Racist Graffiti Spray Painted Outside Church

| August 16, 2010

INDIANAPOLIS — Members of a southwest side church were shocked Sunday to find racist messages spray-painted on a van near their building.

A swastika and "KKK" were scrawled across a van outside the Celestial Church of Christ at 3871 W. Farnsworth St., 6News' Joanna Massee reported.

Church leader Joseph Awobiyi said the church member who owns the van is out of town.

Awobiyi, who is from Nigeria, said he and others of the 45-member congregation felt threatened by the message.

"To my understanding, KKK doesn't imply good meaning in relation to Christianity, which we represent. We represent Christ and this church," he said.

Some in the surrounding Mars Hill neighborhood said they were also upset by the graffiti.

"These people do not bother nobody. This is uncalled for. They come out here to worship God," Robin Slaten said. "We're not living back in the old days. These people got just as much right here as we do, and they should be left alone."

"You are in Mars Hill," said Lynn Rust. "You got a lot of young kids trying to be growner than what they are. They have no sense."

Awobiyi said his church has had minor problems with crime in the past, but nothing like the hateful graffiti.

"Being a church of God, we don't welcome such,” he said. “We kind of got baffled about it.”

Police are investigating the incident as a hate crime and said it is an isolated occurrence.

 

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