Metro Weekly

North Carolina church vandalized with swastika, anti-gay messages, and other graffiti

The pastor of Johnsonville Church of God says the congregation is "praying for" and "forgives" the culprit

north carolina, church, graffiti
The graffiti on the Johnsonville Church of God – Photo: WRAL

A church in North Carolina was vandalized earlier this week with graffiti, including a swastika, an anarchy symbol, and anti-gay messages.

Johnsonville Church of God, in Harnett County, was tagged with various messages, including both “Heil, Satan” and a semi-apology attempting to quote the Bible, an upside-down peace symbol, and a reference to Black Lives Matter. The church was not broken into, and only the outside walls were damaged.

Pastor James Derek Howard wrote a Facebook post addressing the person behind the graffiti.

“We are praying for whoever did this to our little church, and we forgive you,” Howard wrote.

Both Howard and Harnett County Sheriff Wayne Coats say they don’t believe there’s a connection with the Black Lives Matter movement.

“It’s kind of really crazy because we know it’s nobody we know,” Howard told WRAL. “Because they would know we are a multicultural church, and so it’s sad.”

“It was disheartening at first when you get that call,” Howard said. “No pastor wants to get that call, that your church has been vandalized.”

Coats said that he is searching for the person responsible, and is currently investigating the crime as a destructive damage and vandalism crime.

It certainly looks like a hate crime,” Coats said. “[But] We don’t have any surveillance.”

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