‘Not Going to Stop Us’: Church Undeterred After Vandals Deface Site With Vulgar Messages on Easter
The pastor of a church in rural Virginia said his congregation is undeterred after vandals destroyed their building on Easter Sunday, smashing in windows and spray-painting the walls with sacrilegious words.
While Pastor Clarence Blevins said the attack on Konnarack Baptist Church left members devastated, he made clear it wouldn’t stop them from sharing the Gospel with their community in Washington County.
“It’s not going to stop us,” Blevins, a longtime member of the church, told WCYB-TV of the vandalism. “We’re going to keep lifting [Jesus] up and serving Him the best we can.”
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The preacher, bewildered by the out-of-the-blue vandalism, wondered “how anybody could be so cold” as to attack the congregation’s building, particularly on Easter Sunday.
“The little place here on the side of the road that’s here to give people a place to come and worship the Lord and hear the Gospel preached in truth and spirit — and then somebody have that much hate of the truth — is just beyond my comprehension,” Blevins told the local news outlet.
The vandals spray-painted several disturbing messages on the walls of the church building, including: “I’m not sorry,” “Believe in Satan,” “666,” as well as phallic images and the pentagram.
Detective William Smarr, who is leading the criminal investigation into the incident, told WCYB-TV the vandals could be staring down felony charges for their actions, which he believes took place after Konnarock Baptist had concluded its two Easter services.
Smarr also noted he is not ruling out hate crime charges.
“I would need to figure out who it is, figure out what their motivations were, consult with commonwealth’s attorney first but, at such an early stage in the investigation, I’m not willing to take anything off of the table necessarily,” the detective explained.
News of the Easter Sunday incident at Konnarock Baptist comes as vandalism against churches is on the rise, according to data compiled by the Family Research Council.
The “Hostility Against Churches” report found that, in 2023 alone, there have been 69 acts of vandalism committed against churches around the country, marking a significant escalation in the number of incidents in a single year. There were 43 documented incidents in January, 14 in February, and 12 in March.
For context, the FRC recorded just 15 attacks on churches in the first three months of 2018, 12 during the same time period in 2019, 14 in the first quarter of 2021, and 22 in the first four months of 2022. There were no documented attacks on churches in the first three months of 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic began.
“Our research indicates that number is more than the entirety of 2018, in which we identified only 50 incidents, or 2020, in which we identified 54. This steep increase is a cause for concern,” wrote Arielle Del Turco, who conducted the FRC analysis.