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St. Paul Park pastor forgives attackers after mugging

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A St. Paul Park minister is preaching a message of peace instead of hate after a recent mugging a half-block from his home, FOX 9 reports.

Pastor Oby Ballinger was mugged the morning after Christmas by two men in the Hamline-Midway neighborhood and is still healing from the attack.

"They attacked me, punched me and drove me to the ground," Ballinger told his congregation during his Sunday sermon at Community United Church of Christ in St. Paul Park.

Despite the beating, Ballinger told FOX 9 that longing for revenge after the incident "is like drinking a poison and waiting for someone else to die."

The pastor said he will not live in fear and plans on taking more walks in his neighborhood.

"A knee-jerk response to violence is to lock doors and close in out of fear," Ballinger told the Pioneer Press. "What I'd like to do is help folks claim the power to do something else, to respond with hope and concern for one another rather than isolating out of fear."

Ballinger, who has a husband, told FOX 9 that he does not believe the incident was a hate crime.

Police are still investigating the crime and have not made any arrests.

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