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Vandalism is Not OK

Published June 15th, 2011 by Bobby Henderson

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Last night, vandals spray-painted “Praise the FSM” and pirate-fish on two Christian churches in Bend, Oregon.

This is not ok.  This is counter to everything we stand for and acts like these only set back our cause.  I don’t know who did this, but I will try to find out.

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From KTVZ in Bend:

"Praise the FSM": These are the words written, spray-painted and tagged across not one, but two churches on opposite sides of Bend Sunday night.

When Pastor John Bluebaugh of Christian Life Center got the news Monday morning, his first thought was, "Not again."

"Really, what went through my mind was, about six months we were tagged as well," said Bluebaugh. "It was the same kind of deal — different symbols, different sayings, but the exact same places."

There are markings left six months ago from vandals who drew Harry Potter-type slogans across the church.

Now, they’ve got a whole different mess to deal with. The graffiti apparently refers to The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, an online group of people who claim they do not believe in religion but rather in what they call Pastafarianism.

Let’s set an example and clean this up.

Hemant Mehta of Friendly Atheist has started a cleanup fund.  Please chip in if you can.

From Hemant:

I don’t know how much the cleanup will cost, but if more money is raised than they need, I’ll give the rest to Foundation Beyond Belief (an organization that encourages atheists to give to secular charities).

Just a note: I know there is a feeling by some that it’s not our place to raise money for Christian churches. But let’s be clear, this is only about making a bad situation right. It’s in our interest to send a message that we don’t approve of vandalism. Ideally it will be our response that people remember, not the vandalism by a few who don’t get what we’re about. So, let me just say thank you to everyone who has chipped in, and especially to Hemant for organizing the fund.



59 Responses to “Vandalism is Not OK”

  1. Brian Fritzen says:

    What if we look at this another way. (I know it is graffiti and isn’t right.) Christians have defaced my money with their god. They have placed their god in my pledge of allegience, thus defacing its original intent as written by the Reverend Francis Bellamy. Their religion defaces much of the public life in the United States. But it doesn’t stop there. They place their god all over the globe, whether it is wanted or not. I am not claiming this is the intent of the graffiti artists. But I do know that there wouldn’t be a need for such things if these people kept their religions to themselves.

    • Puddin says:

      Isn’t that the purpose of religion? To spread like a disease? A cancer?

      • lolhoofd says:

        or worse , our minds

    • Jyveturkie says:

      Encroachment of religion on the institutions of secular society is not to be welcomed, I agree. However, people of faith are rightly afforded the freedom to congregate and worship whatever/whomever they choose. A church itself is not encroachment, and any vandalism to a place of worship is counter to Pastafarian values as I see them. Our own freedom of and from religion is not supported by violating others’ freedoms.

    • wulff says:

      Brian, I know you said right at the beginning of your post that the graffiti was wrong. However, the rest of your post reads (to me at least) like an attempt to blame the victims. “But I do know that there wouldn’t be a need for such things if these people kept their religions to themselves.” If this had been done to either the Democratic or Republican party headquarters by someone claiming to be from a third party, would you say they should have left their politics to themselves?

      Too often people respond to events like this by saying “That’s too bad, but it’s their own fault because…”. And as long as people respond that way, things aren’t going to change. All of us, whatever our personal beliefs, need to start saying “That’s too bad, how can I help?” immediately. Every time.

      Big props to Hemant Mehta for stepping up and starting this clean-up fund. I will be making my donation as soon as I can.

      • wulff says:

        And to the vandals responsible, when the FSM gets his appendages on you, you’ll be sorry.

      • Brian Fritzen says:

        (FYI I donated to the fund to clean it up because I think it is wrong)

        That statement goes with the rest of the post. So, taken out of context makes it have a different meaning. I know that isn’t what you meant to do though. My thinking was more along the lines of the Yin/Yang: Imagine no religion. If there were no religion there would have been no vandals. If there is no religion, there is no need for Bobby to write his letter and no need for Pastafarianism. Isn’t the whole point of this that some day we won’t HAVE TO exist (as a group) anymore? That some day we won’t NEED to hold up a mirror to these religions? Some day, these religions will fall into obscurity and (their rightful place) mythology: to be studied in order to understand how people thought. Aren’t we trying to hasten that day?
        I am.

