime telling police he did it because he wanted to “mobilize a movement after being disappointed in and fearful of the outcome of the national election.”
In a three-page confession entered into court documents, Stand reportedly said he was trying to spark his congregation into activism.
“I suppose I wanted to give local people a reason to fight for good, even if it was a false flag,” he wrote according to court records. “To be clear my actions were not motivated by hate for the church or its congregation. I, of course, realize now, this was NOT the way to go about inspiring activism.”
The Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis released a statement about the revelations calling Stang’s actions “profoundly misguided.”
Stang is facing up to a year in jail if convicted, and a fine of up to $5,000.
WTHR Channel 13 got some shocked reactions from Bean Blossom residents.
"Oh my, the organist, the organist. Wow. Wow." said Mary Ayers.
Ron Smith, another resident, shook his head.
"Is there any rhyme or reason or sanity in any of this action?" a reporter asked.
"I don't think," Smith answered.
This fake hate crime is just the latest in a long list of fake hate crimes that have occurred since the election of Donald Trump. Hundreds of hate crimes were "reported" and recorded by the Southern Poverty Law Center in the wake of the 2016 election, but most were either unverified or proven to be hoaxes.
The Rev. Kelsey Hutto, Priest-in-Charge at St. David's Episcopal Church, was quick to point fingers last November, saying that "the atmosphere in the country" had changed since the election of Donald Trump.