Gay, Black pastor’s Easter service hijacked by violent racist, homophobic and antisemitic hate

Emma Powys Maurice
·2-min read

A virtual Easter service led by the gay, Black pastor of Grace Baptist Church was stormed by hackers spewing racist, homophobic and antisemitic slurs.

Worshippers at the LGBT-inclusive church in San Jose were left horrified by the five-minute tirade, which was laced with violent hate speech including antisemitic threats, the N-word and homophobic and transphobic slurs.

Reverend George Oliver joined the church as senior pastor on 1 March and believes the barrage of profanities was directed at him.

“These were people who had harboured ill will towards African Americans, Jews, Latinx people and others in our community – and the LGBTQ community especially,” he told ABC7.

“They had a purpose. This church hires a gay, Black pastor… They come and spew profanity about Black people and LGBTQ persons. And on the last day of Passover, talk about gassing Jews? So, I don’t think this is some kind of coincidence.”

He said the hackers were “hurting people that were already hurt to start with,” recalling a fatal stabbing spree at the inclusive church in November last year.

The shocking attack left two people dead, including 55-year-old trans woman Kimberly Fial.

Commenting on Facebook, Oliver said it wasn’t lost on him that hackers chose to target what is “probably about the most progressive Baptist church in San Jose”.

“So to subject my members to this, several of them African-American, many of them senior citizens worshipping safely from home, during our first outdoor service, is outrageous and egregious,” he added. “The tape speaks for itself.”

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The pastor acknowledged that his church’s inclusive stance makes it prone to criticism, but said: “This was not an ordinary day for us. We’re not an ordinary church, and this wasn’t an ordinary attack.

“To have someone come in and say the N-word more than 40 times in five minutes is something that’s just… It’s beyond belief. And in some ways, I don’t believe it.”

He’s now calling out for anyone who recognises the voice of the culprit to come forward.

In addition, Grace Baptist Church is now fundraising for physical, on-site security. Click here to donate to the GoFundMe campaign.