INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — Leaders at a church in Independence are frustrated after someone stole and damaged part of a display on the church’s property, designed to discourage abortion.
There are 610 pink and blue crosses planted in the front lawn of New Hope Baptist on Lexington Road. Each cross represents 100,000 abortions in the United States since the passage of Roe v. Wade in 1973.
“Just like we would memorialize victims of other tragedies and wars and shootings and people that have lost their lives, those little children need to be memorialized,” Tim Beadles said, the youth pastor at the church.
Beadles said the display has been up for weeks. On Tuesday, which marked the 46th anniversary of the landmark decision, he said someone cut down the sign for the display and damaged some of the crosses.
“It cost over $1,000 to put all of this out there and countless man hours,” Beadles said. “This causes some people to get very emotional about it, but we want to bring attention to it.”
Beadles said church security cameras didn’t catch the culprit in the act.
“We drove around the many blocks, surrounding the area looking for it. Maybe they cut it off and just dumped it somewhere but no,” Beadles explained.
Kaitlyn Rowlett lives down the street from the church. She’s pro-choice and doesn’t agree with the display, but she also doesn’t condone stealing and vandalizing church property.
“It’s just disrespectful. It’s not okay,” Rowlett said. “You’re allowed to feel how you feel but to go and force those opinions on others and destroy property just because you don’t agree with it, that’s not okay.”
Beadles said he doesn’t hate the person who stole the sign, but they would like it back.
“We want to put the sign back up and if it doesn’t get returned, we’re going to put another up,” Beadles said.
Church leaders filed a report with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office. They plan to keep the pro-life display up for the next couple of weeks.
The church replaced the stolen sign on Sunday.