        I am having a difficult time rationalizing this with the “blame the victim” argument. I don’t think I did that at all because I don’t see that religion as a victim. (This church is a symbol of that religion) They have declared a holy war on personal freedom since before the USA was born. A (should have been fatal) blow was struck when this nation GUARANTEED Freedom of Religion. In turn, these people revised history and used their bible to commit some of the greatest atrocities the world has ever known: slavery and genocide. Right here in the USA. And they continue to influence foreign policy under these same auspices, that their belief is the only and correct belief. The people of this church have tithed to their church leaders who have in turn used that money to influence politics. How many are dead because of these people? Just think of what their money has supported (preventing stem cell research, stymiing Planned Parenthood because 3% of what they do are abortions, preventing the teaching of evolution, mathematics, and rational thought).

        They are not victims. I cannot feel sympathy for them.

        I do agree that a different approach is probably what works best. Ghandi did take on the British Empire through peaceful means. But, do you think these people will be peaceful? What will happen to the perpetrators if they are caught? Do you think this church will act like we have done? Charity? We are giving them money to right this wrong. Don’t for one minute mistake that they won’t use the law to punish those that vandalized their church rather than show compassion.

        As for dealing with these people (this religion and its churches):
        “Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them; and no man ever had a distinct idea of the trinity. It is the mere Abracadabra of the mountebanks calling themselves the priests of Jesus.”
        — Thomas Jefferson

        • tekhedd says:

          “They are not victims. I cannot feel sympathy for them.”

          You are incorrectly equating these two things.

        • Brian Fritzen says:

          @tek

          How so?

        • stylusmobilus says:

          As to the punishment of the perpetrators, I’m not sure of how US law works in this regard but in Oz whether the church wished to show compassion or not wouldn’t matter. They would be charged with vandalism and brought before a magistrate. That particular judge would then pass sentence (perhaps showing leniency depending on a number of things).

          I hear what you are saying though Brian. Undeserved of acts of vandalism but hardly a victim.

        • Brian Fritzen says:

          In the US, one must press charges for some offenses. I am not up on it, but things like Trespassing are illegal, but usually, the conflict can be nullified if the “victim” doesn’t press charges. I think this would fall under that.

          Also, the judge would be able to pass a suitable sentence, for instance, locally a kid strangled a swan.

          The judge sentenced him to one year (or something like that) of shoveling elephant poo at the zoo.

  2. Inda says:

    Young teens do that sort of thing; there’s no meaning to it.

    The FSM is cool and rebellious. The opportunity to spray was the only reason for doing it. They’ll regret it in 10 years when someone sprays their garage door.

    Maybe Pastor John Bluebaugh should thank his deity – they steal the lead off the church roofs around here.

    • tekhedd says:

      The FSM *is* cool and rebellious!

      Let this be a warning. Where people stand firm in the face of advancing theocracy, his symbol will be there. The meaning of this symbol will change. We will not have 100% control over it.

      If we do not work to keep the message pure, if we are terrified to say “that person is not a true follower of the FSM,” his message will be corrupted.

      Unprovoked vandalism is not behavior consistent with being a true follower. There, I said it.

  3. lolhoofd says:

    i bet if in the future some kids woud spray-painted cristian texst on our church/pirateship the church woudent start a cleanup founds

    • Brian Fritzen says:

      You, of course, are right. They would not. Which is why the COTFSM is better!

    • stylusmobilus says:

      I think you’re right as well, lolhoofd. All the more reason why we should.

  4. Drained and Washed Clean says:

    To the punk idiots:

    If you actually visit this site and see this post, don’t be proud of yourselves that you have gotten attention. We are pissed at your actions, and we are now donating our money to clean up your mess.

    I would like to suggest going and cleaning that shit off yourselves. Oh, and to stop being jackasses.

    • stylusmobilus says:

      ‘…and we are now donating our money to clean up your mess.’

      Defines what sort of people we are. We have a genuine reason to be proud of ourselves and of our non-religion which has brought us together. Praise Be to the FSM, for he has guided His people together for a good reason!

      RAmen!

  5. Bigslicka says:

    This heinous act of prue vandalism is the antithesis of how I want others to think of Pastafarians. Those jack-holes suck!

