A Pennsylvania church was vandalized by unknown assailants who desecrated the property with graffiti depicting satanic symbols and the words "kill God."
The Lititz Church of the Brethren in Lancaster County was vandalized sometime between Thursday evening and Friday morning, police said, according to The Morning Call.
The chalk graffiti displayed the phrases “kill God” and “hail Satan,” as well as the satanic symbol of a star inside a circle. The vandalism also featured the number 666, the biblical number for the Antichrist.
Eric Landram, the lead pastor of Lititz Church of the Brethren, told The Christian Post on Monday that the “chalk which was used left no permanent damage and clean up was minimal.”
Landram explained that such vandalism has not occurred on his church’s property in the past, so they are “are treating it as a one-time prank and are not concerned by the antics.” He added that apart from “what has already been reported, we have no additional comments to make at this time.”
News of the church vandalism grabbed the attention of the editorial board for Lancaster Online, which denounced the actions as “egregiously wrong” and “especially disturbing.”
“There is something especially disturbing about vandalism directed at a place of worship or a religious symbol. It seems designed to rattle people of faith who regard their sacred spaces as sanctuaries to which they go in times of both grief and joy,” wrote the editors.
“There was no lasting damage to the church. But memories of the desecration likely will linger. Even if it turns out to be the work of clueless young people. Or the product of a disturbed mind.”
The editorial board also cited a report by Axios published in October, which concluded that houses of worship of various faiths were “experiencing high amounts of vandalism, arson and other property damage.”
“2021 is on track to exceed last year's spike in hate crimes in the U.S., many of them linked to religious bigotry,” Axios reported.
“The number of hate crimes reported in FY 2020 was the highest since 2001, when a wave of Islamophobia followed the 9/11 attacks, according to updated FBI data.”