BEAN BLOSSOM, Ind. -- A Bean Blossom, Indiana, church has fired the organist who confessed earlier this month to defacing the building with anti-gay, anti-Donald Trump and anti-Semitic graffiti – but says it will offer him a "path to reconciliation."
George Nathaniel Stang, 26, admitted to police he had purchased black spray paint at Bloomington Hardware and used it to deface St. David's Episcopal Church last November. Stang then reported the graffiti to police as a possible hate crime.
Stang told police he wanted to "mobilize a movement" because he was disappointed in and fearful of the results of the general election.
Brown County Prosecutor Theodore F. Adams called Stang's deception a "blight on our small and diverse community." His office has filed charges of institutional criminal mischief, a class "A" misdemeanor, against Stang.
This week, St. David's Episcopal Church posted on its website that Stang's employment as choir director and organist had been terminated. But, the church says, the congregation has decided to offer Stang "a path to reconciliation and possible future employment."
"We at St. David’s understand that we were not the only victims of Mr. Stang’s actions," the church said in a written statement. "Supporters of President Trump, those who are Jewish or have ties to the Jewish community, and those in the gay community all were hurt. We hope that in time forgiveness and reconciliation can be reached by all sides."
Find the full statement from St. David's Episcopal Church below:
"In November 2016 St. David’s Episcopal Church in Brown County, Indiana was vandalized with hateful graffiti. Recently, we learned that our choir director and organist, Nathan Stang, confessed to the vandalism. On May 12, 2017, Mr. Stang’s employment was terminated. After discussions with church leadership and congregational members, our church community has offered Mr. Stang a path to reconciliation and possible future re-employment.
Following discovery of the graffiti, we proclaimed a message of love and forgiveness. This message is at the core of what it means to be a follower of Jesus, and we did not want that message to be empty talk. The past six months have been transformative for the members of St. David’s and, we hope, for the community as well.
We at St. David’s understand that we were not the only victims of Mr. Stang’s actions. Supporters of President Trump, those who are Jewish or have ties to the Jewish community, and those in the gay community all were hurt. We hope that in time forgiveness and reconciliation can be reached by all sides. We will continue to offer the love of God to all people regardless of where you come from, what you believe, what color you are or who you love.
Despite the gift of forgiveness, we also understand that there is a need for reconciliation and restitution in this situation, both with St. David’s and with the larger community. Reconciliation refers to the restoration of a fractured relationship by overcoming grief, pain and anger. As Christians we are called to live in community with one another; to air our sins and ask for forgiveness.
We hope and pray that Mr. Stang will accept our offer and embark on this journey with us, which will include counseling, meetings, community service, and a variety of opportunities for Mr. Stang to reconcile with our church community.
Whatever the future holds for St. David’s and Mr. Stang, our goal is to continue to spread the Gospel message of unconditional love. Jesus Christ came to save us all, and all are deserving of love!"