In an incident that North Carolina authorities are calling a serious hate crime, a number of churches in three local counties have been vandalized. On Sunday night, alone, eight churches were targeted. The criminals responsible for the acts spray-painted messages of hate on the outside of the houses of worship and even broke into one of the churches.
While most of the damage was inflicted on the buildings’ exterior, Cedar Hill AME Zion Church in Ansonville, North Carolina, withstood major damage after vandals broke into the house of worship.
Tables were overturned, a fire extinguisher was sprayed in the sanctuary and chairs were thrown through stained glass. But the horror doesn’t end there. A cross was taken down and partially burned and someone apparently defecated on the church’s altar.
If that weren’t disturbing enough, cleanup crews realized that a child’s tombstone had been dug up from the church’s historic slave cemetery and had subsequently been thrown through a window.
On the outside of Cedar Hills, messages like, “God is the devil” and “Go back to Africa” could be seen. In other places, swastikas, racial slurs and male genitalia were present.
“I’ve only seen this kind of hatred in the movies. Whoever did this has a lot of pain (and) is in a lot of anger,” said Rev. Renee Bethea. “It’s unfathomable that someone has that kind of rage in them to go into a church and do this kind of thing.”
On Tuesday, another church, Organ Lutheran Church was spray-painted with graffiti as well. According to WCNC, “It’s the second time the historical church has been hit by vandals in the last three days.” On Wednesday morning, the numbers 666, “Satan” and a pentagram were all found painted on the outside of the church.
These are only two examples, as other houses of worship battle the same instances of hatred. Authorities are continuing their search into who was behind these horrific acts, but there are currently no suspects.