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.”
These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and MetroWeekly.com remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!