Vandal spray-paints swastikas, homophobic messages outside church in Philadelphia

The church's pastor says that while this act of hatred has him rattled, the response from the community has given him hope.

Walter Perez Image
Monday, May 13, 2024
Vandal spray-paints swastikas, homophobic messages outside church in Philadelphia
Vandal spray-paints swastikas, homophobic messages outside church in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Philadelphia police are investigating after a vandal spray-painted swastikas and anti-LGBTQ messages around St. John's Lutheran Church in the Mayfair section last week.

Whoever did it also targeted a flag meant to promote inclusivity, authorities say.

Members and employees of St. John's Lutheran Church arrived Friday morning to find hateful homophobic messages spray-painted on several walkways outside the church.

Pastor Daniel Eisenberg told Action News in an exclusive interview that the vandal didn't stop there.

"It was shared with me that the progress flag that we have hanging, that was not only ripped down but also the same message was spray-painted on it," he said.

Investigators also reported that what appears to be two swastikas were spray-painted on the pavement outside the church.

The pastor says that while this act of hatred has him rattled, the response from the community has given him hope.

"Five or six people showed up with pressure washers and ready to go," he said. "And like, within 12 hours after these messages of hate were put up, they were gone."

On Monday, detectives unveiled surveillance images of the vandal which, unfortunately, are not very clear.

Now, investigators are looking for more surveillance video along the 3100 block of Tyson Avenue from last Thursday night.

In the meantime, Eisenberg says he hopes the person who did this realizes that acting on your hatred is never a good idea.

"I wish that whoever did this could see all of us as siblings of God. See us as people worthy of dignity and respect," he says.

If anyone recognizes the person in the surveillance images, or if anyone has information on this case, they are urged to contact the police.