Police may investigate church vandalism as hate crime

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Police may investigate an act of vandalism at a Glendale church as a hate crime.

St. Rapheal Catholic Church was marred with spray-painted upside-down crosses, pentagrams, and hateful messages such as "God is evil," and "Christianity, Catholicism, Judaism all lies." Profanity and satanic symbols were painted on the walls of the courtyard as well.

"It's obviously very disappointing to our people, because they take great pride in their parish," said Fr. Edward Kaminski.

Police estimate the physical damage to be about a thousand dollars, but the emotional damage from the crudely scrawled messages is immeasurable.

"It's awful. No one should write that, let alone write that on the Church," said Shirley Yakis, a 30 year member of the parish who was on the verge of tears at the sight of the hateful messages.

This small parish has been the target of vandalism before.

"Every year we see a few acts of vandalism, but we've seen an increase over the last year," said Fr. Kaminski.

Glendale Police Spokeswoman Tracey Breeden told 3TV, "there was a report this year for criminal trespass."

Fr. Kaminski also said someone earlier this year dislodged a cement bench and, "threw it into a stained glass window."

So far police have no suspects in this most recent act of vandalism, but may investigate it as a hate crime.

"It talks in terms of Christianity, Catholicism, Judaism all being lies, but the ultimate lie is hate. This is just hateful," said Fr. Kaminski.

Still, he hopes his parishioners see this messages, and turn to the message of the Gospel.

"It just so happened that the Gospel this morning was about if you have a disagreement with your brother, go be reconciled with your brother. Ultimately what we need to do is work toward forgiveness," Fr. Kaminski added.