Sunshine Cathedral in Fort Lauderdale was attacked during Sunday services on September 24. The Sunshine Cathedral is where the Happening Out Television Studios are located. During the 9 am service a presumed anti-LGBTQ+ person placed a sign into the ground in front of the church along with a bag of feces and then set them on fire. The message was not seen before it burned. Fort Lauderdale police and fire responded to the attack. This morning the church was attacked a second time when the front of the Cathedral had approximately 24 eggs thrown at the cathedral. Police were called and responded. Sunshine Cathedral has received several threats over LGBTQ+ issues and has been vandalized with hate-filled signs on the buildings in the last year.
Sunshine has a weekly international streaming television broadcast, the only one of its kind in the world and the church visibility may have contributed to these types of attacks. Sunshine houses an active youth services and senior day care program, expansive food sharing program and many community recovery meetings. The campus is home to one of the world’s largest LGBTQ+ music groups, The Gay Men’s Chorus of South Florida and its artistic director, Gabe Salazar is part of Sunshine’s music ministry. Police now have a suspect in the attacks on Sunshine Cathedral from security video. There has been a disturbing rise in threats against the LGBTQ+ community in 2023 and many, especially in Florida and Texas suggest that the growing conservative GOP and evangelicals have spurred these types of actions.
Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins, Senior Minister of Sunshine Cathedral, said of the vandalizer, “We have no idea what sort of pain he is in or what has motivated him to act in such unpleasant ways. We can only assume he is experiencing some sort of mental dysfunction and we hope he gets the care he needs. While he may not recognize our sacred value, we do affirm the divine spark in him; even so, he can’t be allowed to harass or threaten our worshiping community. With so much hatred in the world, our message of love is needed as much as ever, and we have every intention of sharing that message with as many people as possible.“ Queer News Tonight will continue to follow this breaking news.