Dr. Christopher Rodkey, reverend at St. Paul’s United Church of Christ in Dallastown, Pennsylvania, recently encountered the pointed Islamophobia and bigotry of one particular Trump delegate, Washington Post reports.
Rodkey received the following message on his cellphone’s voicemail in reaction to a sign that he had posted outside St. Paul’s which wished the local Muslim community a “Blessed Ramadan.”
The anonymous voice message was easily traced when Rodkey Googled the number of the caller.
The voicemail turned out to be from Matthew Jansen, a member of a local school board and an elected delegate to the Republican National Convention who supports Trump.
In the message Jansen said,
“I am completely shocked by that sign out in front of your church… that you are wishing people who subscribe to a faith that is not only godless, but pagan, in front of your church aligning it with the name of Christ. It is unbelievable that you would wish them a blessed Ramadan. Are you sick? Is there something wrong with you? I’m posting the picture that you displayed out there on Twitter and Facebook so everybody can see what you’ve done. This is despicable. Unbelievable.”
Jansen, a Spring Grove School board member, tweeted a picture of the church sign along with its phone number and tagged Ann Coulter.
The church received so many negative phone calls as result of the tweet, they had to disconnect the phone.
The reverend responded by writing an editorial titled “Spring Grove board member ranted against Muslims” in the York Daily Record. “Five days later, we are still getting calls,” Rodkey said.
“Yes, Mr. Jansen had encouraged people to harass a local congregation for speaking words of tolerance.”
He continued to describe how with the influence of Trump’s hateful campaign rhetoric, it is now considered acceptable to encourage the “harassment of a local church from a public political figure.”
Rodkey shared Facebook updates about the harassment he and the church received. As result of the publicity from the Washington Post—one of the several news outlets that Trump has blocked from attending his pressers—St. Paul’s Facebook page is now flowing with messages of support from strangers across the country.
Photo credit: Facebook, St. Paul's United Church of Christ, Dallastown