  6. Pastor John Bluebaugh says:

    Let me start by saying the efforts of Hemant to raise funds for the clean up of our church, as well as, Westside speaks volumes about his character and integrity. We could all learn from his leadership in this. Although he and I do not agree on religion I think we agree that we should all treat each each other as we would like to be treated. This is what Jesus His followers we just don’t always get it right!

    To all of you who donated let me say thank you for your generosity! Again, we could all learn from this as well.

    I have suggested to Hemant that the money that would have come to us be donated to the Red Cross and the Salvation Army for disaster relief efforts. Many people in our nation have had their lives torn apart by the recent tornadoes, floods and fires and they need our help. Please don’t take this as being ungrateful. We just aren’t in need of the funds for the clean-up as it was more a disruption than an expense.

    Again, thank you to all for your generosity. Lets all work at treating each other better.

    • Brian Fritzen says:

      Thank you for your words. And you, Pastor, are certainly welcome here. I was wondering if you could do yourself, your religion and all of us a favor. When the collection plate is passed and the funds are collected and the bills are all paid…can you make sure that the rest of it is used in the ways you ask us to use the money we donated? If you really want the world to understand Jesus, then use the money as he would. Promote peace and education. I don’t recall Jesus ever saying, “Go forth my children, and spend a king’s ransom by influencing politics and education in ways, that quite frankly don’t jive with all I have taught you.” Jesus was Hebrew. He led his life in a way to be followed. He was a rabbi which meant he was learned and wise. He knew that Genesis was a story made by his people to explain how the world came to be. He knew that it wasn’t literal. He knew the same of Adam and Eve and Noah’s Ark.

      Imagine if that were the focus of Christianity: Be like Jesus: Get an Education; become a sage. Imagine if you church truly embodied what he wanted.

      • Pastor John Bluebaugh says:

        Brian, please understand, we don’t now and have never used any of our funds to influence political agenda. We do however give quite a large amount to help people in our community (Bend, Central Oregon) with needs, ie; rent, utilities, fuel, food etc… We host blood drives and do disaster relief efforts globally.

        I know there are many professing Christians who do not represent the teachings of Christ well just like there are many who don’t represent your group well. If Christians were more like Jesus and not themselves the world would be a better place. That is what we strive for at CLC.

        Imagine if we ALL embodied what He wanted.

        • tekhedd says:

          I’ve imagined that, and if by “what He wanted” you interpret it the same way my mother does it would be pretty nice, if a bit overdressed for the weather. :)

          I don’t know from the teachings of Christ, but I know a nice person when I see one. Thanks for dropping in and being so gracious!

        • Brian Fritzen says:

          Thank you for your quick response. And thank your for doing your part to make this a better world. It is appreciated. Your words also speak well of you as you appear to be open minded. While we may not agree in regards to religious philosophies, I certainly can understand (as tekhedd calls them) “a nice person when I see one.”

          Peace be with you,
          or if you don’t find it offensive, our saying here is:

          Sauce be with you.

          Brian

    • Ubi Dubium says:

      Hemant has said that the money will go to the Foundation Beyond Belief, which supports many charities. The Red Cross would have been another good choice. (Not the Salvation Army, they’re a religious organization, and Hemant’s donors would not have been pleased with that.) But all in all, a good result.

      • trubluehawkfan says:

        FSM,,,hmm. an athiest website making fun of christians…how funny…how pathetic…EVERY one of you don’t have ENOUGH faith to be an athiest! Aaaaargh!!!

  7. Encyclodpedia Brit says:

    @ All

    Thanks for donating you guys. I am always impressed with how everyone here rises to the occasion and takes care of their community and fellow man. You are all exceptional people!

    @ Pastor John

    We are truly sorry that someone would deface your church property. Its a heinious and crude crime. We most certainly have a lot to live up to as citizens of this world who need to help one another and take care of each other instead of trying to tear each other down. Its a constant and ongoing battle.

    I am sure that everyone here would be willing to reroute the donation to a charity dedicated to helping people if your church has already taken care of the offending trash.

  8. Michelle says:

    When I read about the vandalism in the church I got so disappointed. Even though I’m an atheist, I don’t agree what some really imature douches did. No one deserves to have their home vandalized in any circunstamces. It’s just plain wrong.

    I’m sorry to that happened to them and I wish they overcome this. As for the vandals who did it, I hope they get caught.

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