PORT ARTHUR, Texas – Vandalism discovered in a church that only about a year ago was remodeled following damage by Hurricane Rita included slashed pews, a racial slur, satanic markings and flooding.
"It's hard to believe that humanity could do something like that," Sonny Carlin, who has been conducting services at Stonegate Missionary Baptist Church while it is between pastors, told the Beaumont Enterprise for its Wednesday editions.
Matthew Butler discovered the damage when he was mowing the grass Tuesday morning.
"It was just devastating," Butler told the Port Arthur News for its Wednesday editions.
Port Arthur police said they are investigating the vandalism.
Church employee Linda Noble said that no pew cushion was left untouched and ketchup was smeared everywhere. Also, a large Bible was shredded, doors were broken and an American flag was flung onto the floor. Vandals also expended fire extinguishers, dousing a piano and other musical instruments.
The kitchen sanctuary and other parts of the building were flooded when sinks were blocked and the facets turned on.
Noble said that the number "666" — which is symbolic for the devil — was written in ketchup on the floor. The kitchen counters contained statements like "The devil rules all and is coming for you" and "All that worship God will die."
There was also a racial epithet written directed at blacks.
Carlin said the small congregation of about 40 is mostly white. He doubted the vandalism was racially motivated.