Chalk Bible Verses in Downtown Bangor Spark Debate, Trespass Order
A group writing Bible verses in chalk in downtown Bangor over the weekend prompted an apology from local business owners and a no-trespass order for one man who was washing away the writing.
The Bible passages, written in multi-colored chalk by the fundamentalist Christian group Sidewalk Scriptures, include those such as "Repent Lest Ye Perish," and are often seen as "dog whistles" condemning the LGBTQ+ community.
Downtown Bangor, a downtown businesses collaborative, on Monday issued an apology to anyone offended by the "hate language." They wanted to make sure their own message of inclusion for all is clear, and that anyone and everyone is welcome.
Please know that you are loved, you are welcome and we will do whatever we can to ensure you do not have to witness this kind of hatred.
While this is not the first time Sidewalk Scriptures has clashed with community members, this most recent confrontation resulted in a no-trespass order for one man who was scrubbing away the messages.
Scott Hall posted a video (below) in which he explained he was working to clean up the messages in the presence of the members of Sidewalk Scriptures. Hall then followed the group when it moved to Pickering Square, he said. A verbal confrontation allegedly ensued and that's when he was issued the no-trespass order by police.
On Monday afternoon, the Bangor Police Department issued a news release providing details on the incident.
Sgt. Wade Betters said officers were called to the area of Pickering Square shortly after 8 p.m. Friday to a report of two men who were said to be screaming at each other.
Two Bangor officers responded and found the cause of the dispute to be between a man who was writing the Bible verses and another who was washing them away, as fast as they were being written. One of the men walked away, but the other one followed. The officers told the men that both actions were, in fact, a protected exercise that didn't warrant police interference.
Police say one man was cooperative, but the other was not. The uncooperative man allegedly continued to escalate the situation and so was told to leave. When he refused, that's when the trespass order was issued.
Betters said the officers acted only on the action of harassment. The police did not make a determination with regard to the written message and have not charged anyone in connection to this matter.
Former Bangor Mayor Sean Faircloth posted a concern on Facebook that Hall was issued a citation for his efforts and banned from Pickering Square for a year. Faircloth said he cleaned up a message in the area directed at Hall that read "Why hate God, Scott?"
For its part, Sidewalk Scriptures took to Facebook to thank Bangor police. In a thread on the group's Facebook page, it says its messages are "not sin friendly" and don't specifically target the LGBTQ community.