Police in Pittsburgh is investigating vandalism at a street in Sciota Street Church as two vandals are caught in the camera footage. The Sheperd Wellness Center Church has been defaced as the two suspects seen in the CCTV footage.
According to the surveillance video on CBS News, the incident happened evening or dawn on March 1. The police officials suspect they are male or female, and the familiarity and images of the vandals are still unclear. Officers urge the community to report if the vandals' identity has been revealed.
Several Cases of Vandalisms Happened in Early 2023
Hate and persecution of Christians are authorities' suspected motives for vandalism within or on the exterior of religious premises. Several issues were reported in the past few months of 2023.
The article in Times of Israel reports on an incident in which an American tourist who had traveled to Jerusalem on a pilgrimage was arrested for vandalizing a statue in the Church of the Flagellation in the Old City. The Israel Police were alerted to the damage, which had been done to a prominent Christian figure known as the Scourged Savior.
Witnesses to the incident captured video footage of the altercation and shared it on social media. The video shows a security guard tackling the suspect and holding him down until the police arrive. The damaged statue lay on the ground as the man, reportedly in his 40s, was taken into custody for questioning.
Another case happened in Atlanta, where a church was defaced with vulgar words. The suspect, James McIntyre, was caught on surveillance footage spray-painting messages and images, including "devil worship 666," "apostate," "Satan," "sin," and at least one homophobic tagging.
According to 11 Alive, The police arrested McIntyre, who had been removed from the property for trespassing the prior Sunday. The investigation also revealed that McIntyre had spray-painted offensive language, including racial slurs and a swastika, on the church's main door and surrounding property.
The former pastor of the church called for those responsible to be prosecuted under hate crime-related laws, emphasizing that any words that target an individual's race, gender, or faith are offensive. McIntyre has been charged with vandalism to a place of worship and taken to Fulton County Jail. The incident has left church community members, and residents appalled and saddened, as a place of worship is intended to be a safe and welcoming space for all.
Also Read: Atlanta Church Defaced with Vulgar Graffiti, 60-Year-Old Suspect in Custody
Vandalism Linked To Attacks on Differing Beliefs
Recently, As reported here in Christianity Daily, a Catholic church in Louisville's Butchertown has been vandalized with graffiti that reads "TRANS PWR." The vandalism is believed to be linked to the ongoing debate over laws banning gender-affirming care for minors.
A revised version of House Bill 470, which attempts to restrict medical treatments connected to gender transition for minors rather than punishing changing social practices like adopting new pronouns, has been approved by the Kentucky House of Representatives. Healthcare professionals who assist youngsters in gender transitioning under this policy run the possibility of having their licenses revoked. Nevertheless, they won't be held accountable in court for failing to disclose or offer those services.
Related Article: Louisville Church, Other Areas Vandalized With 'TRANS PWR' Graffiti Following Gender-Affirming Ban Bill Approval